Upcoming Events

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US Healthcare & Drug Pricing Debate

Trump and Bernie can agree on one thing: they’re both worked up about the cost of prescription drugs, and they’re not alone. 80% of Americans believe that drug prices are unreasonable. Are they right? Why do medicines cost so much in the US? Why can’t the government negotiate drug prices? What can be done about it??

Come hear the thoughts of health care experts. Ask questions on current policies. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019, 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Doors open at 5:00pm
Catered reception from 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Harvard University, Science Center Hall B, Cambridge, MA, 02138

Hosted and Moderated by:

Vivek Ramaswamy ‘07
Founder & CEO, Roivant Sciences
Vivek Ramaswamy (College ’07) is an American entrepreneur in the biotechnology sector. He is the founder and CEO of the pharmaceutical company Roivant Sciences, founded in 2014 and now valued at $7 billion. Roivant aims to improve health by rapidly delivering innovative medicines and technologies to patients.
Joining us for this special event:
Opening 2 minute flash talks by:
Aseda Tena - GSAS Biomedical PhD Student
Mark Zaki - HMS MD student 
Kristina Wang - HBS MBA student
Nima Shamtoub - HLS JD student


Joining us for this special event:

Peter Kolchinsky, Ph.D
. ‘01

Co-founder, Portfolio Manager, & Managing Director, RA Capital Management
Peter Kolchinsky (Ph.D ’01) is co-founder, Managing Director, and Portfolio Manager of RA Capital Management, a multi-stage investment manager dedicated to evidence-based investing in healthcare and life science companies. He is active in both public and private investments in companies developing drugs, medical devices, diagnostics, and research tools and serves as a member of the Board of Directors for a number of private companies. He is the author of “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to a Biotech Start-up” and the Biotech Social Contract series.

John Maraganore, Ph.D.
CEO and Director, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
John Maraganore is the CEO and Director of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company focused on translating RNA interference (RNAi) into a whole new class of innovative medicines. He has been responsible for company franchises across oncology, and cardiovascular, inflammatory, and metabolic diseases and led the discovery and development of Angiomax™. He currently serves as the chair of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and on the board of Agios Pharmaceuticals.

Shawn Bishop
Vice President, Controlling Health Care Costs and Advancing Medicare, The Commonwealth Fund
Shawn Bishop is the Vice President for the Controlling Health Care Costs program at the Commonwealth Fund, which aims to promote a high-performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, and people of color. Previously, she provided strategic consulting related to Medicare and the Affordable Care Act, including policy development and outreach to Congress and the administration. Bishop earlier served as senior vice president of research for the Marwood Group, offering financial services firms and others analysis of political, legislative, and regulatory environments, and as professional staff with the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.


Join us at Ideation 2019, hosted by the MIT Biotech Group and the Harvard Biotech Club.

Get tickets HERE through 4/21 or until sold out. Learn more at our website.

When: April 22nd at 6 pm

Where: 32-123 (32 Vassar Street, Cambridge MA 02139)

Event Description & Format

Ideation is an annual event during which the Harvard and MIT communities come together to discuss commercializing science and the plethora of funding and development groups dedicated to biotech. Open to anyone in and beyond Boston, attendees will hear from an experienced executive and educator in biotechnology, 2 successful and established student-based teams out of Harvard and MIT, and a series of 2-minute pitches from selected newly formed teams looking to recruit members and share their vision.

Immediately following the event content, at 7:45pm, there will be a networking session with food provided during which students can learn about biotech startup resources from representatives of our partnering organizations, meet pitching teams, and discuss potential future involvement or collaboration.

Ideation 2019 Partners:

Martin Trust Center (lead sponsor), Harvard iLabs, Harvard LifeLab, MIT 100k, Harvard OTD, MIT TLO, MIT Venture Mentoring Service, NSF I-Corps at MIT, Sloan Healthcare Club, HBS Healthcare Club, the Harvard Undergraduate Biotechnology Association, MassBio, LabCentral, Alexandria LaunchLabs, and the MIT Engine

Ideation 2019 Speakers:

Dr. Robert S. Langer is the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT and is considered “one of history’s most prolific inventors in medicine”. He has authored more than 1,400 articles and has over 1,300 issued and pending patents worldwide. Dr. Langer is the most cited engineer in history and has licensed his patents to over 350 pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology and medical device companies. Dr. Langer has received numerous major awards and medals including the United States Nation Medal of Science (2006), the United States Nation Medal of Technology and Innovation (2011) the Lemelson-MIT Prize (the world’s largest prize for invention) (1998) and he was recently named one of five U.S. Science Envoys for 2018. As a Science Envoy for Innovation, Dr. Langer will be focusing on novel approaches in biomaterials, drug delivery systems, nanotechnology, tissue engineering and the U.S approach to research commercialization.

Armon Sharei, PhD is the founder and CEO of SQZ Biotech. SQZ biotech uses a proprietary CellSqueeze platform that emerged from Dr. Sharei's work in the Langer and Jensen labs to develop a new generation of unique cell therapies. Armon was awarded the 2017 Young Innovator award and has been named to Forbes 30 Under 30 and Endpoints 40 under 40. SQZ won the $100,000 grand prize in the 2014 MassChallenge and has a billion dollar deal with Roche.

Eric Kelsic, PhD is the Cofounder and CEO of Dyno Therapeutics, which emerged from his work in the Church Lab. Dyno combines next-generation DNA synthesis of millions of AAV capsids with high-throughput sequencing and machine learning to create novel AAV vectors that enable the safe, efficient and targeted in vivo delivery of gene therapies. Dr. Kelsic will speak to Dyno's strategy from establishing a strong executive team to securing VC backing

If you have any questions, email us at mitharvardpitch@gmail.com


“Innovation to Entrepreneurship: Fostering a Culture of  Research Translation”

Please join us for the 10th Annual UMCA  Agroforestry Symposium exploring innovation and entrepreneurship in the life sciences scheduled for January 30-31, 2019.

Notable speakers on the program include:  

  • Dr. Kelly Sexton, Associate Vice President for Research - Technology Transfer and Innovation Partnerships for the University of Michigan

  • Dr. Rodolphe Barrangou, Professor of Food Science and the Todd R. Klaenhammer Distinguished Scholar in Probiotics Research at North Carolina State University.

  • Dr. Christopher Daubert, Vice Chancellor and Dean, College of Food Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Missouri

  • Bill Turpin, CEO, Missouri Innovation Center and Interim  Associate Vice Chancellor for Economic Development at the University of Missouri

  • Dr. Namrita Lall,  Professor of Plant Science,  University of Pretoria

  • Dr. Katie Thompson, CEO and Co-founder,  Elemental Enzymes

  • Dr.  Chung Ho Lin,  Associate Research Professor, Center for Agroforestry, University of Missouri

  • Matthew Wood,  CEO  and Founder of Probiotic Holdings, LLC

The 2019 Symposium will also feature panel discussions on themes of entrepreneurship, translation of research and building effective university-industry partnerships, a poster session, closing reception and an exhibit hall showcasing examples of successful entrepreneurship and commercial development emerging from both MU research and collaborations from around Missouri.

The event will be held at the Bond Life Sciences Center on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia, MO (See map) and is scheduled for Wednesday,  January 30th ( 5:30-8:00pm) and Thursday, January 31st (8:00am – 6:00pm). The event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is requested.  Please register to attend at:  goo.gl/iywnii

Not able to attend in person?  Join us via livestream! Details at:   goo.gl/qtzbZa

More information about the 2019 UMCA Agroforestry Symposium can be found in the at the following link:  http://www.centerforagroforestry.org/events/symposia.php

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Transitioning from Academia to Industry: The Role of Medical Affairs in a Modern Pharmaceutical Company

Tuesday, February 26, 2019, 5:30pm to 6:30pm

OCS, 54 Dunster St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Interested in a scientific or medical career away from the bench? Come learn about the different opportunities within medical affairs from three scientists who have already made the jump. They will introduce and field questions about the 2-year Biogen Postdoctoral Fellowship Program for all upcoming or recent PhD graduates interested in a hands-on opportunity to experience the different functional areas within medical affairs.

Guest speakers:

  • Ramon Iovin, PhD, Neuroscience, Boston University, Associate Director, Global Scientific Communications, Biogen

  • Lauren Robertson, PhD '18, Biological Sciences in Public Health, Harvard University, Worldwide Medical Post-doctoral Industry Fellow, Biogen

  • Linda Nguyen, PhD, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Boston University, Worldwide Medical Post-doctoral Industry Fellow, Biogen

Dinner will be provided. This event is open to Harvard PhD students and postdocs. Please RSVP for the event by contacting lauren.robertson@biogen.com

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For more information, check out the  Symposium Website  or email us at  jackie@scientistafoundation.org

For more information, check out the Symposium Website or email us at jackie@scientistafoundation.org

Consuming Genetics:
The Ethical and Legal Considerations of
Consumer Genetic Technologies

Conference Date: May 17, 2019

The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School is pleased to announce plans for our 2019 annual conference: “Consuming Genetics: The Ethical and Legal Considerations of Consumer Genetic Technologies.” This year’s conference is organized in collaboration with Nita A. Farahany, Duke Law School, and Henry T. Greely, Stanford Law School.

Conference Description

Breakthroughs in genetics have often raised complex ethical and legal questions. Many regard their genetic testing and sequencing as revealing something intensely personal and private. The questions raised by these technologies loom even larger as genetic testing is becoming more commonplace, affordable, and comprehensive. At the same time, advances in CRISPR and other related technologies raise anxieties about the implications of editing our own DNA. One can imagine a future when gene editing may become as widespread as genetic testing is today. As genetic technologies become more accessible to individuals, the ethical and legal questions around the consumer use of these technologies become more pressing. This conference will examine some of these issues.

The rise of genetic testing has allowed individuals to gain new insights into their unique makeup. Already the global genetic testing and consumer/wellness genomics market was valued at $2.24 billion in 2015 and is expected to double by 2025. Amazon noted that Ancestry.com’s DNA test kit was one of their best-selling products on cyber Monday of 2018. The availability of these technologies inspires patients to act proactively to avoid medical conditions, such as when actress Angelina Jolie pursued a double mastectomy after genetic testing revealed that she was in the highest risk category for developing breast and ovarian cancers. The rise of direct-to-consumer genetic testing kits raises questions about the appropriate setting for these activities, however. For example, the Food and Drug Administration expressed concern about 23 and Me’s initial product offering, noting that delivering health-related results directly to consumers might cause these individuals to draw the wrong medical conclusions.

The increased ease of genetic testing and sequencing has also led to a sharp increase in genetic data and the rise of precision medicine. The rise of genetic databases raises significant ethical questions, especially around privacy concerns. In an age where serial killers are caught because their relatives chose to submit DNA to a consumer genealogy database, is genetic privacy for individuals possible? The economics here are significant. Consider the increased value of Myriad’s database of variances of unknown significance after the Supreme Court in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics held that isolated genes cannot be patented. Does the aggregation of data from genetic testing turn people into products by commercializing their data? How might this data reduce or exacerbate already significant health care disparities? 

While gene editing tools such as CRISPR are not yet as widely available as genetic testing technology, in some parts of the world their availability is already spreading. There have been reports that Chinese scientists have used CRISPR-Cas9 technology to genetically engineer the cells of at least 86 patients. Companies in the United States and Europe are expected to begin treating patients with CRISPR-based therapies this year. Many countries have drawn a line against germline modification, but this prohibition may be strained if gene editing technology is widely disseminated. Before we reach that point, this is the time to consider what ethical and regulatory safeguards should be implemented for when the time comes.

To learn more, visit our website!


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If you have biotech or healthcare related news/events/jobs that you would like us to advertise, please email
HBC.announcement@gmail.com with concise event information (format: Title, date, time, venue, description, contact info/event website) in text form. Please do not only send us a flyer! Please send us material at least 3 weeks in advance so we can include your event on the bi-weekly bulletin.