PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Inaugural @Philly Cell and Gene Therapy Annual Conference (https://atphilly.org/) was held on June 17-18 at the Sheraton Valley Forge Hotel northwest of Philadelphia. Organized by the Sino-American Pharmaceutical Professionals Association-Greater Philadelphia (SAPA-GP. https://sapagp.org/), the conference was sponsored by twenty-nine companies. Over five-hundred life scientists, pharmaceutical professionals, and business executives attended the conference.
For two days, over eighty speakers made more than seventy presentations in nine parallel tracks, covering wide ranging topics including gene therapy discovery, next generation cell therapy, CMC, clinical development and regulatory, business environment in the greater Philadelphia area, cell and gene therapy in China, as well as biotech entrepreneurship. Rick Jones, partner of BioAdvance in Philadelphia, made the plenary opening remarks “Why Philly for CGT? Because Innovation is in Our Bones”. Dr Philip J. Brooks, the acting director of NIH Division of Rare Diseases Research Innovation of National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, gave the plenary speech “The Bespoke Gene Therapy Consortium (BGTC) and Related Efforts: Moving Beyond ‘One Disease at a Time’”. Dr Peter Marks, the director of FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, delivered the keynote speech “FDA’s Efforts to Facilitate the Development of Cell and Gene Therapies”.
Among the highlights of the conference was a dinner gala conversation with Emily Kramer-Golinkoff, a patient of a rare form of cystic fibrosis and the founder of Emily’s Entourage, talking about her trailblazing work in accelerating the development of critical medicines for cystic fibrosis patients with rare nonsense mutations like hers. Emily’s story provided a roadmap for engaging patients in the journey of finding life-saving medicines for rare genetic diseases.
In addition to scientific contents, the conference offered a unique @Philly forum which highlighted key initiatives and premium research and manufacture centers in the Greater Philadelphia region.
The Greater Philadelphia area has long been a vibrant hub of biotech and pharmaceutical industry. Over the last three decades, scientists and entrepreneurs in the Greater Philadelphia region have held the global leadership in the discovery and development of Cell and Gene therapies. Four FDA-approved therapies have originated here, including the 1st cell therapy (Kymriah®) and the 1st gene therapy (Luxturna®).
“It took three years for us to bring a vision into reality. We are giving a big shout out to the cell and gene therapy industry in the Greater Philadelphia region,” said Dr Jing Yang, Chief Scientific Officer of BaseCure Therapeutics, co-chair of the conference, and the SAPA-GP President in 2019-2020.
“We wanted to shine a spotlight on the greater Philadelphia area’s collective scientific leadership and business advantages in cell and gene therapy research, development, manufacturing, and entrepreneurship,” commented Dr Haichen Yang, VP at Amicus Therapeutics, co-chair of the conference, and the current president of SAPA-GP.
Indeed, the conference has succeeded in its goal of becoming a major gathering of brilliant minds in the field of cell and gene therapy. It’s poising to gain significant influence in the years to come.
Founded in 2002, SAPA’s mission is to promote pharmaceutical sciences and biotechnology, facilitate scientific and business cooperation, and foster the career development of pharmaceutical professionals. With over 4,000 members, each year SAPA-GP hosts many programs in science, business, and career development. It exercises increasing influence in shaping favorable business environments in the Greater Philadelphia area.