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  • Publish Date: Posted over 3 years ago
  • Author: Alex Butcher

Steve Smith (Head of Rare Diseases) and I attended the 3-day World Advanced Therapies and Regenerative Medicines 2019 congress in London. As recruitment specialists within the Advanced Therapies sector, it is so important for us to keep up with the ongoing innovations and changes within this incredible industry.

What was immediately apparent to us was the collaborative approach Advanced Therapeutic companies have, together with their shared desire to learn from each other.

There were some interesting talks and workshops held on several different tracks, showcasing that Cell & Gene Therapy is no longer a “futuristic” idea, but something that is live and happening right now. As one of the speakers said in Sven Kili’s Workshops, “It is here!” There were tracks for those in manufacturing, clinical development, immunotherapy, pricing & market access, regulatory approval and a dedicated area for cord blood and stem cell discussions.

Although a lot of the time was spent networking with leaders and specialists in the ATMP industry, we were able to attend several of the panel discussions. The panel discussion on “Precision Medicine for Immunotherapy” chaired by Miguel Forte, CEO of Zelluna Immunotherapy, was one I particularly enjoyed.

Probably the highlight for Next Phase Recruitment was being asked by one of our clients, Betalin, to pitch on their behalf on the Pitch & Partner track, a new session added by WATRM for the most exciting company presentations. With the likes of Apple Tree Partners and Third Rock Ventures as Investor Judges, Steve Smith had a mighty task on his hands, but one he was honoured and privileged to be asked to do. Well done to all those that took part and to the winners, Miromatrix, Caladrius Biosciences and Sigilon Therapeutics. For us, as partners to businesses of all sizes – including investor organisations and scientific innovators – this was a window into the world of seed investment and how the ambitious and entrepreneurial minds of the UK, Europe, USA and elsewhere are driving new and exciting initiatives.

As we departed the congress, Steve and I came away with a sense of what achievements had been made in Advanced Therapies, and heard about many more to come from companies who are looking to overcome the barriers ATMP companies have in taking their technologies to the next stage. We look forward to seeing you all at WATRMC20!

Science, it’s like magic, but real!