Physician’s Panel: Partnering with Entrepreneurs to Better Address Patient Needs

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FountainBlue’s April 18 Life Science Entrepreneurs’ Forum, on the topic of Physician Panel: Partnering with Entrepreneurs to Better Address Patient Needs, featuring:
Facilitator Amish Parashar, Stanford University Trans-Disciplinary Program
Panelist Arthur Douville, Arthur W. Douville, Jr., M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Good Samaritan Hospital
Panelist Guy Miller, M.D., Ph.D., co-founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Edison Pharmaceuticals
Panelist Peter G. Milner, MD, FACC, Co-Founder and Executive VP Corporate Development Optivia Biotechnology and Co-founder CV Therapeutics, ARYx Therapeutics
Presenting Entrepreneur Subhash Kulkarni, post-doctoral fellow in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Stanford University
Presenting Entrepreneur Thomas Ruby, PhD, Postdoc fellow, Microbiology and Immunology, Monack Lab

Please join us in thanking our hosts at UCSC Extension for graciously hosting us at their facilities and to our sponsors at KPMG for their ongoing support of our program and the series. Below are notes from the conversation.

The panelists concurred that there are many policy, funding, and operational issues which make it difficult to pharma, biotech and device companies to succeed. Even in the best of times, development, approval, reimbursement, time-to-market, financing and other hurdles make it challenging for companies serving patients, but times are even more difficult now. Traditional venture investors are more interested in funding later stage companies with tested technologies. Many early stage and even established companies are confused and frozen by FDA statements that new policies and standards will be in place, but without a timeframe or an idea of what changes are in store, people and companies are electing to take products and services off-shore for easier, less time-consuming, more straight-forward, less expensive approval processes. Thus, US leadership first in medical devices and now in pharma are migrating offshore to Europe, China and other markets which are easier to get funding, approvals and customers.

Although all is not lost, for there are opportunities still in the US, there are many ‘ifs’ we need to overcome.
• If we could come together as a community, and focus on the health of patients and supporting each other in improving the standard of care with egos aside, with fewer ulterior motives . . .
• If we could focus on patient care, and hospital needs, and change regulatory standards that support both (rather than create unintentional work and problems for both patients, doctors and administrators) . . .
• If we could get predictable standards and policies which protect the patient *and* support innovation and entrepreneurship . . .
• If we could focus on cost-effectiveness and comparative effectiveness without folding in egos and politics . . .
• If we could all be less litigious . . .
• If we could leverage technologies to better understand the vast amounts of information generated, and share standardized information transparently . . .
• If we could share our success rates and stories and collaborate with all stakeholders to better improve how we treat our patients . . .
• If we could incentivize all stakeholders to share information transparently and cooperatively . . .
• If we could entice more customers and funders to be invested in research to heal patients, rather than just making money . . .
Below is advice to entrepreneurs offered by the panelists:
• Partner with corporations who are interested in your space.
• Identify and recruit high-net-worth individuals who would be interested in funding your company for personal reasons, not just business reasons.
• Developing drugs and the life science area in general is not for the faint of heart. You must be persistent, dedicated, hard-working, good at what you do, and very lucky to succeed.
• The difficult policy and funding environment in the US is helping open up markets in Europe and China and other countries.
• Hopefully the US policymakers and funders, including new funders like foundations, will come around and there will be new opportunities here. Tested and approved solutions in European, Chinese and other markets might be more likely approved here if and when that happens.
Below are some opportunities to consider:
• Create solutions and services which enhance patient safety.
• Create solutions which address the connectivity problem – having data analytics to understand data and make decisions.
• There are opportunities around electronic medical records and standardizing data formats, making patient information more easily accessible.
• There are opportunities in predictive analysis which would be more effective than focus groups on very narrow patient populations.
There are huge opportunities to better partner with physicians and serve patients, but our work is cut out for us, and it will take a resilient, resourceful, flexible and collaborative ecosystem of stakeholders to better serve patients.

Stimulating Conversation, Building Community, Nurturing Innovation
At FountainBlue, we stimulate collaborative innovation one conversation, one leader, one organization at a time. We hope that our notes from our monthly events stimulate conversation on a topic of common interest, build a community of connected stakeholders, and in general, advance entrepreneurial business opportunities in this area. Please feel free to forward to interested others, with proper credit to FountainBlue and our speakers and sponsors as our notes are copyrighted by FountainBlue for 2006-2011. We welcome your continued participation and input and hope to see you at an event soon.

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