More than 2,000 life science industry insiders around the globe participated in the WuXi Global Forum on Jan. 9, 2018 during the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.  The standing-room only event, which was also webcast live around the world, brought together industry leaders to discuss the rapid advances and changes impacting the industry, from the most disruptive therapeutic interventions to artificial intelligence to the evolving global regulatory landscape.

The year 2017 set the stage for great things in the life science industry, including a resurgence of capital, landmark policy reforms, record drug approvals, record funding and deals, and advanced technologies like AI. Dr. Ge Li, Chairman of WuXi AppTec Group, reiterated that 2017 was a history-making year for life science and posed the question to the audience, “Will 2018 be another history-making year?,” which was an overarching theme during the three-hour conference.

During his welcoming remarks, the Honorable Jim Greenwood, president and CEO, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), pointed out that no country has a monopoly on the financial or human capital that 21st century innovation requires; and the business realities of our industry require us to be collaborators.  He also explained how advances in genomics, precision medicine and regenerative biology have brought us to the doorstep of a new golden era of treatments and cures, but our future isn’t guaranteed without good policies and global collaborations.

During the lively, thought-provoking panel discussions, a wide range of panelists discussed  how start-ups are tackling tough diseases; how regulatory reforms are accelerating new drug approval; the next hot areas in life sciences; and how AI and deep learning will impact drug R&D and the future of health.

Below are some highlights:

  • Breakthrough technologies such as CAR-T’s, cell and gene therapies, PD-1 inhibitors, and small molecule therapies will continue to transform how treatments are developed and delivered to patients.
  • Combining great teams with great science is a winning strategy for pushing the boundaries of innovation.
  • Partnerships and collaborations will continue to drive success it the industry, and ultimately for patients.
  • Indicator the life science industry is off to a solid 2018: Close to $1 billion in financing has been announced already this year.
  • The CFDA’s landmark reforms will continue to be a game changer for companies that want to bring innovative products to China more quickly.
  • The CFDA will continue its path to improve drug quality, improve review efficiency, and encourage innovation and transparency.
  • China’s lead regulatory agency has organized its reviewer and team to learn new technologies such as gene and cell therapy and CAR-T in order to encourage more innovation for both patients in China and around the globe.
  • Start-up CEO’s advised that in order to move products forward, companies need to take the necessary time to recruit the right people.
  • Patient advocacy groups as well as social media platforms are changing the landscape of healthcare by creating awareness and driving meaningful resources towards challenges in medicine.
  • 2018 will be the first year that pharma companies will embrace artificial intelligence.
  • AI is moving diagnostics from an analogue world where it’s one data point that isn’t even looked at, to the digital world, where it’s hundreds of millions of data points that are used for each patient.
  • AI will become a more common tool to help us figure out what is most actionable in predicting, diagnosing and treating diseases.

Indeed, 2018 will be full of great advances, challenges, and even some surprises as we work together to foster global partnerships to bring more hope to patients worldwide. WuXi looks forward to collaborating with our partners and customers again this year to fulfill our ultimate dream that “every drug can be made and every disease can be treated.”

WuXi would like to thank our Global Forum co-hosts 6 Dimensions Capital, BayHelix, BioCentury, BioWorld, ChinaBio, CLSA, Informa, MBC BioLabs, QB3, Sina Medicine, and SVIEF.

To view the WuXi Global Forum 2018 webcast, please click here