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2nd Annual Biomedical Innovation Day Keynote by Biotechnology Industry Leader in CRISPR Gene-editing

RFU's 2nd Annual Biomedical Innovation Day, “Breaking New Ground in Cancer, Immunology and Infection,” will be held virtually and in-person on Oct. 18. This complimentary event will feature the keynote speaker John Leonard, MD, president and CEO of Intellia Therapeutics, a biotechnology industry leader in CRISPR gene-editing.

“We believe we’re onto something here that’s going to be quite important for a whole series of different genetic diseases, and it all comes from this original decision to be going after broken genes in the body with in vivo delivery,” Dr. Leonard said in a 2022 interview for the podcast “Between the Biotech Waves.”

The former chief scientific officer and senior vice president of research and development at AbbVie, Dr. Leonard joined Abbott Laboratories in 1992 at the height of the AIDS crisis and led the development of a class of medications that reduced the rate of AIDS deaths by two-thirds.

The program will also feature a panel consisting of venture capitalists and biopharma executives on “Funding University Life Science Companies,” moderated by Dr. Michelle Hoffmann of the Chicago Biomedical Consortium. Panelists include: Dr. Paul Weiss, Venture Investors; Nancy Sullivan, Illinois Ventures; Shawna Frazier, AbbVie Ventures; Dr. Jim Sullivan, Orbimed & Vanqua Bio; and Dr. Heather Walsh, Astellas.

“This forum will hopefully provoke new approaches and conversations and collaborations between academic research and industry commercialization,” said Joseph Reynolds, PhD, director of RFU's Center for Cancer Cell Biology, Immunology, and Infection. The center investigates cancers that account for the second-leading cause of death in the U.S., and also infectious diseases, the eight most serious of which cost the world economy an estimated $8 trillion in 2016 alone.

“The impact of these groups of diseases on society is devastating, and the opportunity to look at new advances in diagnosing and treating them brings some hope to the millions of patients affected,” said Ronald Kaplan, PhD, executive vice president for research.

Early-stage companies in RFU’s Helix 51 incubator and Innovation and Research Park will present their latest product development strategies. Disease-based session discussions will include novel research on inflammatory breast cancer, advances in immune disorders and exploring new frontiers in infectious diseases.

Posted October 3, 2023
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