Innovation Symposium Series Displays Depth of PHS Faculty Team

Energetic audiences approaching 500 registered attendees gathered at the BWH and MGH campuses to attend the first three education sessions offered by Partners HealthCare Innovation. Featuring five unique sessions, the Innovation Symposium Series is focused on helping investigators navigate the commercial innovation lifecycle.
Filling The Gap: Translating Your Research via Disease Foundation Support

The September 19 session focused on developing strategies for obtaining translational research funding from disease focused foundations and was moderated by Howard Weiner, MD, Director, Multiple Sclerosis Program, BWH.

Dr. Weiner was joined on stage by an esteemed panel, including Walter Kostich, PhD, Director Commercial Research, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Omid Farokhzad, MD, Director, Center for Nanomedicine, BWH; and Giullermo (Gary) Tearney, MD, PhD, Mike and Sue Hazard Family MGH Research Scholar, Professor of Pathology, HMS.

This panel highlighted their efforts and approaches to securing funding from foundations such as the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation and the American Cancer Society.

The session yielded lively discussion and valuable advice for investigators, including:

  • The need to develop a compelling case, or story, about the research that can be easily explained to both the general community, and a potential funding research audience
  • The importance of looking for areas of collaboration in which investigators can leverage their research story to different funding sources
  • Being proactive at identifying the relevant scientific program manager within the foundation
  • Working to cultivate a productive relationship with the program manager to ensure they are clearly aware of the scientific merit of the proposal and the desire researchers have to make a positive contribution to improving the lives of patients affected by disease
  • Being prepared to view the foundation as a potential long term collaborator and not just a simple source of fundingTo watch the full length video of this session click here.
IP Protection: Safeguarding Your Research for Commercialization

Tuesday, October 17th, marked the second installment of the Innovation Symposium Series. Focused on the challenges of IP protection, the session featured keynote speaker David Kappos, the former Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Mr. Kappos presented a compelling analysis of the current US ranking in global patent strength, the major global issues impacting patent rights, and issues pertaining to access to patent protection for innovation in the life sciences. According to Kappos, while more frequent fee shifting is combating nuisance patent challenges, the relative strength of the US IP system is trending down, due in part to patentable subject matter being narrowed dramatically. This trend has led to uncertainty whether issued patents can withstand challenges.

Following Mr. Kappos, attendees heard from three prestigious inventors from within Partners. The first challenge discussed focused on the tension between publication and IP protection.

Emery Brown, MD, PhD, Director, Neuroscience Statistic Research Lab, MGH, discussed how he has dealt with that tension by engaging with Partners Innovation early in the process and actively engaging in weighing the benefits of earlier publication of a discovery over ensuring a robust patent application.

In discussing the challenges of obtaining protection, William Austin, MD Chief, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery & Division of Burn Surgery, MGH, highlighted the importance of IP professionals providing enough information for inventors to actively engage in the process.

In light of the challenges with protecting diagnostic discoveries Christine Seidman, MD, Director, Cardiovascular Genetics Center, BWH, shared her experience where the field of genetic diagnostics is moving to a more open framework because of the difficulty in obtaining IP.

To watch the full length video of this session click here.

Navigating Healthcare IT: Winning Strategies to Commercialize Your HIT Invention

The third session was held on December 7th and focused on the opportunities and challenges of commercializing Healthcare Information Technology, or HIT, and featured two informative panels.
The first panel was moderated by Trung Do, Vice President, Business Development, Innovation, Partners HealthCare. Do was joined by top PHS leaders who provided insights into how HIT ideas can become breakthrough applications.

Henry Chueh, MD, Chief, Division of Biomedical Informatics, Massachusetts General Hospital; Adam Landman, MD, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Brigham Health; and Jim Noga, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Partners HealthCare discussed the resources available to help PHS staff build, deploy and commercialize HIT inventions. Attendees heard directly the HIT opportunities, priorities and strategies of one of the nation’s most important health IT environments.

The second panel was moderated by Samuel Aronson, Executive Director, IT, Partners Personalized Medicine and included experts Kimberly Blumenthal, MD, Quality and Safety Officer for Allergy, MGH; Physician, MGH Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology; Kamal Jethwani, MD, Senior Director, Connected Health Innovation; PHS, Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School; and Mark Michalski, MD, Executive Director, MGH & BWH Center for Clinical Data Science.

These top PI’s discussed how they turned their innovative software and systems into valuable commercial products. Attendees also received advice in identifying commercial applications, finding collaborators, accessing valuable resources, and what it takes to make a breakthrough product and get paid for it.

It’s not too late to attend a Symposium Session!

Industry Insights: Positioning Your Research to a Commercial Partner

Pitching a research program to industry for funding support requires that investigators understand the motivations and needs of companies that sponsor academic research. Learn first-hand from an industry leader how to position your research more effectively to gain interest and funding support. Hear from peers how they mastered the challenges and pitfalls of landing a commercial partner.

Wednesday, January 24, 5:00 PM – 7:30 PM, MGH Simches Research Center Auditorium

Case Closed: Taking the Mystery Out of Start-ups and Venture Capital Funding

Medical innovation often enters the market via start-ups supported by venture capital investors. Attendees will hear first-hand from a well-known investor the criteria used when making investment decisions. A panel of peers will discuss the venture capital finance models they used and the paths chosen to get innovative medical technology to patients.

Wednesday, February 28, 5:00 PM – 7:30 PM, MGH Simches Research Center Auditorium

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