Blood cancer breakthroughs: what’s next for underserved markets

Blood cancer drug development has been an area of great innovation as technologies like CAR-Ts have forged new ground in achieving meaningful results for patients.

Despite these new approaches, there have been very few advances for certain blood cancers that remain areas of high unmet need, such as lower risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) that affects a sizeable patient population – predominantly the elderly – but has seen very little innovation over the past decade. By following the science with dedication and persistence, drug developers are now on the precipice of bringing potentially life-changing treatments to patients in this underserved community.

In this live panel with experts from industry, academia, and advocacy, we will:
  • Review the continued unmet need for lower risk MDS patients, especially for therapeutics that can alter the course of the underlying disease;
  • Explore treatments under current development that are trying to bring disease modification in lower risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS);
  • Examine how these new mechanisms of action could change the current standard of care;
  • Describe how investors are assigning value to novel treatments and allocating capital to support further development of those treatments; and
  • Discuss how the life sciences ecosystem (patients, physicians, drug developers, investors, insurers) foster innovation and improvements in healthcare.
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John A. Scarlett

John A. Scarlett

Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer, Geron

John A. Scarlett, M.D., has served as Chairman of the Board since December 2018, Chief Executive Officer and a director since joining Geron in September 2011, and President since January 2012. Prior to joining Geron, Dr. Scarlett served as President, Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors of Proteolix, Inc. from February 2009 until its acquisition by Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in November 2009. From February 2002 until its acquisition by Ipsen, S.A. in October 2008, Dr. Scarlett served as the Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors of Tercica, Inc. and also as its President from February 2002 through February 2007. From March 1993 to May 2001, Dr. Scarlett served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Sensus Drug Development Corporation. In 1995, he co-founded Covance Biotechnology Services, Inc. and served as a member of its board of directors from inception to 2000. From 1991 to 1993, Dr. Scarlett headed the North American Clinical Development Center and served as Senior Vice President of Medical and Scientific Affairs at Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Novo Nordisk A/S. Dr. Scarlett received his B.A. degree in chemistry from Earlham College and his M.D. from the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine.

Rami S. Komrokji

Rami S. Komrokji

Vice Chair, Malignant Hematology Department, Moffitt Cancer Center

Dr. Komrokji is the Vice Chair of the Malignant Hematology Department at the Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida. He is a senior Member of the Malignant Hematology and Experimental Therapeutics Program at the Moffitt Cancer Center, and Professor in Medicine & Oncologic Sciences at the College of Medicine, at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. After earning a medical degree in 1996 from the Jordan University School of Medicine, Dr. Komrokji completed an internship and residency at Case Western University, St. Vincent Program. He then completed a fellowship at Strong Memorial Hospital, University of Rochester, in Hematology/Oncology and Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation.

Dr Komrokji is expert in myeloid neoplasms where he led several clinical trials and lectured worldwide. His work paved the FDA approval for luspatercept in myelodysplastic syndromes and for Pacritinib in myelofibrosis. He has authored or co-authored more than 330 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 20 book chapters, and more than 1,000 abstracts in Hematologic Malignancies. He served as a member on the MDS Panel of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and is currently a member of the NHLBI MDS natural history study steering committee and aplastic anemia and MDS foundation board of directors. He was member of the editorial board for Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO). He is a peer reviewer for several medical journals including Blood Journal, JCO and Leukemia Journal. Dr. Komrokji’s research interests are in Phase I and II clinical trials, and in the outcome research in hematologic malignancies with a focus on myeloid neoplasms. His clinical interests are Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), Acute Myeloid Leukemias, and Myeloproliferative neoplasms.

Tracey Iraca

Tracey Iraca

Executive Director, MDS Foundation, Inc.

Tracey joined the MDS Foundation in 2004 as a part-time Patient Coordinator, assisting with patient education programs. As Executive Director, Tracey now oversees all daily business activities, including finances, staffing, and projects to support the mission of MDSF. She works with the MDSF Board of Directors on strategic planning for meeting the ongoing needs of MDS patients and healthcare professionals. Tracey manages the corporate grants program and is responsible for all corporate relations, organizational partnerships, and new business development.

Robert Driscoll

Robert Driscoll

Senior Analyst, Healthcare Equity Research, Wedbush PacGrow Lifesciences

Robert Driscoll, Ph.D. has been covering stocks in the Biotechnology sector at Wedbush since 2014. Robert has covered a wide range of therapeutic technologies and disease areas, including novel antibody technologies, infectious diseases, gene and cell therapies, rare diseases and traditional small molecules for oncology. Robert received his Ph.D. (Cell Biology) at University of Cambridge, studying in the lab of Prof. Stephen Jackson, inventor of olaparib (Lynparza), and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University in the molecular biology of carcinogenesis.

Kari Abitbol

Kari Abitbol

Director, Client Success, Endpoints News

As head of the client success team at Endpoints News, Kari oversees campaign delivery and strategy for all advertising and client-directed webinars. She brings nearly 20 years of diverse experience across strategic communications, content development and operational leadership.