The Future of Bio Innovation

One Nucleus’ ON Helix provided insightful and thought-provoking discussions, with a key theme being collaboration, facilitating all aspects of bio innovation.

Bio Innovation in Therapeutics – AI Discovered Drugs in Action

With the first ‘AI discovered’ drugs now starting to receive approval, this game changing technology will start to impact development life cycles.

Partnerships and collaborations between pharma/biotech and AI/tech companies are becoming even more important, especially when in-house expertise and facilities are unavailable. However, it can be a lengthy process and there are issues surrounding confidentiality and data security. There is a need for large amounts of data (including negative data) to train algorithms, yet obtaining this data is difficult as many pharma companies are not willing to share data for numerous reasons.

All members of the panel agreed that training and educating chemists/biologists to work with AI/computational learning methods is becoming essential. AI combined with humans are the best way forward. We cannot solely rely on AI, but instead AI should be used to support humans.

Bio Innovation in Diagnostics – From Population to Precision

The technological developments in omics, neuroscience, biomarker identification and data collection are shifting the value proposition for diagnostics.  Diagnostics should be used to study health as well as disease – and thus there needs to be a cultural shift to focus on prevention as well as treatment.

Companies like Enhanc3D Genomics are developing technology platforms to understand disease through genetics – an example of where we see technology aiding diagnosis. A second is AI.

Despite the array of benefits that come with AI, when it is used in the field of diagnosis it should be used as a ‘push in the right direction’ and to confirm a diagnosis made by a medical professional. The field of neuroscience is yet to benefit from the ‘genomics era’ however.  Developments in measurement tools have been of great benefit, but there is still a long way to go.

Bio Innovation in Prevention – the Good, the Bad and the Bugly

After two years focusing mostly on one virus, many innovations in the space of AMR, microbiome or general surveillance were overlooked. There are now opportunities arising from a more holistic approach to human-‘bug’ interaction. Without the use of effective antibiotics, simple procedures such as C-sections would become extremely dangerous. So, although there is no patient advocacy for AMR, it is a problem that could affect anyone and thus there needs to be a government drive in its prevention.

AMR is a global issue, and we must act on a global scale to try and prevent it. The microbiome can be used as a tool in the fight against AMR – we do not have to necessarily kill all bugs but instead adjust the environment that they are in.

Bio Innovation in Development – Manufacturing Cell and Gene Therapeutics

A crucial element in developing therapeutics that we hope will become market leaders is technological advances in manufacturing of cell and gene therapies. With Allogenic vs Autologous therapies, there are pros and cons to both. Autologous cell therapies (involving patients’ own cells) pose manufacturing difficulties – they can only treat a low volume of patients at one time, the process is slow, and the technology is still being developed. Allogenic cell therapies (involving donor cells) meanwhile, have issues with immune rejection.

The main issue at present is the scalability of manufacturing and commercialisation of cell therapies, volume vs expense.

Back to the Future – Reinventing Bio Innovation Ecosystems

To end the day, discussion led to the key ingredients that create the most successful Bio Innovation Ecosystems and how they must evolve to keep pace with the fast-moving world we live in.

The panellist and audience concluded that in order to have a successful ecosystem there needs to be interaction and collaboration across multiple disciplines in a variety of sectors.