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JAWDROP Life Sciences ’24: How to do resilience

The White City Innovation District played host to the Jawdrop Summit for the life sciences earlier this month.

Three panels focussed on resilience as it applies to industry, ageing, pandemics and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

A packed auditorium heard from those leading the charge in their fields, from academia, industry, government and venture capital. 

Watch all three panel sessions and the two keynotes here.

10 jawdropping moments

1. Cooperation creates resilience: For a municipality, resilience spans a host of issues. Stephen Cowan of H&F said “there’s a common thread, which is if you create a sense of cooperation, and you create a sense of people being open and willing to understand others, then you’re more resilient”. 

2. WCID is wicked! (1): Imperial grad and Shadow Minister for Science, Research & Innovation Chi Onwurah MP was glad to be back “to see the success of the White City Innovation District”. She attributed it to factors including H&F’s industrial strategy and collaboration in the ecosystem.

3. WCID is wicked (2): Confirming Chi’s remarks, Duleek Ranatunga from Pear Bio said that in the ecosystem, founders share information on investors and help with introductions too. 

4. Tough crowd: Leigh Brody from Albion VC made the point that no one goes into science because it’s easy. “Everyone sitting in this room, and who are in this ecosystem are just extremely resilient”. 

Jawdrop Life Sciences Summit 2024 – Summary video

5. On the right track: Steve Bates of the BioIndustry Association spoke about the structures in the UK that allow the Life Sciences to take risks and be resilient. “If you’re going to race a racing car around a track, you want it on a track, you want stewards, you’re going to take risks within within a series of parameters”.

6. Small is mighty: The small size of many UK life science companies means they are able to fail fast, able to pivot and to iterate. This is particularly if there is a world class innovation and research ecosystem to support them, commented Emilie Syed of Parkwalk Advisors. 

7. Older but no wiser: We still don’t understand ageing at the biomolecular level, George Frodsham of MediSieve pointed out. This is due to the lack of data. The good news? Scientific advancements associated with healthy ageing are expected to grow significantly.

8. Time to hit the gym: The health services have a smaller impact on lives (around 20%). Jobs, the environment, food and lifestyle choices matter far more, advises H&F Public Health Director Nicola Lang.

9. Reductions and variations: Even when MRSA levels dropped across the UK, variations between areas persisted. Russ Hope of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said that is why the next National Action Plan for AMR will involve more modelling around this.

10. Topic for next Jawdrop?: Philip Cruz of Moderna reminded the audience of the global impact of AMR. Plans to reduce the use of antibiotics across different countries have to be monitored.

The event closed with a packed networking reception at Gateway West. It was a chance for the attendees to chew the fat over champagne, canapes, 7 flavours of ice-cream, popcorn and a silhouette cutter! 

conference programme

Keynotes: Chi Onwurah MP – Labour Shadow Science Minister; Cllr Stephen Cowan (Leader, LB of Hammersmith & Fulham)

PANEL 1- A call to action: Creating a Resilient UK Life Sciences

  • Emilie Syed (Investment Manager, Parkwalk)
  • Leigh Brody PhD (Investment Manager, Albion VC)
  • Duleek Rantanuga (CEO, Pear Bio)
  • Steve Bates OBE (CEO, BioIndustry Association)
  • Cllr. Stephen Cowan (Leader, LB of Hammersmith & Fulham)
  • Professor Geoff Baldwin (Imperial College London, Dept. of Life Sciences)

PANEL 2 – How the White City life science cluster is making old age better

  • Professor Payam Barnaghi (Imperial College London, UK Dementia Research Institute)
  • Dhivya Venkat (CEO, Esya Labs)
  • Dr George Frodsham (CEO, MediSieve)
  • Dr Nicola Lang (Director of Public Health, H&F Council)
  • Inga Deakin (Principal, Molten Ventures)
  • Chris Ward (Innovation Lead, UKRI – Healthy Ageing Challenge)

PANEL 3 – The next pandemic and how to arm ourselves against AMR

  • Professor Neil Ferguson (CHAIR) (Director of School of Public Health, Imperial College London)
  • Dr Suki Balendra (Director of Strategic Partnerships, Paddington Life Sciences)
  • Michele Wisniewski (Sr. Director of NGS Assay Development at DNA Electronics)
  • Dr Philip Cruz (Country Medical Director at Moderna UK)
  • Dr Nina Zhu (Research Lead, NIHR)
  • Dr Russell Hope (Deputy Director AMR Division, UKHSA)