Members of PDA’s Capital Area Chapter received a firsthand glimpse into the future of cell and gene therapies at a March 5 meeting in Rockville, Md.
American Gene Technologies' CEO Jeff Galvin presented an overview of what he called the “cell and gene therapy revolution” at his company’s headquarters following a networking reception. Based on the October PDA Letter cover story, “Can We Reprogram the Human Computer?”, he opened his presentation by comparing the disruptive nature of cell and gene therapies to the development of microcomputers and how companies like Microsoft and Apple eventually displaced stalwart enterprises.
Galvin explained that he started his company, American Gene Technologies, following a successful career in Silicon Valley. After retiring he learned about work being conducted by Dr. Roscoe Brady on viral vector technology at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. When he saw the potential of this technology, “my head exploded.”;
This spurred him to found American Gene Technologies, a company that has developed a gene delivery platform using Lentiviral vectors. Late last year, they submitted their first IND for an autologous therapy for HIV.
Galvin also gave an overview of the economics of cell and gene therapies. He cited data from Goldman Sachs suggesting the cell and gene industry is worth $4.5 trillion dollars—a estimate Galvin thinks is actually a low. Of that $4.5 million, he said that treatments for rare diseases are potentially $3.4 trillion alone, noting that with 7,000 rare diseases, it is estimated that one in ten people has a rare disease.
He ultimately envisions a future where cell and gene technologies result in cancer treatments that effectively cure the disease with one injection and the patient resumes a normal life.
Much like a computer, cell and gene therapies are an investment as it “makes you more than it costs you…it is going to be an investment in your future, not a cost.”
Prior to the talk, Chapter President Tita Tavares announced the results of the 2019 chapter election: Steve Langille (Secretary), Steve Rochelle (Treasurer) and Aicha Gebloui (Member-at-Large).
PDA Who's Who
- Jeff Galvin, CEO, American Gene Technologies
- Aicha Gebloui, AstraZeneca
- Steve Langille, Senior Microbiology Consultant, ValSource
- Steve Rochelle, President, Rochelle & Associate
- Tita Tavares, Regional Director, Azzur Group