Here are the private sector folks that are helping shape Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative

Looks like Obama has appointed quite the A-team to help the Precision Medicine Initiative shapeshift into something with some actual… shape. The $215 million initiative was first discussed at a two-day workshop mid-February that helped flesh out the plan’s aims. This is step two. Outside of the expected team of academicians and policy experts, there’s a smattering of private sector […]

Looks like Obama has appointed quite the A-team to help the Precision Medicine Initiative shapeshift into something with some actual… shape. The $215 million initiative was first discussed at a two-day workshop mid-February that helped flesh out the plan’s aims. This is step two. Outside of the expected team of academicians and policy experts, there’s a smattering of private sector execs that have made the cut:

Tony Coles, CEO of Yumanity Therapeutics; Andrew Conrad, head of the life sciences team at Google X; Eric Dishman, general manager of the health and life sciences division of Intel; and Sue Siegel, CEO of GE Ventures and Healthymagination.

In January I spoke with Coles, who leads up a Cambridge biotech focused on protein misfolding and its link to neurodegenerative disease. He said that key in having businesses develop better therapies is to understand the basic biology of disease. An effort like the the Precision Medicine Initiative could, in fact, give those in the private sector more insight into where to aim their commercial products.

 

“We count on the government, and academia, to really help us understand the basic biology of disease – they’re far better suited to unlock the mysteries of the human body than industry,” he said. “Once they help us understand the basic biology of disease, we can very specifically target our resources, and use those insights to develop new therapies.”

Kind of amusing – back in January, Cole said that he “didn’t have any concerns” about the initiative, because, speaking of the NIH Director, “Francis does what he always does – he brings together the right group of stakeholders.” Right? Present company included. Cole continues:

“That will catalyze the opportunities for companies and privately funded research organizations to really add more resources,” he said. “I can see a lot of momentum building.”

He described an influx of new therapies coming from the Precision Medicine Initiative – and that it’ll take effort to “race these new patients to the new therapies as quickly as possible.”

Here’s the full list of appointees:

Co-Chairs:

  • Richard Lifton, M.D., Ph.D., Chair, Department of Genetics, Sterling Professor of Genetics and Professor of Medicine, Founder and Executive Director, Yale Center for Genomic Analysis, Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
  • Bray Patrick-Lake, M.F.S., Director of Stakeholder Engagement, Clinical Trial Transformation Initiative, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
  • Kathy Hudson, Ph.D., Deputy Director of Science, Outreach, and Policy, National Institutes of Health

Members:

  • Esteban Gonzalez Burchard, M.D., M.P.H., Harry Wm. and Diana V. Hind Distinguished Professor in Pharmaceutical Sciences Professor and Vice Chair, Departments of Bioengineering & Therapeutic Sciences and Medicine Director, Center for Genes, Environments & Health University of California, San Francisco
  • Tony Coles, M.D., M.P.H., Chairman and CEO, Yumanity Therapeutics, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Rory Collins, FMedSci, Professor of Medicine & Epidemiology, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, U.K.
  • Andrew Conrad, Ph.D., Head of Life Sciences Team, Google X, Mountain View, California
  • Josh Denny, M.D., Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Medicine, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Susan Desmond-Hellmann, M.D., M.P.H., CEO, Gates Foundation, Seattle
  • Eric Dishman, Intel Fellow & General Manager, Health & Life Sciences, Intel, Santa Clara, California
  • Kathy Giusti, M.B.A., Founder and Executive Chairman, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, Norwalk, Connecticut
  • Sekar Kathiresan, M.D., Director, Preventive Cardiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Institute Member, Broad Institute, Cambridge; Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston
  • Sachin Kheterpal, M.D., M.B.A., Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor
  • Shiriki Kumanyika, PhD, MPH, Emeritus Professor of Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
  • Spero M. Manson, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor and Director, Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado, Denver
  • P. Pearl O’Rourke, M.D., Director, Human Research Affairs, Partners Health Care System, Inc., Boston
  • Richard Platt, M.D., Professor and Chair of the Harvard Medical School Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Boston
  • Jay Shendure, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle
  • Sue Siegel, CEO, GE Ventures & Healthymagination, Menlo Park, CA