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BIO 2016 Patient Pavilion Snapshot: Alpha-1 Project

May 25, 2016
Every year, the BIO International Convention brings together stakeholders from the health care community to discuss how we can accelerate the pace of innovation to bring new, effective treatments to patients.  In recent years, the patient voice has been amplified in the drug development process as new models for collaboration are emerging to advance therapeutic development and ensure new treatments have meaningful outcomes for patients.  To help amplify that voice at the BIO International Convention, BIO established the Patient Advocacy Pavilion.

The Pavilion was created to provide patient advocacy organizations, venture philanthropies, and industry with unique partnering and networking opportunities to advance their shared research and drug development agendas.  This year, BIO will host over 50 patient advocacy and related organizations that will participate in BIO’s One-on-One Partnering System™ to meet with potential new partners and to seek out new opportunities. Check out the current list of organizations that are participating in the Patient Advocacy Pavilion at BIO 2016.

Alpha1ProjectOne example of a patient advocacy organization that has embraced new models for partnership and is helping to drive research and development is the Alpha-1 Project.  Gordon Cadwgan, a Member of the Board of Directors at the Alpha-1 Project and Jean-Marc Quach, Executive Director of the Alpha-1 Project, have previously attended the BIO International Convention and participated in the Patient Advocacy Pavilion.

Speaking about their experiences, Cadwgan and Quach wrote, “The Alpha-1 Foundation and its venture philanthropy subsidiary, The Alpha-1 Project, are singularly focused on finding a cure for alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and improving the quality of lives of patients worldwide.  We help to de-risk the investment by providing funding, tools, and a solid research infrastructure for both basic and translational research.  As such, we always look for opportunities to encourage the biotech industry and the research community to advance the work on alpha-1.  For the past five years, the Alpha-1 Foundation has attended the BIO International Convention.  One of the highlights of our trip is having many meetings with select participants to identify promising therapies or other work on Alpha-1.  The One-on-One partnering system is a great resource for us.  We seek out companies who have an interest in Alpha-1 just as we are sought out by those who want to connect with us.  The automated scheduling system allows us to maximize the number of meetings.  These short meetings permit the two parties to see if additional follow-up is warranted.  We have several opportunities that we are currently pursuing as a result of these one-on-one partnering meetings.  We look forward to continuing to benefit from this wonderful resource.”

Patient advocacy organizations are changing the way we approach drug development.  They are creating natural history studies and disease registries, as well as informing clinical trial design and helping with trial recruitment and enrollment.  Many are also funding research to help bridge the “valley of death” to get treatments to the patients they serve.

Last year, 300 partnering meetings took place in the Patient Advocacy Pavilion among nonprofit disease foundations, industry, and other Convention attendees to discuss these and other types of collaborations.  With a central location on the exhibition floor in Moscone South, we expect similar interest and activity in the Pavilion at this year’s Convention.

The Alpha-1 Foundation, along with dozens of other patient advocacy organizations ranging in size, mission, and therapeutic area, will be at the 2016 BIO Convention to build on the connections made at previous Conventions and to explore the potential for new partnerships.