Partnering For Cures in SF
By Quirine Eijkenboom
On November 14th, FasterCures hosted its 10th annual Partnering for Cures (P4C) conference in San Francisco. This was the first time the P4C conference was held on the West coast and Matt Wilsey was invited to participate as one of the speakers.
Since 2009, Partnering for Cures has summoned leaders with the experience, creativity and motivation needed to to advance and improve the medical research system. FasterCures, the organizer of this annual conference, is part of the Milken Institute, a “nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank determined to increase global prosperity by advancing collaborative solutions that widen access to capital jobs and improve health.” The main goal of FasterCures is to remove “barriers to medical progress” and speed up the delivery of new therapies from discovery to patients. An important mission indeed that they wish to tackle through independent, data-driven research, action-oriented meetings and meaningful policy initiatives.
The Partnering for Cures meeting held in San Francisco assembled a small, but diverse group of medical research leaders from biotech, industry and nonprofit. Each leader expressed his / her ideas on how to approach the shared mission of creating a more patient-centered, results-driven research and diagnostic system.
Currently, one of the greatest challenges the healthcare system faces is the deficit in data scientists. Panelists at the conference agreed that future collaborations between benchtop science and data science, as well as having scientists acquire both skillsets, is extremely important. In order to advance medical research, it is essential that pharmaceutical companies, as well as small biotechs and startups, foster a company culture focused on transparency and communication. Matt Wilsey contributed to this idea by sharing his experience of launching Grace Science and his quest in finding a cure for NGLY1 Deficiency. He emphasized the importance of company culture, communication between researchers and with the actual patients and their families. In addition, Matt pointed out that one of the reasons why tech companies are successful is that team members take ownership of what they are creating. The hope is that science will adopt more of this in the future, just like how he aims to lead his team down this path, to foster as much creativity and thinking as possible.
Conferences like Partnering for Cures are a great way for different leaders to share ideas on how to improve medical research and more efficiently distribute therapies to patients in need. These types of collaborations are helpful in overcoming challenges to advance human medicine– ideas that will be helpful in our quest to advancing research on NGLY1 Deficiency and hopefully finding a cure as well.