The day’s first Super Session was all about intelligent investment and, continuing from the inaugural and highly successful NLSInvest on Monday, it challenged the more traditional views of investors and processes. The Keynote from the European Investment Bank (Head of the Life Science division) considered the mental shifts that investors – and investees – need to make if the region is to remain competitive. The highly engaging session included a panel of established professionals who delivered their own ‘reverse’ elevator pitches for the audience to judge. The supersession also included an all-female panel of experts who were not afraid to address the question of whether there can actually be gender equality in corporate finance. As we learned, women typically approach investment and financing decisions differently from men. Embracing these differences and supporting diversity, as opposed to shying away from the discussion, will only benefit companies facing important investment choices to sustain future healthcare innovations.
The second Super Session focused on progress in precision medicine and, among other things, the industry’s ever-growing needs for improved identification of relevant biomarkers to enable earlier and more specific disease diagnosis. Many emerging technologies come from startups and early-stage or under-resourced companies. The panel featured speakers from global pharmaceutical companies as well as investors and dynamic tech/biotech companies. They discussed how the wider ecosystem can work together to bridge the expertise and funding gaps that these innovators face, in order to sustain the future delivery of new products and tools to the market.
The final Super Session, “The new cross-industry playground”, brought together another diverse panel of representatives. These included experts in regulatory affairs and digital therapies, from startups and large pharma companies, to discuss where the boundaries may lie for developing progressive medtech and digital health products. This interactive session continued along the theme of sustaining innovation to consider how developments in AI, data science and wearable technologies should be regulated fairly in the future. When does a smart watch become a medical device? Where are the lines between monitoring, diagnosing and intervention?
The day wrapped up with two workshops, beginning with a Northern European CRO discussing the challenges that drug companies face when trying to find the right partner. This was followed by the Swedish funding company, Vinnova, which took the day’s content full-circle, back to discussing the benefits of sustainable working, and how applying the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals can enhance a company’s innovation capabilities.