A Call to Action from the BIO International Convention

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In my recap blog from Day 2 of the BIO International Convention, I highlighted the use of big data in health care. A couple of the panelists and speaker noted that while big data provides immense opportunities, realizing its potential requires mechanisms for interpreting and acting on this new information.  As the third day of the Convention comes to a close, I find myself in the same situation as many of these researchers, confronted with extraordinary amount of new knowledge and looking for a way to make this information actionable.

It’s about patients.

At this morning’s Super Session on the impact of the Affordable Care Act on industry, Marc Boutin of the National Health Council spoke passionately about the need to keep the patient involved in the implementation of health care reform. The aptly named, “Affordable Care Act is Here to Stay,” Super Session highlighted the need for the patient voice throughout implementation—whether in discussions about Medicare Part D, the impact of the Independent Payment Advisory Board or the process of defining essential health benefits. Boutin represented just one of many speakers over the last few days that emphasized this need to keep the patient at the center of care and allow their voice to be heard. AstraZeneca’s Head of U.S. Specialty Care, Scott Carmer compared the drug development process to a triangle, balancing interests of multiple parties, but always with the patient at the center. It was reassuring to hear so many other stakeholders reaffirm their commitment to keeping the patient voice central in health care decision making—from drug development to policy. 

We need to work together.

The theme of this year’s Convention was “Connect. Partner. Innovate.” and this motto seemed to echo through McCormick Place. At every panel I attended, speakers placed a premium on partnerships and collaboration. As Lilly Research Laboratories’ Global Head of Science and Technology Partnerships, Dale M. Edgar, Ph.D. remarked on yesterday’s panel, “Many of today’s biomedical challenges are far too great to “go it alone.” Part of that comes from the opportunities in new technology and data sharing, but it also comes from a fundamental shift in understanding about collaboration and the difference between science and drugs. Lilly currently works in over 50 partnerships aimed at uncovering the science needed to bring innovation to fruition. As Gary Neil of Apple Tree said, “Let’s collaborate on science, and compete on drugs.”

We must be ready to adapt.

The innovation environment is changing. Technology, policy, and international systems continue to challenge the operational assumptions of the industry. As a result, industry must be ready to act and adapt. The knowledge is there, as the BIO International Convention clearly demonstrates. However, industry must be ready to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. At Lilly, we’re ready to work together, with industry and the myriad of traditional and non-traditional stakeholders, to make the changes necessary to promote innovation and bring new, vital medicines to patients.

It’s been three long, exciting days so far. Stay tuned as I continue to bring you the latest from the 2013 BIO International Convention.