Disruptive Innovations US

by Amy Steinberg Published Sep 12, 2017 Last updated Sep 12, 2017
Disruptive Innovations US.

There are so many online ways to gain knowledge, expand your thinking and grow your skill set these days – you can read blogs, listen to podcasts, watch training videos, and attend webinars, just to name a few. Why bother with the time and expense of an in-person conference?

Live, on-site events like seminars, lunch and learns and workshops can provide unique learning, networking and career building opportunities that are difficult to find elsewhere.

Last week, we attended the 7th annual DPharm: Disruptive Innovations to Advance Clinical Trials conference presented by The Conference Forum at the Marriott Copley Place in Boston, MA.

The conference underscores the promise and challenge of innovation in advancing drug development and uses a TED-style approach to showcase innovations from leading pharmaceutical research and development practitioners.

Ever since the conference launched in 2011, the concentration has been on disruptive thinkers and change-makers eager to discuss current solutions in clinical development, propose innovative changes, and commit to testing and sharing the results in order to transform drug development and the industry.

This years’ speaking faculty included over 95 directors, vice presidents, chief executive officers and patient participants. We found that two of the most interesting sessions were Blockchain for Drug Development: An Historic Opportunity! and Wireless Remote Monitoring – Next Frontier for Patients.

Blockchain for Drug Development: An Historic Opportunity!

This session was led by Sascha Mundstein, PhD, MBA, Mobile and Digital CEO and Technology Evangelist at Pfizer, Inc.. According to Dr. Mundstein, Pfizer is making advances in working with blockchain and has been one of the first companies to deliver prototype applications on the chain early this year.

In this session, we learned how blockchain can speed up the drug development process and change the business model of clinical development.

Wireless Remote Monitoring – Next Frontier for Patients

This session was led by Dina Katabi, PhD, MacArthur Fellow, Andrew & Erna Viterbi Professor and Director of MIT Center for Wireless Networks & Mobile Computing at MIT.

Dr. Katabi discussed in-home, non-intrusive patient monitoring and provided a demo of technology that uses ambient radio signals to monitor patient’s gait, falls, breathing, heart rate and even sleep, all without putting any sensor on the patient’s body.

MIT is using technology to redefine clinical endpoints and push clinical trials to the home.

Ask the Patient

Another area of note is Ask the Patient. According to The Conference Forum, Ask the Patient started in 2016 at DPharm and provides an opportunity for those in the drug development industry to meet and speak with patients or patient advocates who’ve experienced a clinical trial.

The segments aim to bring patients closer to the industry and the industry closer to the patients so we can learn from one and other on how to improve the way we currently design and conduct clinical trials, how to find them and communicate the availability of data post trials.

Overall, the DPharm: Disruptive Innovations to Advance Clinical Trials conference provided numerous opportunities to network with and learn from industry thought leaders. It was inspiring to be surround by such a large group of people who are committed to innovation.

In conclusion, conferences can be a significant investment of both and money. However, a conference like DPharm: Disruptive Innovations to Advance Clinical Trials can provide a unique opportunity to network, learn and build your career. A good conference, forces you to grow and challenge yourself.


Some information in this post was directly restated or paraphrased from the DPharm: Disruptive Innovations to Advance Clinical Trials program and The Conference Forum website.

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