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Thomas A. Bock: A Recognized Life-Science Leader Developing a New Class of Oncology Medicines

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Recent advances in science and technology have resulted in a new era of more targeted therapies for many diseases. These advances have materialized for patients, resulting is some truly transformative treatments, thanks to the talent and dedication of the life sciences community.

Meet one such life-science leader who has developed and commercialized six lifesaving paradigm-changing blockbuster medicines in cancer, ultra-rare disorders, and inflammation, and who has built four entrepreneurial organizations that created a major impact for both patients and investors. – Thomas A. Bock, MD, MBA, and CEO at Notable.

Inspired by his work, we at Insights Success had a conversation with Thomas to know more about his journey and how Notable is transforming the way cancer is treated.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

Give us a brief overview of your position at the company, and your journey since inception.

I joined Notable as an Independent Board Director in 2020 and then started serving as the CEO in February 2021. At that time our company was known for our predictive technology platform developed to help physicians determine which cancer treatments are most effective for their individual patients.

Today, we are beginning to leverage Notable’s leadership in predictive technology to develop cancer treatments focused on individual patients who we know will respond to a specific treatment. My role is to drive our organization to a leading precision therapeutics company by creating a new class of precision medicines – predictive precision medicines.

Please describe the technology that makes your company standout from the competition.

Notable’s predictive technology combines machine learning, laboratory automation, and high throughput screening directly on patient blood samples to predict responses to therapies with a 92% accuracy. Over the past years, we created a unique and continuously growing library of optimized (out of millions of options) platform conditions and predictive data across approved and investigational cancer treatments. This enables us to focus on the most promising candidate medicines and develop them as predictive precision medicines solely in clinically responding patients. Patient by patient. Cancer by cancer.

What is your opinion on the advancements of businesses to improve their offerings with newer technological developments?

Notable represents the next generation of predictive precision medicines for patients with cancer, based on the emergence of new technology. Our platform can predict an individual’s clinical response to cancer treatment from a blood sample taken before beginning treatment with a 92% accuracy. I am proud of how our proprietary technology addresses the question that matters most to patients, yet previously could not be answered: “Doctor, will this treatment work for me?”

What is your thought on the necessity of a positive work culture? In what ways do you implement it at your organization?

Notable’s culture extends from its core mission of redefining treatment for people with cancer. For us, the patient matters most. This means that we not only pursue transformative medical impact but also, proceed responsibly and with the sense of urgency that patients deserve. Our team is spearheading therapeutic solutions at the interface of therapeutics, diagnostics, and engineering.

Scientists, engineers, and experts from many fields work together closely and also build off of the insights and ideas from each other. They work hand in hand, peer to peer in a unique and collaborative approach. Leading this patient focused and integrative culture is key to an innovative environment, and I believe it is because of this that we have been able to recruit and retain top talent across industries.

In what ways have you or your company contributed to the community? If given a chance, what change would you bring in creating a “community of healthy business”?

Today, most cancer treatments deliver only modest clinical response rates and fail for the majority of patients, exposing them to ineffective therapies and unnecessary side effects and toxicities. Notable’s mission of delivering predictive precision medicine that works for each cancer patient, and reducing unnecessary side effects, makes an important impact for the community. These types of advances will revolutionize treatment for people with cancer.

What is the best way to meet today’s/tomorrow’s challenges with your company’s exceptional products and services for urgent needs coming our way?

In order to create the stream of predictive medicines that patients can rely on with the urgency they deserve, it is critical that we continue to collaborate with industry partners and academia. Having developed and commercialized medicines for cancer and rare diseases for more than twenty years, I know that many medicines can deliver a huge medical impact but unfortunately only for a small subpopulation of the patients who receive them. We have created a platform that reproduces the human cancer cell microenvironment that can be used to test cancer therapies, patient by patient, with a 92% accuracy, before they receive treatment. Thanks to our platform and its prediction accuracy (as reported by Stanford University*), we can now engage with prospective partners to co-develop and license such transformative medicines solely focused on responding patients. Patients can be confident that their treatment will work for them, and our life sciences partners benefit from a faster development speed and a higher likelihood of success.

*Source: Michael A. Spinner, …, Peter L. Greenberg; Ex vivo drug screening defines novel drug sensitivity patterns for informing personalized therapy in myeloid neoplasms. Blood Adv 2020; 4 (12): 2768–2778.

As an established CEO, what would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs aspiring to venture into the industry?

Be able to pivot quickly to take advantage of emerging opportunities, expect bumps and detours along the way, and most importantly, stay true to your core values. When you develop products for patients, proceed with extra urgency and care.

How do you envision sustaining your company’s competency in a cutthroat and volatile world of Security? Where do you see yourself and the company in the next five years?

Part of our integrative culture is to be externally focused and equally seize opportunities and address challenges with the best possible approaches. Challenges make us stronger and will expedite our vision of delivering a stream of predictive precision medicine and redefining the standard of care, always ensuring the best possible outcomes for patients. Patient by patient. Disease by disease.



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Saudi Arabia’s Most admired Companies in 2022

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Insights Success is an archway that caters to Entrepreneurs’ quench of technology and business updates which are currently ruling the business world.
We are ceaselessly proving the best platform for leading companies, which aids indefinite progress while creating meaningful learning experiences for the visitors and invaluable brand awareness for the clients.



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Bank of England raises base interest rate to 1.75%

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The Bank of England has raised the base interest rate by half a percentage point to 1.75 per cent, the biggest rise since 1995, in an attempt to combat runaway inflation.

The nine-strong monetary policy committee voted eight to one in favour of a 50 basis point rise, defying some market expectations for an increase by 25 basis points.

It is the Bank’s sixth consecutive tightening in monetary policy and follows in the footsteps of the US Federal Reserve and European Central Bank, which have begun aggressively raising rates by larger increments.

Interest rates are now the highest since 2009 as the Bank attempts to bring down inflation, which is running at a 40-year high of 9.4 per cent and is on course to exceed 11 per cent later this year.

These would be the worst inflation rates in the G7, caused in large part by rising global energy prices driving household bills higher this year. The UK economy is also heading for a slowdown this year as consumer incomes are squeezed more tightly than since the 1950s.

Andrew Bailey, the Bank’s governor, has hinted that it will also announce how it intends to begin unwinding the £850 billion of government debt pumped into the economy since the financial crisis, offloading bonds worth between £50 billion and £100 billion from as early as next month.

The Bank will also deliver its quarterly outlook, with Bailey expected to forecast that inflation will rise beyond 11 per cent and remain in double digits into next year. The Bank’s target is 2 per cent.

Commenting on today’s Bank of England interest rate rise, David Bharier, Head of Research at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “This rise is the clearest signal yet of the Bank of England’s intention to get inflation under control. Spiralling prices are cited by businesses as by far and away the top concern right now.

“However, given the extremely precarious state of the economy, this decision is not without risk for businesses and consumers that are exposed to banking or overdraft facilities.

“There are many causes of the current inflation crisis – global supply chain problems, trade barriers, soaring energy costs, increased taxes, and labour market shortages. Interest rate rises alone will do little to address these.

“Worryingly, our research indicates strongly that most small businesses are not investing for growth, and that longer-term confidence is beginning to wane.





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Opinion: OSC appointment fuss is a tempest in a teapot

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Jeffrey MacIntosh: The government has the legislated right to have a say in the agency’s course

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Ed Waitzer’s recent op-ed (“The issue at the OSC is integrity, not debate,” July 14, 2022) expresses surprise and disappointment in my recent op-ed (“Conflict at the OSC: Why the regulator needs to make room for dissent,” July 7, 2022). In that op-ed, I argued that lawyer Heather Zordel’s appointment as non-executive chair of the OSC in March of this year should be met with open arms, as it introduces new points of view into what seems to be a rather intellectually closed shop. I don’t suppose it will come as a shock to Ed Waitzer or anyone else that I am surprised and disappointed at his rebuttal.

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To begin with, it contains a number of inaccuracies. It states that Ms. Zordel was denied reappointment to her earlier position (2019-2021) as part-time commissioner. In fact, given her busy legal practice, she took herself out of the running. This puts a rather different complexion on the matter.

And I never stated or implied that Ms. Zordel was not reappointed as part-time commissioner because of two dissenting opinions that she wrote as commissioner. My point was that for Ms. Zordel’s critics the dissents were a factor in opposing her appointment as chair of the board.

The nub of my argument was that the OSC could benefit from greater variety of viewpoints among its brass as to what investor protection and other aspects of the OSC’s mission entail. By contrast, Mr. Waitzer argues: “the importance of debate and dissent is not the point here.” I beg to differ. As I indicated, some prominent accounts of Ms. Zordel’s appointment have put a pejorative cast on her disagreements with her fellow commissioners. That puts the issue of debate and dissent front and centre.

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I certainly agree with Mr. Waitzer that the independence of administrative agencies is a cornerstone of our democracy. But does that mean that every administrative agency should be entirely divorced from any government oversight whatsoever — a little fiefdom unto itself and in no sense answerable to its political masters? Not a whit. It is the government that creates the agency, defines its mandate, gives it the powers that it needs to carry out that mandate and defines its organizational structure. And it is entirely within the purview of the government to enlist its legislative power to re-define that mandate, powers, and organizational structure if it chooses.

We don’t have to look into the distant past to find an example. On the advice of a non-partisan blue ribbon panel — the Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce (“CMMT”) — the Conservative government has recently substantially reorganized the OSC via the Securities Commission Act, 2021 (declared in force in April). That legislation splits the adjudicative function (the “Capital Markets Tribunal”) from the regulatory function. Moreover, where before the reorganization the OSC Chair and CEO were the same person, the two offices are now split. As expressed by the CMMT, “The Board of Directors, led by the Chair, (will) focus on the strategic oversight and corporate governance of the regulator,” while “The CEO (will) be responsible for the overall management of the organization and execution of the OSC’s mandate.” The directors, including the chair, are all government appointees.

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This new structure, recommended by a non-partisan committee, gives the government of the day the power to influence, at the highest level, the strategic direction of the OSC. But why should it not? If the government is dissatisfied with the strategic vision or regulatory philosophy of the regulator or the manner in which it is being implemented, it would be profoundly anti-democratic — and at odds with the rule of law — to forbid the government from seeking to alter the agency’s course.

Indeed, the Ontario Securities Act states “The Commission is an agent of the Crown in right of Ontario.” The key word here is “agent.” It is not “hegemony,” “fiefdom” or “satrapy.” At the end of the day, the OSC is a government creation performing regulatory functions ceded to it by the government.

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Do Ms. Zordel’s conservative connections compromise the independence of the institution of which she is now head? Absolutely not. In the making of such appointments, the twin issues of competence and integrity will take up a lot of shelf space. But why should the government not also consider, if it chooses, whether potential nominees share the government’s regulatory philosophy

The true worry about political interference is that the government might attempt to dictate or influence the result of particular cases. But the new legislation builds in the important protection of ceding no operational powers to the board of directors. Thus, aside from the government’s power to approve or decline proposed rule changes (a longstanding feature of securities regulation), its sole discretionary avenue of influence lies in its power to appoint directors and hence influence high-level strategic direction.

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What is left of the argument that there has been inappropriate political interference over the OSC? Only the assertion that Ms. Zordel and three other part-time commissioners were appointed without the government having consulted the OSC, as has customarily been done. Yes, it would have been better if the government had consulted the OSC. In all likelihood, however, the outcome would have been the same. The OSC might not like not having been consulted but at best this is a foible not a fiasco.

In the end, this tempest easily fits within a standard-issue teapot.

Financial Post

Jeffrey MacIntosh is a professor of law at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, and a director of the Canadian Securities Exchange.

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