Wednesday 13 June 2012

Abchurch Life Sciences Party 2012

Life Sciences PRDate:
12th June 2012

The Abchurch Offices; 125 Old Broad Street

Attended by:
A selection of Abchurch’s Life Sciences clients, key journalists, influencers, investors and analysts in the sector

The Event:
With the Life Sciences sector buzzing with activity and the Abchurch team continuously growing, we enthusiastically flung open our doors for the second annual Life Science themed party. It presented an opportunity to bring the industry sector professionals together to mix, mingle and network with like-minded individuals.

With kick-off at 6pm, guests were greeted by the Abchurch team with a glass of sparkling (alcoholic or otherwise!) by a waiter donning Abchurch-branded purple scrubs. Guests migrated into the amazing open office space where the entertainment commenced. Once all had arrived and enjoyed an initial tipple, and a catch-up with the life science fraternity, attention moved to our two guest speakers.  

GE HealthcareDr Gaby SilverFirst on the agenda was Dr Gabrielle Silver; Global Head of Strategic Marketing, Neurology/ General Medicine at GE Healthcare. She gave a very insightful overview of the global burden of neurodegenerative diseases. Specifically, Gaby noted current attitudes towards dementia – which she believes are often driven by fear, especially with patients – as there is currently no known treatment. Fear and denial lead to poor knowledge levels, and specifically that late diagnosis of disease is, at this time, too late to prevent damage and progression. As such, Gaby concluded her talk by looking to the technology horizon, and highlighted the essential requirement for better diagnostics that can pick up the signs of disease as early as possible. Indeed, diagnostics of the future will detect patients vulnerable to dementia before symptoms have even been seen. Such diagnostics will give patients the greatest chance of protection, either through a change in life-style or the new therapeutics coming to fruition.  Indeed, Gaby noted that the next 6-12 months will be very exciting as results from several Phase III studies on drugs for Alzheimer’s will be published – the first drugs to treat the disease, rather than the symptoms.

Facebook IPOSecond to take to the mic was John Hodgson; Managing Editor of ScripIntelligence. John posed the question: “What lessons could Life Sciences learn from Facebook?” Regardless of Facebook’s valuation at IPO, and lacklustre performance in the aftermarket, John’s point was that there is clearly immense value held in data on people – so what would be the value of patient data and medical records?

Scrip IntelligenceJohn HodgsonHe described the current status quo where medical records are held as highly confidential, and only very few physicians may gain access to them. In the Facebook model, it is the owner of the profile that can divulge as much, or as little, as they choose about themselves, to post on the social media site. In healthcare however, patients do not have access to their own data, and are therefore not empowered to disseminate it as they see fit.

What is required, according to John, is a major change in mindset – not easy, he hastened to add. However, if patients owned their medical records, they could choose to make it available for anyone to use, to specific groups only, or completely secret; whatever works for them. But, like Facebook, you can be sure that significant volumes of data would move into the public domain. John noted that the value of this data is impossible to calculate, but it wouldn’t be used to steer advertising campaigns, but drive the development of the multi-billion dollar drug industry.   
Life Sciences PRThroughout this exclusive evening, the guest’s taste buds were tickled by a selection of, what I would class as, Michelin star quality canapés. For the main course we were treated to seared chilli beef and nasu dengaku served in kidney dishes; duck, watermelon & cashew salad, tiger prawns with mango in a rice paper roll arranged around forceps, salmon tartar (my personal favourite) served around syringes, and betal leaf with pomelo & pomegranate for the veggies, scattered amongst Abchurch purple stethoscopes. Then, if this wasn’t enough to satisfy cravings or fill the stomach void, we had an equally impressive spread of delicious deserts. Keeping of course to the Life Science theme, the chocolate mousse with roasted hazelnuts and lychee jelly with mango DNA-style pearls served in petri dishes. To which I must add, the lychee jelly did look uncannily like an agar gel harbouring bacteria…but this realistic interpretation still failed to put me off eating more than my fair share! More mingling and medical deserts of a strawberry & coconut ‘syrup’ served on silver ‘dosing’ spoons, white chocolate ‘tablets’, and vanilla & strawberry ‘dentures’ scattered amongst dental tools, and the party started to draw to a close.
Life Sciences PR
Once again Abchurch’s organisational and hosting skills could not be faulted. The evening was a sterling success; with guests remaining extremely animated as they discussed the ins, outs and issues of the sector. Thank you to all who attended and contributed to the event and hopefully see you for the same again next year!

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