Challenges and Opportunities in the Biotech Field

The GapSummit 2020 programme, including panels, keynotes and workshops, will be centered on core "gaps" that the field will need to address by 2050. At the conclusion of the conference, Leaders of Tomorrow will be equipped with a holistic understanding of these challenges and have garnered insights to address these challenges in their professional careers.

Accelerating Research & Development Productivity Across the Biotech Landscape

Research and development within biotech is plagued by high failure rates that limit the speed of progress. In recent years, it has become clear that the current level of productivity is no longer sustainable given the immense cost of R&D. For example, within drug development the challenge is manifested prominently in the low success rate of developing preclinical therapy candidates into commercial products. The same problem is faced by all sectors including agri-tech and white biotech.

In this session leading R&D executives will discuss the challenge and explore new models of innovation to bridge this industry-wide gap.

Delivering to Unmet Needs in Healthcare

According to the United Nations, drug-resistant infections could cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050. Antimicrobial resistance is one of several areas in healthcare that is under addressed by biotech research and innovation. Other examples include rare and neglected tropical diseases typically affecting the developing world, burdening the poorest of the population and further widening health inequality at global and local levels. How can we diversify research landscapes to provide therapies for disease areas with high risk and low market recognition? How can the government, private and third sectors incentivise this essential work?

In this session, we will seek to develop models to deliver to these vastly important but as yet unmet needs in healthcare.

Collaboration Across Global Bioeconomies

It is no exaggeration to say that biotechnology promises to shape nearly every aspect of human life. New biotechnological discoveries have the potential to greatly impact not only the scientific and research activity of a region, but also the economies of the countries where they are being discovered and implemented.

As entry barriers into foreign bioeconomies have decreased, there is greater opportunity for collaboration and knowledge-sharing between them, capitalising on each other’s strengths. Moreover, there is an opportunity to learn from the success stories and challenges faced by bioeconomies from around the world, in order to create solutions for the development of the global bioeconomy as a whole.

In this session, we will investigate these questions with international biotech leaders who have collaborated across continents and have taken active roles in developing bioeconomies, both locally and around the world.

Building Sustainable Healthcare Economies

Across the planet, the cost of healthcare continues to rise dramatically. The fraction of the gross domestic product devoted to health-spending continues to increase, yet is unmatched in outcomes. Significant contributors include the high cost of new innovations and the aging global population. Treatment, including for the ever-increasing burden of chronic conditions, has followed expensive curative and reactive approaches, rather than those which are preventative and proactive. It has become increasingly clear that the current healthcare ecosystem is not financially sustainable.

In this session, global leaders will explore challenges in the cost of healthcare worldwide, highlighting spaces for innovation.

Bioentrepreneurship: Commercialising Innovation

The modern biotechnology industry builds on the latest science to deliver impact and commercial success. Founders are drawn from many backgrounds: more researchers than ever are drawn to enterprise; some translate skills from other fields; serial entrepreneurs build multiple ventures. To build a biotech company and achieve success is a core passion for many, and can revolutionise the treatment of disease, the production of food, and many other aspects of our lives.

Here, we will follow founders’ stories from start-up, through scale-up, to large scale success. What are the ambitions on founding a biotech company? What challenges are there? How do these change as the company and its founder develop? What does success look like?

AgriTech and Sustainable Innovation

Humanity faces profound sustainability challenges over the next century, including climate change, food shortages, water crises, and the depletion of natural resources. Biotechnology holds great promise for solutions to these challenges, but they have yet to be deployed at scale.

In this session, current progress towards addressing these problems and the obstacles faced will be discussed. A particular focus will be paid to the development and design of new biological solutions and their responsible deployment and adoption by society.

The Digital Healthcare Revolution

From the ubiquity of smartphones and wearables to the plummeting cost of DNA sequencing, a revolution in healthcare data science is underway. The advent of such technologies to collect complex multimodal data on individual patients has offered the promise of using population-wide data to better inform and individualize diagnoses and therapeutic plans for specific patients. Drug discovery methods and patient interventions are being revolutionised by unforeseen computational ability. Indeed, the possibilities have piqued significant interest from non-traditional players in the healthcare space, who bring deep expertise in machine learning and data science.

In this session, we seek to separate hype from reality and to understand the promise, challenges, and limitations of the role that artificial intelligence and digital health technologies will play in healthcare.

Beyond 2050: The Future of Biotech

In this session, global pioneers at the cutting edge of scientific research and industry disruptors will posit their forward thinking visions of the biotechnology industry and opportunities for the next of generation of leaders to advance progress.