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New biophotonics event set for Boston

11 Apr 2014

September’s Strategies in Biophotonics conference to focus on commercialization of photonics-based biomedical technologies.

David Walt, co-founder of pioneering gene sequencing company Illumina, will be among several high-profile keynote speakers at a new conference dedicated to the commercialization of biophotonics technologies.

Scheduled for early September in Boston, “Strategies in Biophotonics” is organized by BioOptics World publisher Pennwell, the same company that devised the successful series of Strategies in Light events dedicated to developments in solid-state lighting.

“This new conference with exhibition brings together an outstanding group of speakers who have been deeply involved in the development and commercialization of biomedical technologies and products based on optics and photonics,” says Pennwell.

Aside from Walt, the keynote speakers lined up for the inaugural event include Ellen Strahlman, an MD and senior VP and chief medical officer at BD Biosciences, Gregory Altshuler from the medical laser firm Palomar Medical and Robert Langer, a professor at the nearby Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Patents on technologies devised by the Langer laboratory have now been licensed by more than 250 pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology, and medical device companies.

Walt, whose company has recently become the first to set the bar for reading a genome at $1000, will give a talk entitled “lessons learned from taking discoveries from the academic lab through commercialization”. Illumina kit uses fluorescent tagging to read the unique sequence of A, C, G and T bases in an individual's DNA.

Barbara Goode, who is co-chairing the conference, said: “We are very excited to have such prominent speakers from across a variety of medical and technology fields, and from academia, business, finance, and government. I think attendees will find very valuable resources and knowledge here, as we bring together a truly unique and diverse group of people who are all involved in the development and commercialization of biophotonics-based products that are revolutionizing the life sciences.”

Panels focus on MDs and investors
Among the other speakers confirmed for the event are the well-known academic Robert Alfano, the director of the Institute of Ultrafast Spectroscopy & Lasers at the City College of the City of New York, and Anita Goel, the CEO of Nanobiosym and winner of the Nokia XChallenge. Goel will speak on the hot topic of personalized medicine.

Robert Nordstrom, program director of the Cancer Imaging Program at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), will present on translating biophotonics ideas into commercial utility, while Joseph Schmitt from the optical coherence tomography (OCT) system vendor St. Jude Medical will talk about commercializing diagnostic technologies.

In addition to the regular talks, two panel sessions will feature. One, led by Fabian D'Souza from Boston Strategic Partners, will focus on meeting the needs of medical practitioners with optics and photonics technologies.

The second will see LightWave Advisors president and seasoned photonics investor John Dexheimer lead a discussion on funding and acquisition strategies in the biophotonics sector.

At the recent SPIE Photonics West conference, Dexheimer gave a talk on “The Science of Financing Start-ups”, in which he encouraged early-stage companies to focus on gaining credibility with a handful of early customers – citing Illumina as a highly successful example to follow.

The Strategies in Biophotonics Conference and Exhibition will be held at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel September 9-11, 2014.

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