April and the BioITWorld Expo in Boston saw the second running of the Pistoia Alliance Conference, and we once again overfilled the facility at Thomson Reuters, who generously offered to host our meeting for a second year. We held two gatherings this year—the conference itself, which was attended by 90 participants from 60 different organizations, and an evening reception at Anthony’s Pier 4 overlooking the Boston Harbor, at which we had over 50 guests from more than 40 different organizations. As in 2011, we had waitlists this year for both events, and it’s thrilling to see such sustained interest in our activities.
We’ve posted the presentations from the meeting, but here’s a recap of the conference if you missed it or simply want a refresher.
- We showcased six proposed new portfolio projects in a session modeled on the Dragons’ Den television program. Project champions were given 15 minutes to “sell” the project to the audience in a brief pitch followed by Q&A. The audience was then divided into small groups of “dragons” and each speaker visited their “dens” to be grilled more extensively on their pitch in a time-limited “speed dating” session. A future blog entry will detail the outcomes of this dynamic session.
- Simon Thornber provided an overview in the morning of the Sequence Services project, which has completed Phase 2. In the afternoon, Hewlett-Packard/ Functional Genomics Center Zurich, Constellation/Genestack, and Eagle/Cycle provided an overview of their implementations and then moved to breakout rooms to offer demonstrations to attendees.
- The winner of the Sequence Squeeze Competition was announced. James Bonfield, whose algorithm was discussed in detail here, received the $15,000 prize.
As well, I’d like to thank Ramesh Durvasula, Pistoia Alliance board member, for delivering a presentation about the Pistoia Alliance during the BioITWorld Expo. You can access Ramesh’s presentation here:
The feedback from the conference has been quite positive so far, with one attendee writing, “This was my first conference and it was a superb experience. Wish there was a Pistoia Alliance for other areas of drug development.” We’re glad to see such interest in our events, and we’re in the process of planning more, so stay tuned.