Partnership development leaders at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNL) will share their perspectives on how personalized medicine is changing drug development and how to tap into resources at federal laboratories as part of two upcoming panel sessions at the 2024 BIO International Convention, June 3–6 in San Diego.  

BIO is the world’s largest biotechnology partnering event, where more than 20,000 attendees gather each year to build connections and hear from experts working in the space.  

Partnering with federal laboratories 

Graphic of panel "In and Out of This World: Partnering with Federal Labs" for BIO 2024 conference

Federal laboratories, with their unique expertise and advanced technologies, can be a powerful resource for companies of all sizes. Vladimir Popov, Ph.D., chief innovation officer at the FNL, assembled a panel of experts to discuss strategies for creating effective partnerships with federal laboratories. Popov will moderate the session, “In and Out of This World: Partnering with Federal Labs,” on June 4 (11 a.m. PST, Room 32AB).  

“This is a unique opportunity to learn how to take advantage of federal labs and their expertise,” said Popov, who also serves as mid-Atlantic regional coordinator for the Federal Laboratory Consortium, a network dedicated to facilitating the transfer of federal technologies out of the laboratory and into the marketplace. “There are many preconceived notions about government laboratories from the industry perspective. This panel will address those concerns and also educate companies on how they can establish successful collaborations and partnerships.” 

Panel discussion participants include representatives from three federal laboratories: Edward Diehl, Ph.D., commercialization officer at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC); Tara Kirby, Ph.D., director of the Office of Technology Transfer for the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and Michael Roberts, Ph.D., chief scientific officer for the International Space Station National Laboratory. 

“We have representatives from different agencies to showcase the diversity of federal laboratories,” Popov said. “We also included industry partners to talk about their experiences when working with us.”  

The two industry representatives are Gillian Fenton, Esq., CLP, special counsel of vaccines legal operations at GSK, and Lisa Thomas Read, Ph.D., DVM, vice president of research and development at Amivas (US), LLC. GSK has numerous partnerships with both the NIH and FNL, while Amivas partnered with the USAMRDC on a treatment for severe malaria. 

The oncology endgame 

Graphic for panel "The Oncology Endgame: Assemble and Sine with AI and Precision Medicine...or Lose!" at BIO 2024 conference

Precision medicine and artificial intelligence (AI) are ushering in major changes in the oncology landscape. Precision medicine is an innovative medicinal approach that moves away from a one-size-fits-all strategy to personalized treatments that account for the patient’s genetics. A panel discussion on this topic, “The Oncology Endgame: Assemble and Shine with AI and Precision Medicine, or Lose,” will be held on June 5 at 1:45 p.m. PST in Room 26B.  

Maggie Scully, Ph.D., director of FNL’s Partnership Development Office will serve on the panel, which will be moderated by Karim Budhwani, Ph.D., CEO of CerFlux.  

Budhwani noted precision medicine is at a pivotal stage.  

“We have a clear choice,” Budhwani said. “We can either harness these transformative technologies to shape the future of medicine or we can watch from the sidelines as others seize the opportunity to make a global and generational impact. This panel discussion is about this choice—about positioning biotech leaders to take maximum advantage of these technologies to crush cancer.” 

The other speakers include Kara Bortone, Ph.D., senior director of precision medicine at Johnson & Johnson, and Sandeep Menon, Ph.D., chief development officer at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, both of whom bring deep industry expertise to the panel. 

“Precision oncology is a big focus of everything we do at FNL,” Scully said. “We’ve developed many tools and resources that are available for the research community. These tools can help meet the goals of precision oncology: the increasing number of targeted therapies in the clinic, technological advancements in next-generation sequencing, and now computational methods supported by AI.” 

Scully said FNL has been instrumental in many of the National Cancer Institute’s precision medicine efforts. In particular, FNL’s Molecular Characterization Laboratory supported NCI-MATCH (Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice), one of the first large-scale clinical trials to match cancer treatments based on genetic changes rather than cancer type, and FNL now supports the subsequent precision medicine trials focused on combination therapies (ComboMATCH), myeloid cancers (MyeloMATCH), and immunotherapies (ImmunoMATCH). In addition, FNL develops computational resources and standards to support precision medicine efforts. Scully will discuss these and other resources during the panel discussion.  

Visit us at BIO 

In addition to the two panel discussions, FNL will have a booth in the Federal Laboratory Consortium Pavilion (#903). Three FNL team members, Popov, Scully, and Amanda Corbel, will conduct one-on-one partnering meetings throughout the conference, providing plenty of opportunity for attendees to connect about partnership opportunities and learn more about FNL resources.  

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