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The Hepatitis B Foundationís Baruch S. Blumberg Institute Hosts the 13th Annual Regional Biotech Conference
Company leaders gathered at the PA Biotechnology Center to discuss ways to get products to market faster, saving valuable time and money during the process

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (Nov. 15, 2013) – Nearly 100 of the area’s life science and technology leaders gathered at the PA Biotechnology Center on Friday to discuss paths to success for biotech companies in southeastern Pennsylvania. They came together for the 13th Annual Regional Biotech Conference, hosted by the Hepatitis B Foundation’s Baruch S. Blumberg Institute.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Consumer Product Development, an Alternative Path to Commercialization.” Bill Kinney, Ph.D., chose that theme to encourage companies to think about developing products for more than just the pharmaceutical industry. Kinney is director of the Blumberg Institute’s Regional Biotech Council and its department of Medicinal Chemistry.

“We have lots of biotech companies here at the center, and most of us are focused on drugs and the pharmaceutical industry,” Kinney said. “But it’s very challenging to discover a drug; it takes about 10 years of development time and huge amounts of money. We want to encourage people to think of alternate routes to success.”

Pharmaceuticals, especially those based on synthetic molecules, must undergo more stringent testing and regulation, Kinney said, which adds years and costs to a product’s development timeline. Developing a cosmetic product or a supplement using natural products, however, can help a company get a product on the market more quickly.

“Companies around the country are finding great success using other paths to market,” Kinney said. “They’re developing a supplement first, getting it on the shelves and starting to make money, which can then be used to fund the research and testing necessary to develop the pharmaceutical product.”

One of the speakers at the conference has done just that. Maxwell Stock, President and CEO of Princeton-based Signum Biosciences, Inc., discussed how his company has developed a product composed of bioactive molecules derived from coffee that it says helps enhance memory and long-term brain health. The product is on the market as a dietary supplement called Cognion™. Meanwhile, Signum continues to research pharmaceutical agents to treat Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Also speaking at the conference were Anthony P. Green, Ph.D., vice president, Technology Commercialization Group, Ben Franklin Technology Partners; John Lyga, Ph.D., director, Bioscience and Strategic Alliance, Avon; and Miri Seiberg, Ph.D., Seiberg Consulting, formerly with Johnson & Johnson Skin Research Center.

Timothy Block, Ph.D., thanked the speakers for sharing their stories and thanked the attendees for coming.

“It’s always exciting to get these great minds together in one room to talk about how we keep moving bioscience forward,” said Block, president of the Hepatitis B Foundation and Baruch S. Blumberg Institute. “The inspiring stories we heard here today offer a model that will help many small area biotech companies succeed.”

The Regional Biotechnology Council, a program sponsored by the Blumberg Institute, provides support and information for biotech businesses in the greater-Philadelphia area. With more than 500 members, including more than 150 biotech-related companies, the council offers meetings and networking events dedicated to nurturing small and emerging biotech businesses. To learn more, go to http://www.blumberginstitute.org/.

2013 RBC

From left to right: John Lyga, PhD, Anthony P. Green, PhD, William Kinney, PhD, Timothy Block, PhD, Maxwell Stock, and Miri Seiberg, PhD



Page last modified November 18, 2013

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