Fireside Chats At Upcoming BIO International Convention


The first half of 2016 has already been a very busy year for the Food and Drug Administration as it finalized and published its new comprehensive set of tobacco deeming regulations, continued its implementation of a new food safety system in compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act, and released a new set of pain medication guidelines related to opioid addiction and abuse.

All of these developments have come under newly appointed FDA commissioner Robert Califf, M.D. His top priorities also include strengthening FDA’s workforce, improving medical product safety, and supporting the President’s National Cancer Moonshot Initiative and the Precision Medicine Initiative.

Dr. Califf will sit down for a one-on-one conversation with BioCentury’s Steve Usdin in the first of a series of Fireside Chats at the BIO International Convention in San Francisco on Tuesday, June 7. Other fireside chat participants include Pamela Gavin, CEO, National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD); Janet Napolitano, President, University of California; and Mark Alles, CEO, Celgene Corporation.

Pamela Gavin will be interviewed by Bob Repella, EVP, Global Commercial Operations at CSL Behring to kick off the Orphan & Rare Disease Track at the convention. Approximately 7,000 rare diseases affect about 30 million Americans. Pamela oversees programs and services that provide innovative solutions to address the needs of the rare disease community under the organization’s motto “Alone we are rare; together we are strong.”

Janet Napolitano will speak with James Greenwood, President and CEO, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) in an afternoon one-on-one session. Janet took office at UC in 2013, and has since launched a series of initiatives to reinforce the university’s mission for education and research. This includes the President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, and the Carbon Neutrality Initiative that focuses on climate research and sustainable energy.

The final Fireside Chat of the day will feature newly appointed Celgene CEO Mark Alles who hopes to continue its expansion and success in pharmaceuticals for cancer, immune and inflammatory diseases. Celgene’s mission focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialization of these products and on its continual research.

The BIO International Convention, to be held in San Francisco June 6 – 9, attracts more than 15,000 scientists, biotech leaders and entrepreneurs to provide insights and inspirations on major trends in the industry. Research!America will also host a panel discussion on immorbidity and personalized medicine at the convention on June 8 featuring Research!America board members Bill Hait, M.D., Ph.D., Global Head Janssen Research & Development, LLC and Keith Yamamoto, Ph.D, Vice Chancellor for Science Policy and Strategy; Vice Dean for Research, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco. For more information, visit

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You can change the image of things to come. But you can’t do it sitting on your hands … The science community should reach out to Congress and build bridges.
The Honorable John E. Porter