Cambridge Healthtech’s 10th Annual

Companion Diagnostics: Strategy and Partnerships

Winning Strategies for Drug-Diagnostics Co-Development

August 20-21, 2019


The co-development of drugs and diagnostics, i.e. companion diagnostics development, is delivering significant patient benefits, healthcare cost savings, and revenue opportunities. Historically, it carries out most technological advances both as IVD products and as laboratory developed tests with gene panels and whole exome sequencing playing a role of companion tests. The space of companion diagnostics is highly sensitive to the regulatory and reimbursement fluctuations, and it requires specific market access strategies. Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s Tenth Annual Companion Diagnostics: Strategy and Partnerships conference is designed to facilitate knowledge and opinion exchange between pharmaceutical and diagnostics executives, translational scientists, clinicians, business experts, regulators, international companion diagnostics leaders, and other parties involved in drug-diagnostics co-development and precision medicine. Case studies of successful collaboration between pharmaceutical and diagnostics companies’ researchers and executives will be presented.

Final Agenda

Recommended Short Course*

SC2: Discover How Machine Learning Can Complement Diagnoses through Medical Imagery

Helen Lam, Software Developer, Developer Advocate, IBM Watson

Nicholas Bourdakos, Software Developer, IBM Watson

In this hands-on session, learn how to train your own custom classifier using medical images to help augment your diagnoses. We will first cover the overview of available technologies for medical imagery in diagnosis, then will show examples by utilizing Watson Machine Learning and Tensorflow, an open source software library for high performance numerical computation to create a custom model.

SC8: Tumor Mutation Burden: Unloading the Latest Challenges and Developments

Susan J. Hsiao, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Pathology and Cell Biology, Columbia University Medical Center

Larissa V. Furtado, MD, Medical Director, Molecular Oncology, ARUP Laboratories; Associate Professor of Pathology, University of Utah School of Medicine

Ahmet Zehir, PhD, Director, Clinical Bioinformatics, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

In this short course, we will review the current state of the field for tumor mutational burden (TMB), a biomarker predictive of response to immunotherapy agents. This course will cover concepts including the clinical utility of measuring TMB, technical considerations and challenges in validating and measuring TMB in a clinical laboratory, issues surrounding clinical TMB interpretation, and future directions and applications of TMB testing.

*Separate registration required.


7:30 am Registration and Morning Coffee


8:30 Chairperson’s Opening Remarks

Jonathan Beer, MBA, Director of Disruptive Technologies, Oncology Precision Medicine, Novartis

8:40 Companion Diagnostics in the Era of Consolidation and Globalization: Multiplexed Biomarkers Across Therapeutic Areas and Around the Globe

Omar Perez, PhD, RAC, Head of Precision Medicine and Diagnostics, R&D, GSK

Although biopharmaceutical pipeline products increasingly incorporate companion diagnostics into their clinical development efforts, commercial launch plans often do not adequately address the diagnostic component. Early planning and collaboration between biopharma and diagnostic companies can better support an optimal launch.

9:10 Companion and Complementary Diagnostics: Regulatory Challenges and Opportunities

Gallagher_PamelaPamela Gallagher, PhD, Scientific Reviewer, FDA

Companion diagnostics are essential for the safe and effective use of therapeutic products and promise to deliver a clearer understanding of disease development at the individual patient level. The companion diagnostics industry is rapidly progressing along with rapid advances in technology and healthcare demands leading to unique regulatory complexities. The strategies for successful codevelopment (for companion and complementary diagnostic devices) will be reviewed and the FDA regulatory review process for some approved companion diagnostic devices will be discussed.

9:40 Liquid Biopsies Enabling Precision Medicine

Beer_JonathanJonathan Beer, MBA, Director, Disruptive Technologies, Oncology Precision Medicine, Novartis

Blood-based detection of tumor-associated variants is advantageous in the era of Precision Medicine due to the non-invasive nature of sample collection and has demonstrated effectiveness as a Companion Diagnostic assay in lung cancer. However, this sample type still has challenges to overcome before ctDNA assays reach their full potential.

10:10 Coffee Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing


10:55 Chairperson’s Remarks

John Lubniewski, President, CEO, HTG Molecular Diagnostics

11:00 Going Global – Setting Up a European Subsidiary

Lubniewski_JohnJohn Lubniewski, President, CEO, HTG Molecular Diagnostics

The speaker will provide a high level and lighthearted walk through the thinking behind (and the process and actual work of) setting up your first European entity. In HTG’s case, we evaluated setting up in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany or France. We chose France. Buckle up.

11:30 Integrating China in Global Clinical Trials with a Companion Diagnostic: Challenges and Opportunities

Mata_Marielena_(Maty)Marielena Mata, PhD, Director and Diagnostic Lead, Oncology Programs, Pfizer

The health challenges of China offer big opportunities for multinational pharma companies. Cases of chronic diseases are on the rise in the region, as are lung, gastric and liver cancers. China alone is likely to be the world’s third-largest pharmaceutical market with sales of more than $50 billion. While the unmet need for oncology drugs in the China market represents a large opportunity, conducting the clinical trials needed for registration presents a number of challenges. Changing regulations, restrictions for the exportation of samples, IP requirements and availability of CROs represent a few of the obstacles that need to be overcome to successfully conduct global registration studies in China. In this talk, we will discuss in more depth these challenges and potential solutions.

12:00 pm Presentation to be Announced

12:30 Luncheon Presentation (Sponsorship Opportunity Available) or Enjoy Lunch on Your Own

1:00 Cookie & Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

new technologies and applications

1:30 Chairperson’s Remarks

John Sninsky, PhD, Consultant, Translational Sciences

1:35 Evolving Trends in Respiratory Infections Diagnostics and the Impact in Drug Development

Villacian_JorgeJorge Villacian, MD, Medical, Digital and Technical Solutions Leader, Janssen Pharmaceutica

Accurate and reliable diagnostics are important in assessing the etiology of acuter respiratory infections. This has great impact in drug development for viral respiratory diseases. New trends in diagnostic development include home testing. The interaction of these elements will be discussed in the presentation.

1:55 ctDNA Utility and Challenges

Barrett_CarlJ. Carl Barrett, MD, Vice President, Oncology Translational Sciences, AstraZeneca

Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) is becoming increasingly used in clinical practice and clinical/translational research. Examples of this utility will be given for patient selection, monitoring disease response and elucidating mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapies. Despite the common use in many commercial and academic labs , issues remain with sensitivity and specificity of some assays and this will be discussed in this and other talks from our laboratories.

2:10 PANEL DISCUSSION: Precision Medicine Beyond Oncology

Moderator: John Sninsky, PhD, Consultant, Translational Sciences

Panelists: Speakers of the Session

Flora Berisha, Director, Companion Diagnostics, Translational Sciences, Global Oncology R&D, Daiichi-Sankyo, Inc.

Scott Patterson, PhD, Vice President, Biomarker Sciences, Gilead Sciences, Inc.

It’s been 20 years! Why so little success for a great idea (right drug, right patient, right time)? What are we doing wrong? Are health care providers outside of Oncology actually ready to implement Personalized Medicine? Where is the value for Co-Dx outside of oncology? Prediction of R? Prediction of NR? Prognosis? How good would a Co-Dx need to be to change care paradigms from requiring patients to fail “cheaper” drugs first? Is there a robust value proposition?

2:35 Presentation to be Announced


3:05 Presentation to be Announced

3:35 Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing


4:25 Chairperson’s Remarks

Carolyn Hiller, Program Director, Clinical Diagnostics Initiative, Medical Device Innovation Consortium (MDIC)

4:30 Precision Medicine: Innovation Focused on Patients

Madison_HisaniHisani Madison, PhD, MPH, Associate Director, Diagnostics Expert, Oncology, AstraZeneca

With the steady decrease in costs for genome/targeted sequencing and the rapid adoption of next generation sequencing (NGS) within clinical laboratories, we find ourselves in the midst of a revolution in precision medicine. With rapid uptake comes room for innovation, but also highlights a need to keep patients as the central focus. Ensuring that patients receive the best and most effective treatment for their respective diseases is the goal of precision medicine. This presentation will explore the innovative ways in which AstraZeneca is approaching precision medicine in a patient-centric manner and highlight the strategic implementation of diagnostics in clinical development.

4:50 Panel Discussion: Somatic Reference Samples for NGS Dx

Moderator: Carolyn Hiller, Program Director, Clinical Diagnostics Initiative, Medical Device Innovation Consortium (MDIC)


Barbara Zehnbauer, MD, Editor in Chief, ASIP/Journal of Molecular Diagnostics

Timothy K. McDaniel, PhD, Senior Vice President of Emerging Opportunities, TGen

J.D. Alvarez, MD, PhD, Vice President, Oncology Diagnostics, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies

Zivana Tezak, PhD, Associate Director for Science and Technology, Personalized Medicine Staff, Office of in vitro Diagnostic Device (IVD) Evaluation and Safety (OIR), Center for Devices and Radiological Health, FDA

Clinical oncology is being transformed by the use of next-generation sequencing (NGS) based diagnostics. NGS lays out a promise for personalized medicine in other therapeutic areas. However, lack of agreed upon, well-characterized and community-validated reference samples and data benchmarks creates a potential challenge for the efficient development of these critical tests and for understanding their results. The ultimate goal of this effort is to develop properly consented, widely shareable reference samples that can be made available to the public and scalably produced in order to enable efficient development and improve the accuracy, reliability and transparency of NGS-based oncology tests.

5:30 Presentation to be Announced

6:00 Wine & Cheese Pairing Welcome Reception in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

7:00 Close of Day


7:15 am Registration

7:30 Problem Solving Breakout Discussions with Continental Breakfast


8:25 Chairperson’s Remarks

Daryl Pritchard, PhD, Senior Vice President, Science Policy, Personalized Medicine Coalition

8:30 Influence of Genomic Tests on Decision Pathways for Reimbursement Practices for Oncological Therapeutics

Jiwanmall_EugeanEugean Jiwanmall, MPH, MBA, Senior Research Analyst, Technology Evaluation & Medical Policy, Claim Payment Policy Department, Facilitated Health Networks, Independence Blue Cross

Achievement of optimal clinical care must be driven by multiple objective factors. Understanding and establishing the confidence in these contributing factors are essential due to their impacts on any proposed net improvement in relevant health outcomes. Development, advancement, integration, and routine clinical usage of options in oncological therapeutics are closely tied to availability, reliability, and acceptance of certain aspects of genomics. We will explore the impact of different facets of genetic testing on multiple phases of oncological therapeutics, and payment considerations based on these relationships.

8:45 Humana’s Perspective on Personalized Medicine

Kristine Bordenave, MD, FACP, Corporate Medical Director, NMCARE, Healthcare Services, Humana

9:00 PANEL DISCUSSION: Funding Common Ground with Payers and Policy Makers to Advance Personalized Medicine in Oncology and Beyond

While emerging personalized medicine technologies and platforms have the potential to make drug development more economical and make health systems more efficient by targeting treatments to only those who will benefit, they are also challenging reimbursement systems accustomed to one-size-fits-all medicine. Indeed, personalized medicine has led payers to think differently about coverage and reimbursement of high-value diagnostics and novel cell-based and genetic therapies that have the potential to cure diseases with one or only a few treatments. The approval of tissue-agnostic drugs such as Keytruda and Vitrakvi, for example, will force payers to figure out policies for pan-cancer indications and associated genetic testing, while the approval of cellular-based CAR-T therapies and gene therapies such as Luxturna, Kymriah, and Yescarta are challenging the traditional way that high-cost therapeutics can be reimbursed.


Pritchard_DarylDaryl Pritchard, PhD, Senior Vice President, Science Policy, Personalized Medicine Coalition


Kristine Bordenave, MD, FACP, Corporate Medical Director, NMCARE, Healthcare Services, Humana

Dumanois_RobertRobert Dumanois, Manager, Reimbursement Strategy, Thermo Fisher Scientific

Jiwanmall_EugeanEugean Jiwanmall, MPH, MBA, Senior Research Analyst, Technology Evaluation & Medical Policy, Claim Payment Policy Department, Facilitated Health Networks, Independence Blue Cross

Szarama_KatherineKatherine B. Szarama, PhD, Presidential Management Fellow, CMS

Topics to be Discussed:

  • What are the key reimbursement challenges for advanced diagnostic tests?
  • What strategies are emerging for the coverage and reimbursement of cell-based and genetic therapies?
  • What evidence is necessary to demonstrate the value of personalized medicine technologies to payers and providers?

How can practice-based evidence be developed in an environment of limited reimbursement and reduced access?

10:00 Global Commercial and Partnership Considerations for Companion Diagnostics

Joseph Ferrara, President & CEO, Boston Healthcare Inc.

Key commercialization considerations for drug and test innovators, including balancing test access and quality, and embedding CDx global commercial considerations in pharma and diagnostic company partnerships will be highlighted.

10:30 Coffee Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

11:30 Plenary Keynote Session

11:30 Chairperson’s Remarks

Charles Mathews, Principal, ClearView Healthcare Partners






11:40 Plenary Keynote Presentation: FDA Updates: Now and Looking to the Future

Tim Stenzel, MD, PhD, Director, Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Introduction and background of the new Office Director of OIR and updates on precision medicine and other initiatives at the FDA.

12:10-1:05 pm Plenary Keynote Discussion: Proposals and Solutions for Diagnostic Reform Including Oversight of Laboratory Developed Tests (LDTs)

Cynthia A. Bens, Senior Vice President, Public Policy, Personalized Medicine Coalition





  • How are stakeholders influencing congressional activity on the Verifying Accurate Leading-edge IVCT Development (VALID) Act?
  • How will the VALID Act change the current oversight landscape for diagnostics, including LDTs?
  • How are policymakers addressing the role of CMS and CLIA in the VALID Act?
  • How will increased regulatory and oversight activities at the FDA affect the diagnostics industry?
  • What impact will changes in diagnostics regulation and oversight have on patient care?


Julie Khani, MPA, President, American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA)






Donald E. Horton, Jr., Senior Vice President, Global Government Relations & Public Policy, Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings






Susan Van Meter, Executive Director, AdvaMedDx






1:05 pm Luncheon Presentation (Sponsorship Opportunity Available) or Enjoy Lunch on Your Own

1:35 End of Companion Diagnostics: Strategy & Partnerships