New Partnerships Needed To Accelerate Drug Discovery

Leaders from academia, pharmaceutical and biotech, investment community discuss how to speed innovation at SINAInnovations conference.

New York
 – November 13, 2012 /Press Release/  –– 

How to accelerate drug discovery —and move biotech innovations from academia to commercialization—was the focus of The Mount Sinai Medical Center's SINAInnovations (#SINAInnovations) conference on Tuesday, November 13, 2012.

"We need to assess how scientists ultimately choose to partner with drug companies, and how academic medicine is rewarded for that," said Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Mount Sinai Medical Center. "Raising money is the most difficult part of it at the end of the day."

Dennis Charney, MD, the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of Mount Sinai School of Medicine added: "Mount Sinai is making an enormous commitment to investing in therapeutic discovery. We want ensure that every scientist engaged in discovery is empowered to do their best science."

Participants at the SINAInnovations conference are examining all aspects of innovation, from how it can be taught and fostered within academia, to how it can accelerate drug discovery and the commercialization of emerging biotechnologies. The goal is to map out a blueprint to foster innovation and accelerate drug and biotechnology discoveries at academic medical centers

Line-up for Wednesday, November 14, 8:30 am to 12:30 pm

· 8:30 - 9 am: The keynote speaker for Wednesday, November 14 at 8:30am is Jeff Hammerbacher—who led the original Big Data team at Facebook. Hammerbacher ((at)hackingdata, is a founder and the Chief Scientist of Cloudera and an Assistant Professor at Mount Sinai. He is also Director of Sage Bionetworks, a non-profit dedicated to building an open access, integrative bionetwork evolved by contributor scientists working to eliminate human disease, and a Mentor for Rock Health, a seed accelerator for health apps.

· 9:05 - 10:15 am: Dr. Davis and Teri Willey (Vice President for Technology and Business Development at Mount Sinai) will lead a panel on "The Pharma Perspective" (see SINAInnovations program, Pharma industry panelists include John Sninsky, VP, Celera; Uwe Schoenbeck, CSO, Pfizer; Paul Stoffels, Worldwide Chairman, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson and Johnson, and Muzammil M. Mansuri, Senior Vice President, Gilead Pharmaceuticals.

· 10:45 - 12:15 pm: Panel Discussion: "Mount Sinai Innovation in Devices, Diagnostics and Clinical Trials" with Mount Sinai School of Medicine panelists Michael Marin, Eric Genden, Erwin Bottinger, Philip Landrigan, Carlos Cordon-Cardo, and Michael Parides; and Melinda Thomas, NYC Tech Connect

· 12:15 – 12:30 pm: Closing Remarks by Kenneth Davis, President and CEO of The Mount Sinai Medical Center
Other Tuesday Highlights:

Tuesday panel discussions focused on commercialization of new therapeutics. Panel discussions were led by Mount Sinai faculty, MD and PhD candidates and also featured Colin Goddard, Chairman and CEO, Coferon; James McCullough, CEO, Exosome; George Yancopoulos, President, Regeneron; Daniel Behr, SVP, Access BridgeGap Ventures; Martin Vogelbaum, Partner, Rho Ventures; Barbara Dalton, VP, Pfizer Ventures; and Jai Ranganathan, Co-Founder, SciFund Challenge. Presenters discussed the need for academic institutions to partner with venture capital, biotech and pharmaceutical companies to translate basic science into treatments that will help people. Philanthropic resources are important in early stages to nurture ideas to that will be attractive to for-profit entities. Scientists need a basic understanding of how to leverage resources to move innovations from bench to bedside.

Tuesday breakout session topics included invention disclosure, licensing, and intellectual property, as well as venture capital and start-ups. Geoffrey Smith, Director, Center for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CTIE) at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, led a session on start-ups. Smith is a venture capitalist and co-founder of Ascent Biomedical Ventures. He is developing a new PhD track in translational science to prepare graduates for careers as innovators.

About The Mount Sinai Medical Center

The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses both The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Established in 1968, Mount Sinai School of Medicine is one of the leading medical schools in the United States. The Medical School is noted for innovation in education, biomedical research, clinical care delivery, and local and global community service. It has more than 3,400 faculty in 32 departments and 14 research institutes, and ranks among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and by U.S. News and World Report.

The Mount Sinai Hospital, founded in 1852, is a 1,171-bed tertiary- and quaternary-care teaching facility and one of the nation's oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. In 2012, U.S. News and World Report ranked The Mount Sinai Hospital 14th on its elite Honor Roll of the nation's top hospitals based on reputation, safety, and other patient-care factors. Mount Sinai is one of 12 integrated academic medical centers whose medical school ranks among the top 20 in NIH funding and U.S. News and World Report and whose hospital is on the U.S. News and World Report Honor Roll. Nearly 60,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients last year, and approximately 560,000 outpatient visits took place.

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