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Conference Forum Events in Boston to Focus on Clinical Trial Innovation


At The Conference Forum events in September and October, speakers will focus on ways to decrease clinical trial costs. Photo via flourine wiki.

If you’re interested in disruptive innovations in clinical trials or drug delivery, Boston is prime real-estate. That’s why The Conference Forum will be hosting four major events in September and October 2014: Mobile and Clinical Trials; Global Clinical Trials; DPharm: Disruptive Innovations to Advance Clinical Trials; and Partnerships in Drug Delivery. We caught up with conference director Valerie Bowling to find out about these meetings.

You’re planning several Boston conferences this fall. Why our city?

Innovation in life science is exploding in Boston, so we decided to hold our events here. More pharmaceutical research centers are popping up every month, and five of the top eight NIH-funded hospitals in the country are in the Boston, as well as some of the top university research centers (including Harvard, MIT and Tufts). The start-up biotech scene is at an all time high here, too. Boston has every size and style of life science companies, all contributing to the discovery, development or delivery of drugs, and there’s a strong venture market.

From the look of the event breakdowns, it seems like you’ll be focusing mostly on clinical trials. Can conference events like this change a struggling industry?

I’ve done research with the heads of research and development from small and emerging biotechs, and from large pharmaceutical companies. I’ve also worked with university scientists. I know there are many exciting drugs yet to be developed, but many won’t come to fruition because clinical trials are simply too expensive. Bringing together openminded individuals at events like this can help make drug testing less expensive. By reducing the cost of drug development, more molecules will be able to move through the pipeline. For thousands of patients, timing is everything.

We’ve heard that clinical trial productivity is low right now. Why do you think that is? What solutions might be offered at these upcoming events?

There are many obstacles to clinical trial productivity, but to sum up some of the top reasons for low productivity, I would have to say that communication and cooperation from stakeholders, including sponsors, CROs, sites, labs, patients, regulators and payers, is vastly important. For smaller biotechs, funding is huge.

Patient recruitment and engagement alone is one of the top reasons for the delay of a clinical trial as well. Several of our events have agendas that address solutions through case studies on the complexities of working with a diverse group of stakeholders. Speakers will also present examples of technology that will recruit and engage patients.

Bowling is the Executive Director for the Conference Forum. As a researcher and conference developer to the pharmaceutical, biotech and health care industries, Valerie specializes in understanding the scientific, business, operational and technical needs of these markets and creating forums for the exchange of ideas and information between industry professionals.

Bowling is the Executive Director of the Conference Forum. Photo provided.

What should attendees expect to walk away with after these events?

All of the clinical events will focus on patient and site engagement, and on bringing down the cost of clinical trials. Attendees can expect to walk away with practical industry examples of how to apply innovation to advance clinical development.

Looks like your events have packed schedules. Which speakers should we put on our “can’t miss” list?

Dr. Matthew Galsky of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai will share his pilot study. He’s determining the feasibility of a telemedicine intensivist model in conducting a cancer clinical trial. The goal is to remove geographic barriers as an obstacle to participating in clinical trials.

Former FDA-er, Dr. Vicki Seyfert-Margol is now the CEO of My Own Med, which is a customizable digital platform and mobile health app that captures between-visit patient health data. She’ll talk about the critical nature of user experiences in digital health tools for engaging patients long-term.

Another spotlight speaker is representative Diana DeGette (D-CO). She’s leading the 21st Century Cures initiative to accelerate the pace of cures and medical breakthroughs in the United States. She’ll give us a big-picture update on the progress of this new initiative.

To register for any of the upcoming Conference Forum events, visit their website. Use the code MEDTECH for a 15% discount.

Jenni Whalen

Jenni Whalen

    Jenni Whalen is the Executive Assistant of Editorial at Upworthy. She was previously MedTech Boston's Managing Editor and has an MS in Journalism from Boston University, as well as a BA in Psychology from Bucknell University. Whalen has written for Greatist, Boston magazine, AZ Central Healthy Living and the New England Journal of Medicine, among other places. She has also worked as a conference planner, ghost writer, researcher and content developer.

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