On June 19th, technology disruptors, payers, providers, life science companies, venture capitalists, and more gathered at the University City Science Center in Philadelphia for MedCity’s CONVERGE to discuss and discover where oncology innovation is heading. The one-day event, which was attended by approximately 250 people, covered the whole gamut of issues in cancer technology as the worlds of both biotech and infotech converge in their search for a cure and other connected tools, apps, software, and more that can help patients better manage their disease.
A highlight of the event: Two sessions of “Davids vs. the Cancer Goliath,” in which executives from different startups tackling various areas of cancer care were given eight minutes each to share their company’s mission. The startups that participated in the sessions included Quench Medical, SEngine Precision Medicine, XRHealth, Proscia, Ezra, Savor Health, Medial EarlySign, Cofactor Genomics, Cadex Genomics, and Rx.Health. Attendees were also welcome to meet up with these startups at small stations set up during networking breaks.
Investors were also given a chance to share what they look for in cancer therapeutics, diagnostics, digital health, and other emerging technology in a panel featuring moderator Steve Barsh, Managing Partner, Dreamit Ventures, and speakers Anurag Agarwal, PhD, Senior Associate, Osage University Partners; Judd Englert, MD, PhD, Senior Director, Translational Science, UPMC Enterprises; and Arielle Novak, Associate, Prevail Partners.
Meanwhile, Neil Canavan, Scientific Advisor, Solebury Trout and author of A Cure Within: Scientists Unleashing the Immune System to Kill Cancer, took attendees through the history of immunotherapy and other recent breakthroughs in cancer treatment that could hold the potential for an actual cure.
Other sessions covered precision medicine as the key to population health, the ethics of germline editing for reproduction, the data problem for scaling artificial intelligence, and the data-empowered patient.