Insights and Innovations From the 2018 World Vaccine Congress
For the past 18 years, the World Vaccine Congress has played a prominent role in educating biotech industry leaders on the latest research, innovations, and advocacy in vaccine development. This year’s World Vaccine Congress took place April 2 – 5 in Washington D.C., with 1000+ attendees, 250+ speakers, and 60+ exhibitors. According to a conference organizer, this year’s congress was both the largest and most successful event to date, with a ~25% increase in overall attendance.
To address the wide range of vaccine topics and specializations, the World Vaccine Congress structures the conference into targeted workshops focusing on Cancer Immunotherapy, Immune Profiling, Influenza Vaccines, Emerging Diseases, Clinical Trials, Veterinary Vaccines, and Vaccine Safety. This offers a unique experience for attendees because they can seek personalized content, partnership opportunities, and gain access to industry leaders that are shaping the future of vaccine development in their specific area of study.
I had the privilege of joining these 1000+ industry professionals to hear the latest research and developments in vaccines and subsequently how these exciting innovations are going to market. In the following conference recap, I share several insights on what I see as the next big innovations shaping the future of vaccine treatment.
2018 World Vaccine Congress Trending Topics
I attended a fascinating panel discussion on “Responding to the Next Emerging Disease Globally”, led by an extraordinary panel of industry leaders, where much of the conversation centered on the role and mission of CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation). CEPI leaders believe that research efforts should be ‘forward thinking’ and try to anticipate the next disease. By moving from a reactive approach to a proactive approach in vaccine development, they believe that we, as a society, will be better able to respond to the next emerging epidemic.
Cancer vaccines and immunotherapy were another popular topic at the Congress. Industry leaders detailed the latest research and development in new methods for harnessing the immune system to destroy malignant cancer cells. For many of the speakers and attendees, this topic resonated both at a professional and personal level. The research presented left me with the firm hope that we will inevitably prevail in the war against cancer, and I can only presume my fellow conference-goers felt the same way.
5 Top Innovations
One of my favorite activities at any conference is to visit exhibitors, both the well-known brands as well as the early-stage companies, and ask about the latest happenings at their organization.
Here is a brief summary of the five innovations that really caught my attention and that I believe have a very compelling value proposition:
- GE Healthcare Lifesciences – For many companies in the vaccine development business, investing in facility infrastructure is done in early phases, typically prior to FDA approval. To mitigate the financial exposure and risk, GE Healthcare is offering a product called KUBio, which minimizes cost and set-up time, allowing customers to be able to manufacture within 18 months.
- Valneva – Valneva has developed a multivalent, protein subunit-based vaccine candidate against Lyme disease. In 2017, Valneva received FDA Fast Track Designation for its Lyme Disease vaccine candidate.
- Pantec – Pantec jointly with tesa Labtec GmbH, has developed a laser-assisted epidermal vaccine delivery system, which improves the overall efficacy of delivery.
- InVitria – InVitria announced a new product called OptiVERO, a chemically defined, blood- and plant hydrolysate-free cell culture media for vaccine manufacturing. This new media outperforms popular VERO media by enabling robust VERO cell expansion and production of difficult-to-express virus types.
- Eppendorf – Germany-based Eppendorf and its researchers provide a novel portfolio of single-use vessels and bioreactors that facilitate quality and safety for vaccine process development and manufacturing.
Each year the World Vaccine Congress brings together the brightest minds in the industry and encourages them to share ideas and collaborate. Thinking back, I was so impressed by the depth of the discussions I was party to and I’m confident that the inspiration for future discovery was sparked over these last couple of days.
This conference is truly a boon to society and we all benefit from the hard work and thought that these researchers put into the future of vaccine development.
About the Author:
President at The Market Element
Chuck Miller, MBA, has 25+ years of experience in marketing, business development, and entrepreneurship. He has co-founded/owned 4 startup ventures, including his most recent startup that resulted in acquisition. Chuck is currently the President at The Market Element, a full-service digital marketing agency specializing in science and technology markets, with locations in Louisville, CO and Katy, TX. In August 2017, Chuck was profiled in C&EN’s Mad Men & Women of Science Marketing, as a premier contributor and a thought leader in science marketing.