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Incubate And DLA Piper Host Breakfast Panel At JPM24

Incubate and DLA Piper hosted a breakfast panel at this year's J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, California.


Incubate and DLA Piper hosted a breakfast panel at this year’s J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, California. Along with Incubate executive director John Stanford, the panel included former Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Kirsten Axelsen of DLA Piper, and Guarav Gupta of J.P. Morgan.

The panel discussed some of the most pressing issues for life sciences investors, including IP protections, supply chains, healthcare mergers and acquisitions, and the impacts of recent drug pricing legislation.

Drawing on his nearly three decades of experience in Congress, Sen. Burr shared with the room that passion and knowledge are two key components of good policymaking. Sen. Burr expressed optimism about the coming decade in life sciences innovation, while acknowledging the risk that policy choices could impede crucial scientific progress.

With regards to drug pricing, the small molecule penalty was top of mind.

“It’s head scratching,” Gupta reflected. “Why would legislators bias the modality by which we target a certain disease?

“It’s particularly detrimental because it affects patients. There will be people and companies that choose to back away from certain types of programs,” he said.

Curtailing investments into small molecule development would disproportionately affect patients with cancer and neurological conditions, Guarav pointed out. It’s worth noting that the panel was held prior to the introduction of H.R. 7174, the Ensuring Pathways to Innovative Cures (EPIC) Act, bipartisan legislation that would rectify the small molecule penalty.

Axelsen raised concerns over the Biden administration’s proposal to use “march-in” rights to forcibly relicense patents arising from federally funded research. To Axelsen, exercising march-in on the basis of price is a “dangerous precedent” that could keep life-saving cures from reaching patients.

It was exciting to bring Washington to San Francisco this year. Industry leaders continue to turn a keener eye towards policy. The atmosphere in the room was full of optimism about science. It’s imperative that policy doesn’t stand in the way of transformational innovation.


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