Some biopharma researchers are using artificial intelligence to identify unique brain signatures of Alzheimer’s disease, and to discover biomarkers in blood samples that can be used to personalize cancer treatments. Others are deploying gene-editing tools, advanced analytics and new imaging technologies to uncover new biomarkers that can improve the diagnosis and treatment of a range of diseases.

This Fierce webinar will feature executives from leading biopharma companies and technology-development firms, who will describe the latest tools and techniques for improving biomarker discovery. They will discuss how they chose and deployed these technologies, provide examples of how they led to the discovery of novel biomarkers, and offer tips for selecting tools to aid in biomarker discovery and incorporating them into established R&D processes.

Topics include:

  • How CRISPR and other gene-editing technologies can be used to uncover new biomarkers across a range of diseases.
  • New tools that combine proteomics and genomics to aid the discovery of biomarkers in cancer.
  • Applying artificial intelligence to CT scans and other medical imagery to generate visual biomarkers for diagnosing diseases and tracking the effectiveness of treatments over time.

Featured Speaker

Dr. Alex Zhavoronkov

Founder and CEO
InSilico Medicine

Dr. Alex Zhavoronkov is the founder and CEO of InSilico Medicine, a global leader in the next-generation artificial intelligence technologies for drug discovery, biomarker development, and aging research. At InSilico, he pioneered the applications of generative adversarial networks and reinforcement learning techniques for generating the novel molecular structures with the desired properties and generation of synthetic biological and patient data. His group was the first to develop the deep-learned multi-modal predictors of age for drug discovery and biomarker development. He set up the R&D centers in 6 countries, including the United Kingdom, Korea, Russia, Hong Kong SAR, and Taiwan ROC. Prior to founding InSilico Medicine, Dr. Zhavoronkov worked in senior roles at ATI Technologies (acquired by AMD in 2006), NeuroG Neuroinformatics, and YLabs.AI and established the competitions and Diversity.AI initiatives.

He is co-founder and CSO of the Biogerontology Research Foundation (BGRF), a registered UK charity focusing on age-related diseases. Since 2012, Dr. Zhavoronkov published over 120 peer-reviewed research papers and 2 books, including “The Ageless Generation: How Biomedical Advances Will Transform the Global Economy” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). From 2014 to 2018, he presented at over 200 academic and industry conferences. Dr. Zhavoronkov serves on the editorial boards of some of the highest-impact journals in the field, including Aging, Aging Research Reviews, Frontiers in Genetics of Aging, Trends in Molecular Medicine, and chairs the Annual Aging Research for Drug Discovery Forum (6th annual in 2019) at the Basel Life. Dr. Zhavoronkov holds two bachelor degrees from Queen’s University, a master’s in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD in Physics and Mathematics from Moscow State University. He is the adjunct professor of artificial intelligence at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.

Martin Erkens, PhD

Head of Informatics, Pharma Research and Early Development
Roche Innovation Center Basel

Martin Erkens, PhD, leads the Pharma Research and Early Development Informatics organization (pREDi) of Roche. Data science supporting drug projects as well as workflow solutions for research and early development are among the key contributions of the pREDi organization. Martin was the IT lead for multiple mergers and acquisitions.  Under his leadership implementing a wide range of diverse solution were implemented addressing the full range of research and early development, e.g. patient and investigator engagement, near time clinical data review, digital pathology, molecular biomarker, biologics molecule registration, chemical molecule optimization. During his pREDi lead also the first approaches towards digital biomarkers were established and grew over the years into a large scale program covering multiple studies in various neuroscience and rare disease indications.

Prior to becoming head of pREDi, Dr. Erkens ran various IT teams in the clinical space and was responsible to implement global systems for drug project and portfolio planning, global sales reporting, electronic data capture of clinical trials (the first large cloud system at Roche), clinical imaging and a system environment for the internal clinical Phase I unit. During this time he also led a program establishing a complete new blue print of the system landscape supporting clinical development resulting in a 5-year investment program.

Dr. Erkens received his PhD in Mathematics (stability theory) from Albert Ludwigs Universität, Freiburg. He also holds two degrees in Mathematics and Physics (“Diplom” and “Staatsexamen”) from the same university.

Monisha Sundarrajan

Marketing Manager
Research Reagents

Monisha Sundarrajan, PhD brings deep expertise in immunology focused on translational research (biomarker development) and vaccine research together with driving partnerships with thought leaders to her role as Marketing Manager- Reagents and Channel Management. Prior to her marketing role Dr. Sundarrajan held multiple, customer facing application focused roles helping researchers unlock and maximize BD Life Sciences solutions offerings. She holds a PhD in Applied Biology from University of Bombay. Before entering the industry, she was a scientist at Univ of California San Diego, School of Medicine and La Jolla Institute of Immunology, respectively.

Rangarajan Sampath, PhD

Senior Vice President and Head, Center for Innovation in Diagnostics
Siemens Healthineers

Dr. Rangarajan Sampath is Senior Vice President and Head of Center for Innovation in Diagnostics at Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, Inc., where he leads Innovation and new product development in the areas of oncology, neurology and infectious diseases.  CID’s focus is to drive disruptive next generation innovation, development and commercialization of in-vitro diagnostics. Prior to this, Dr. Sampath was Chief Scientific Officer at Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), a Geneva-based non-profit organization focused on bringing cutting edge diagnostics to low- and middle- income countries.  Dr. Sampath headed FIND’s research and development organization, leading its innovation, product development and disease programs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he led a team of researchers to set up an evaluation framework to provide independent assesment of commercially available assays to aid procurement and country prioritization decisions. He also repsresented FIND as a Working Group (WG) member in the ACT-Accelerator Diagnostics Partnership (ACT-A Dx), co-convened by FIND and the Global Fund. 

From 1997-2017, Dr. Sampath served as a Volwiler Senior Research Fellow and Senior Director of R&D for the Ibis Division of Abbott. He led Ibis’ R&D efforts in infectious disease diagnostics, antimicrobial resistance diagnostics and surveillance, and was responsible for applications development, validation, data analysis and reporting for the Ibis PCR/ESI-MS based IRIDICA platform. Dr. Sampath was the co-founder of Ibis Biosciences, Inc. and a co-inventor of the IRIDICA (CE-IVD) infectious disease diagnostics platform.

Dr. Sampath is a recognized leader in the field, with over 100 publications and over 40 issued patents in infectious disease diagnostics. He was an invited participant at the White House National Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship and was an active member of the AdvamedDx Industry Forum for the global commitment on developing diagnostic tests to fight AMR. He has been an invited speaker at many public forums such as at the Institute of Medicine, Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and Parenteral Drug Association (PDA). He was a key member of an FDA/PDA task force involved in defining the future of viral screening for cell substrates. Dr. Sampath most recently served for a 3-year term as a member of the Diagnostics Committee for IDSA. His research interests include sepsis, antimicrobial strategy development, pathogen discovery, fevers of unknown origin, tropical diseases, epidemiological surveillance and biothreat detection.

Tariq Kassum, M.D.

Chief Executive Officer
Celsius Therapeutics

Tariq Kassum brings nearly 20 years of experience in corporate development, strategy, and business leadership to Celsius. He joined the company in 2019 from Obsidian Therapeutics, where he was a co-founder and served as chief operating officer and head of corporate development. During this time, Tariq helped build Obsidian into a leading platform technology company and played a central role in the company’s strategic partnership with Celgene.

Prior to Obsidian, Tariq spent seven years with Millennium Pharmaceuticals and Takeda, most recently as vice president, business development and strategy for Takeda Oncology, responsible for transactions, collaborations, alliance management and strategic planning. Before that, he led Takeda’s global corporate development efforts, where he managed multiple acquisitions and divestitures in the U.S. and internationally. He was also part of the business development team at Millennium Pharmaceuticals.

Prior to Takeda, Tariq was an analyst covering healthcare equities for institutional investment firms, where he led scientific due diligence and investment decisions on numerous companies and pharmaceutical compounds across multiple therapeutic areas. He began his career as an investment banker with CIBC World Markets, serving clients in the biotechnology and specialty pharmaceuticals industries.

Tariq holds an M.D. from the University of Toronto and an A.B. from Cornell University.


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