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HBA Seattle Event Recap: Transforming Healthcare and Drug Discovery with AI

HBA Seattle AI event speakers

HBA Seattle hosted a remarkable event on 20 May exploring the topic of transforming Healthcare and Drug Discovery with AI, that was sponsored by Adaptive Biotechnologies and Omeros.
The event included a keynote talk by Shweta Maniar, Global Director, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Google Cloud, followed by a panel discussion with Shweta, Kate Ostbye, Director for Enterprise Data Science and Machine Learning Pfizer, and Jeremy Forman, VP of R&D AI, Data, & Analytics, Pfizer.

The keynote talk on "Digital Transformation for HC/LS" set the stage for an engaging panel discussion that tackled thought-provoking topics such as:

  • Where does the state of Gen AI for drug development, and HCLS overall, sit on the Gartner hype cycle, in terms of adoption, maturity of enterprise best practices, etc...
  • The challenges of striking the right balance between safe and reliable technology adoption vs. rapid innovation and agile implementations.
  • Career guidance for executives seeking to navigate the continuously evolving Gen AI for life sciences and biotech space.

Key takeaways from the presentation and subsequent discussions are:

  • AI is revolutionizing clinical research, but rich and large enough data sets remain the main bottleneck to unlocking AI's full potential in this space. Increased collaboration and data sharing will be critical to sustain progress over the long term.
  • Incremental innovation is key: Start with small, with low hanging fruit efforts, learn fast, and then steadily scale and build towards fully transformational projects such as personalized medicine for all.
  • Budget cycles need a refresh: Annual cycles and downstream program management decisions aren't aligned with the pace at which AI technology is advancing or AI and ML projects are typically executed. Shorter and more flexible budgeting and planning cycles are needed in order to execute efficiently when it comes to AI adoption.
  • Project management is evolving in clinical research and drug development, and more and more teams are embracing agile/scrum style approaches. However, adopting tech style agile development cycles should be done naively. One cannot "fail fast and break things' when it comes to human lives and well being, and any innovations to project management must remain first and foremost patient centric.

A huge thanks to our sponsors, speakers, and attendees for making this event a success! Thank you Imen Elloumi-Hannachi, Tracy Arakaki, Jessie Anderson, Shweta Maniar, Jeremy Forman, Kate Ostbye, Bineeta Boney, Jenn Chin, Jennifer Griffith, Ingrid Durenberger, Melinda Davis, Lisabeth Sarin, Christa Poel, Kristine Antonsen, Kirsten Duncan, Priya Maghrajani, Ketki P, Sandra Merrick, Jennifer McAllister, Michelle Briscoe, Sara Church, Adaptive Bio, Omeros, Google, Pfizer