Scientific and Engineering Challenges

David Agus, University of Southern California
Rob Armstrong, PureTech
Edward Benz, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Lewis Cantley, Weill Cornell Medical College
Michael Goldberg, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
H. Robert Horvitz, MIT
Manolis Kellis, MIT
Robert Langer, MIT
Parag Mallick, Stanford (Co-Chair)
Nick Marko, MD Anderson Cancer Center (Co-Chair)
Frank McCormick, UC San Francisco
Larry Norton, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Maya Said, Sanofi
Azita Sharif, Daedalus Software
Phil Sharp, MIT
Kailash Swarna, Millenium
Marty Tenenbaum, Cancer Commons
Tom Tombrello, Caltech
Doug Treco, Ra Pharma

Specific Questions to be Addressed

  • How can the megafund adapt to the coming era of precision oncology, where cancer is treated by custom cocktails and vaccines rather than blockbuster drugs?
  • Can we slash the time and cost of developing highly targeted agents for small numbers of patients to make the economics work?
  • How can we leverage existing data to identify the “right” projects and targets, while respecting privacy and intellectual property?
  • Are there enough projects to invest in? Is there a need to invest beyond cancer?
  • Should a megafund build/buy a platform to conduct translational research or delegate it to CROs?
  • Who are the “right” scientists and clinician-researchers and how do we attract them? Is the talent pool deep enough and if not, how should we address this need?
  • How can we mitigate the growing concerns over data reproducibility and reliability?