Locust Walk Stem Cell Tx Conferencein partnership with Harvard Stem Cell Institute
April 11th, 2022, Conference in Review
We are excited to announce we held our first Locust Walk Stem Cell Tx Conference in partnership with Harvard Stem Cell Institute! We put on what we believe is a first of its kind event that combines the best of an investment banking conference with investors, partnering conference with strategic partners, and academic conference where cutting-edge research is presented. After our experience co-founding Garuda Therapeutics last fall and launching with a $72M Series A, Locust Walk is all in on stem cell therapeutics companies. We believe that more attention needs to be paid to this important and growing field of research that has the potential to improve human health in almost every disease area.
For this conference, we had 22 companies presenting and 10 academic scientists sharing their innovations that either are in the process of becoming a new company or have the potential to become one within the next 12 months. More than 250 investors, strategic partners and academic innovators attended the virtual conference. Our goal was to find novel deal flow and innovation for people interested in investing or partnering in the space. Additionally, we assembled a world class list of experts for our keynote, a lunchtime panel discussion, and fireside chat.
Opening Keynote: “iPSC Horizons” Dr. David Scadden, Co-Director and Co-Founder of Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Linked here.
A pioneer in the field, Dr. David Scadden reviewed a history of cell therapy and the advancements that have brought it to where it is today. Over the last 20 years, we have gone from a largely barren technology landscape to one of the hottest in life sciences. Research and development that was once relegated to academia struggling to gain traction among venture capitalists and large pharma, is now flourishing with over 2400 on-going clinical trials and 9 approvals within the cell therapy space since 2021. Dr. Scadden continued to go over the technological achievements that made the dramatic changes to the field possible, with emphasis on embryonic stem cells, iPSC, and CAR-T discovery. The conversation wrapped up with a Q&A, which included Brock Reeve, the Executive Director the HSCI. They discussed current and upcoming hurdles and what needs to happen to continue this upward trajectory. The focus was on continuing to feed early stage and academic research while improving a more synchronized environment between investors, commercial stakeholders, and researchers.
Mid-Day Panel: “The Future of Cell Therapy”. Linked here.
Dr. David Scadden, got together with a couple of other leading regenerative medicine experts, Dr. Melissa Carpenter and Dr. Dhvanit Shah, to discuss the current and future state of the Cell Therapy landscape. Topics ranged from development and commercial implications of autologous and allogeneic cell therapies to the nuances of a regulatory environment still in its nascent stages. The panelists dove deep into key development issues the field is currently facing, such as controlling consistency of iPSC differentiation and cell selection. They also reviewed the challenges associated with establishing a standardized set of criteria the FDA can use to guide their regulatory efforts. The panelists shared their opinions on what’s around the corner on the technological front that will push the space forward, including ML/AI strategies, biomaterials and novel cell therapy encapsulation methods. Finally, their thoughts on the interplay between industry and academia shined a light on the need for creative thinkers throughout the ecosystem to help solve some of the issues that limit the field. Tune in to the recording to learn more about the current successes and challenges the cell therapy industry is undergoing from the perspective of those who are shaping it.
Fireside Chat: Rahul Singhvi, Co-Founder and CEO of Resilience. Linked here.
Rahul Singhvi, CEO of Resilience, and Geoff Meyerson, CEO of Locust Walk, sat down together to discuss the positioning of Resilience within the Cell Therapy ecosystem and what makes Resilience more than just a manufacturing service for hire. Resilience provides an end-to-end manufacturing, CMC, process and analytics development platform for biopharmaceuticals across all novel modalities and at all stages of their life cycle. The business emphasizes partnering with their clients, rather than charging a fee for service. They bring the facilities, technology, know-how and in some instances the capital to support the manufacturing and process development needs of their clients. Resilience’s value proposition lies within the expertise of their people and the dedication to a streamlined manufacturing processes that is scalable and at reduced cost. With the recent developments within the Regenerative Medicine space, Resilience is investing heavily in growing their platform to become broadly applicable for all cell therapy technologies. Tune in to the recording to hear more from Rahul as he takes us through the birth of Resilience during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, how the company has grown exponentially, how they attract and retain top talent to drive the business model, and more.
We want to thank the supporters of this event: