Boston, September 23 2020: The Pistoia Alliance, a global, not-for-profit alliance that works to lower barriers to innovation in life science and healthcare R&D, today announced it has opened registration for its annual October conference. Held virtually this year, the conference comprises keynote presentations from industry leaders at organisations including Novartis and Roche. This is in addition to virtual networking opportunities and panel discussions on key industry topics such as the research collaboration around COVID-19, including vaccine development and diagnostics, in silico drug development and digital placebos. Stakeholders in life sciences and healthcare from all over the world can now register for this free week-long event, starting on October 19, here.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Jay Bradner, President, Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research
  • Merdad Parsey, EVP and Chief Medical Officer, Gilead Sciences
  • Andrew Plump, President, Research & Development, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company
  • Thomas Hudson, SVP, R&D and Chief Scientific Officer, AbbVie
  • Bryn Roberts, SVP, Global Head of Operations for Pharma Research & Early Development, Roche


Since it was founded over a decade ago, The Pistoia Alliance has operated as a virtual organisation, with the tools and platforms in place to ensure geographical location does not hamper collaboration. This includes online idea sharing and communications platforms for members and a regular programme of webinars and online educational workshops. This October conference builds on the success of the previous week of virtual events in June, which featured topics such as virtual clinical trials and FAIR ontologies mapping.


“We strongly believe the focus of R&D innovation should be on science, not geography,” commented Dr. Steve Arlington, President of The Pistoia Alliance. “Brexit and increasing country-centric policies globally have accelerated our commitment to ensuring that our members from all over the world can collaborate and innovate across borders. Offering a virtual format for everything we do is becoming ever more important, not just because of COVID-19, as ideas can be more easily shared and are accessible for all. This is crucial as our members are working closely together to combat COVID-19 and mitigate its impacts, and we hope this conference will help them prepare for what could be another challenging year – as well as be inspired by workshops on many of the future innovations that will change our industry for the better.”


The conference will feature a range of workshops and roundtables essential to anyone with an interest in life sciences. Sessions include, “R&D Leader Roundtable: Collaboration in Practice – learnings from COVID,” “How Can Digitised Data Improve Patient Outcomes and Enable Drug Discovery?” and “Challenges of Clinical Trial Design in a Pandemic.” In line with The Pistoia Alliance’s strategy refresh, there will be a particular focus on healthcare, including sessions on patient centricity, digital placebos, and digitising health data. The final day of the conference week will be dedicated to the Alliance’s projects and will include news of significant developments for the following initiatives:


  • Centre of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML)
  • FAIR Implementation for Life Science Industry
  • Hierarchical Editing Language for Macromolecules (HELM)
  • Quality Generation and Ethical Use of Digital Health Data in Clinical Studies


“Due to COVID-19, virtual means of collaboration have become the new normal, so it’s great to see The Pistoia Alliance enabling key stakeholders to come together in this way,” commented Zahid Tharia, Conference and Events Lead at The Pistoia Alliance. “Working together has never been more important when it comes to R&D, making innovation and collaboration opportunities like this critical to finding treatments for COVID-19.”

The Pistoia Alliance invites anyone with an interest in life sciences or healthcare to come and get involved and register for the conference here.

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