Thomas Brenzikofer

Thomas Brenzikofer

Manager Network and Events, Healthcare Innovation - DayOne

Tel. +41 61 295 50 16

report Precision Medicine
DayOne Conference 2018 (img: Susanne Seiler)

DayOne Conference 2018 (img: Susanne Seiler)


The revolution comes from outside

On November 15th, the second DayOne Conference “Designing the future of health” took place at Markthalle Basel. More than 250 experts accepted the invitation to listen to interesting keynotes, discuss with panelists and support entrepreneurs in developing their projects.

Thomas Brenzikofer from welcomed the crowd and, together with Peter Groenen from pharma company Idorsia and Christian Elias Schneider from the University of Basel, introduced the speakers for the first part called “Precision Medicine at Work”. Peter did not overpromise when he said that everybody would be on the edge of their chairs listening to Christopher Buckley, rheumatologist and Professor at the University of Birmingham. “What he has to say does not come down easy,” said Groenen, as Buckley aims at nothing less than at a paradigm shift in healthcare. With the M40 alliance that has been established between the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham (which Buckley claims is like working for Roche and Novartis at the same time), the development and testing of new arthritis therapies is being accelerated. The combination of basic research, a focus on process driven pathology and innovative trials is cutting right to the chase and putting pressure on the conventional drug development conducted by big pharma companies: “The low return on investment for the incredibly expensive R&D is unsustainable for pharmaceutical companies in the long run”, warned Buckley. He also stressed the importance of the powerful patients who are demanding to be involved.

Patients demands

After Buckley, Young-Hak Kim from the Asan Medical Center Heart Institute introduced the biggest medical center in South Korea. He explained how Korea is building up their health data, which he sees as an important factor in the next stage of development for the country. Young-Hak Kim, Christopher Buckley, Peter Groenen, Christiane Pauli-Magnus from the University of Basel and Andreas Wicki from the University Hospital shared the first panel to discuss new concepts in healthcare, the use of data and a change in attitude between patients and doctors.

Peter Groenen pointed out the problem of outdated data that is slowing down the way to precision medicine. He is worried about the speed in which healthcare is changing and data is made available. “It could be quicker but with this speed today I think it will take 40 or 50 more years.” It was clear that the industry cannot solve this problem on its own. “We need the outside world,” Groenen said and thus underlined the goal of DayOne – to break down silos. Buckley is also convinced that change cannot be achieved by the people working and thinking within the current silos. The panel agreed that the revolution in medicine will be driven by the patients who – in times of ever rising health insurance and high-cost medicine – demand better and less costly therapies.

Making it happen

The next speakers shared their stories of innovation: Zayna Khayat introduced MaRS, an innovation hub in Toronto where great minds from different disciplines come together to solve wicked problems. In the area of digital healthcare her goal is to achieve data liquidity. The source of this dat has to be the patient as 90 percent of the relevant data is generated by patients themselves. Elena Bonfiglioli from Microsoft emphasized the importance of democratizing data and showed examples of artificial intelligence. Stefan Germann from Fondation Botnar stated: “Today we do not have a healthcare system but a disease cure system.” With Precision Medicine it should be possible to become better at prevention. He envisions a world health data lake in Switzerland as a global public good. Jens Eckstein showed in his talk how innovation can come from within the hospital. Together with colleagues, he developed an application that decodes the pulse wave and measures the systolic blood pressure enabling real time .

On the second panel, the speakers were joined by Hans-Florian Zeilhofer from University of Basel, Torsten Schwede from Swiss Personalized Health Network, Abhi Verma from Novartis and Sebastian Lugert from Roche Foundation Medicine. Verma proclaimed data the new life blood in healthcare. Zeilhofer gained spontaneous applause when he expressed his feeling that data is mostly not democratized, “but I see an uberisation of data”. The panel agreed on the importance of gaining the patients’ trust. “With genomic data there is no such thing as anonymity anymore”, said Eckstein.

Energetic debates

In the afternoon, the majority of participants used the chance to get to know different projects and help develop business ideas. 19 projects braved the process of pitching their idea in 90 seconds to get the best experts to work on their project. Each group then worked to create the “cover story” of what success looked like for the project. “Catch the disease before it catches you”, “Patients unchained”, "No medical visit forgotten” and “Mindpax Saves lives” were some of the headlines that resulted from the energetic debate and discussion. The final posters will be online soon. 

The DayOne conference had doubled in size since the debut last year and the format mixing project work, speeches and panel debate clearly resonated with the community. “Today is just one part of DayOne and we look forward to seeing some of these projects in the DayOne lab in 2018” said Thomas Brenzikofer in his closing speech. Will some of this projects be back at the DayOne conference in 2018 to tell stories of cross-silo collaboration?

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