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Rare Disease Research Symposium 2019

Click for Calls for AbstractsClick for Agenda from 2018 Symposium

With more than 7,000 rare diseases identified, next generation treatments are required to meet the needs of diverse patients.

Across our region, researchers and providers are developing precision approaches to diagnostics and treatment for rare conditions. National and international collaborations are leveraging data science to repurpose exiting drugs, new delivery mechanisms, and emerging technologies.

Draft Agenda:

  • Research aimed at uncovering new mechanisms for rare disease treatment and improving the efficacy of existing approaches.

  • Strategies for bringing a profitable repurposed rare disease drug to the market.

  • Regulatory considerations needed in preclinical studies, generating validated data for INDs promoting clinical trial acceptance.

  • Orphan drug sales and marketing strategies to reach doctors and patients, reach internationally, etc.

  • Intellectual property strategies to protect revenue surrounding an expiring patent.

  • How we can build trust between investors and researchers to accelerate innovation through increased startup activity.

We are accepting Abstracts for Rare Disease Research Symposium 2019! Please send a note to info@westchesterbiotechproject.org with your short (100-word) concept. Share your research and its potential impact, with a focus on discussing current collaborative endeavors.


Coordination of International Research on Rare Diseases

David A Pearce, Ph.D., President of Innovation and Research, Sanford Health
Vice Chair, Consortium Assembly, International Rare Disease Research Consortium (IRDiRC)

Dr. Pearce’s rare disease background emanates from publishing over 100 research papers on Batten disease.

In his role as President of Innovation and Research at Sanford he is responsible for overseeing the development of research programs across Sanford’s nine-state footprint, including more than 450 researchers, eight research centers and more than 300 ongoing clinical trials. This includes a national registry for rare diseases, Coordination of Rare Diseases at Sanford (CoRDS).



Antonio Molina-Pachon, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, GenCo Pharma

Dr. Molina-Pachon is an entrepreneur developing solutions for rare diseases and cancer. He is collaborating with the Westchester Biotech Project and international partners to develop a regional hub for researchers who are addressing the most complex, and promising, discoveries.

Since 1997 he has held many executive positions, including Director of Discovery, Director of Business Development, CSO, and CEO positions. He has been the founder of 6 companies, all of which are still running today. 

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Joanne Gere, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Westchester Biotech Project

Coming from a number of years working on programs for discovery scientists and entrepreneurs, Ms. Gere co-founded the Westchester Biotech Project to stimulate transformative resources for researchers, engineers, and data scientists. By providing a flexible and enjoyable platform for collaborations and partnerships, the WBP listens for emerging challenges and opportunities affecting preclinical, translational, and clinical professionals. Planning is in the works for 2019 activities, including a dynamic asset mapping initiative, the Rare Disease Research Hub, and our newest Roundtable: Translating Data Science.


Visit our YouTube Channel for recordings from our
Rare Disease Research Symposium 2018.

October 30, 2018 - Dr. Bruce Bloom of Cures Within Reach
Repurposing Drugs Through Computational Biology

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Rare Disease Research Symposium 2018
July 18
, 2018 at Iona College • Click for More Detail

In the News:

Rare Disease "Hub" Draws Support from Drug Developers (Genetic Engineering News)
Westchester Biotech Project Aims to Become Rare Disease "Hub" (ClinicalOMICs)
- July 18 Symposium At Iona College Brings Together Global Thought Leaders to Discuss Medical Possibilities, Potential Breakthroughs (White Plains Patch)


Antonio Molina-Pachon, Ph.D., Founder and CEO
GenCo Pharma
David Zuckerman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology 
Iona College

2018 Speakers:

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