On June 19, 2018 at Amgen, the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of WIB and Amgen hosted a panel discussion on partnering devices and diagnostics with pharma. A crowd of close to 50 women and men from all areas of science enjoyed a great conversation. The evening started with networking and appetizers, allowing the attendees early access to the panel and jump starting the conversation about the evening’s theme. The panel included four distinguished women with different perspectives on the partnering process. Peggy Hawkins JD (Licensing Director, Business Development at Amgen), the moderator, has a background spanning both pharmaceutical as well as in vitro diagnostic R&D and business development. Having worked in both industries, she has a unique perspective of some of the challenges that partnering between diverse industries with different business models brings.
Peggy led the conversation and kicked things off by introducing Laura Parmer-Lohan, MBA (President & CEO at Ruckus Partners, Inc.), who founded a consulting firm called Ruckus Partners that works with diagnostic, digital health, medical device, and biotech companies to support product portfolio strategy development, product launch, revenue generating product lifecycle marketing, and more.
Another panelist, Donna Flesher, PhD (Principal Scientist and Solid Tumor Therapeutic Area Lead, Clinical Biomarkers & Diagnostics at Amgen), received her PhD at Stanford University in immunology and is now at Amgen where she is responsible for the development and alignment of biomarker strategy across early and late stage clinical development programs, as well as with marketed products.
Finally, Peggy introduced Suzanne Cheng, PhD (Director, Project Leader, Genomics & Oncology at Roche Molecular Systems), who is leading cross-functional teams responsible for co-developing companion diagnostic assays with pharma partners in both oncology and non-oncology therapeutic areas.
After introductions, each of the panelists gave their perspective on initiating, managing, and developing relationships to foster partnerships between medical device and diagnostic companies with pharmaceuticals. Partnerships are becoming increasingly important as pharma seeks ways to differentiate their products, and precision medicine demands the need for companion diagnostics. Commercial market access, value, and regulatory needs require close coordination between pharma and diagnostic device partners. As both entities have distinct business models, investment paradigms, and tolerance for business risk, partnering and deal term negotiations can be challenging. The panel discussed creative solutions that can bridge these gaps and lead to win-win successful long term partnering relationships.
The audience was very engaged in the conversation and, as the panel progressed, many attendees voiced their questions and participated in the discussion, and the event ran well past the planned end time. The audience appreciated the extended networking opportunities and the extremely informative panel discussion.
Thank you to our event chairs and our sponsor Amgen for making the event a great success!
Click here for more photos