Impact of the New Biology: from Genomics to Personalised Medicine

Darrin Disley


Life expectancy in most countries is increasing by one to five hours per day and this rate of change, especially in the developing world, will fundamentally change the lives of us all. We need to prepare ourselves for the higher costs for social services, labour, pension and healthcare costs that result from our ageing population.

The biggest issue of the next 50 years will be the affordability of healthcare. The current economics of producing medicines designed for treating diseases of ageing such as Alzheimer’s and Cancer is not scalable due to high development costs and low patient efficacy. Fortunately over the past two decades there a convergence of technology–hardware, wetware and software–that is allowing both the elucidation of the fundamental genetic basis of disease and also the implementation of a personalised approach to medicine. This approach combines early diagnosis, targeted molecular therapeutics and companion diagnostic tests to match the right drug(s) to the right patient as well as the recent arrival of gene and cell therapies capable of curing an individual patient’s disease.

In order for such treatment regimens to be implemented and reimbursed effectively and efficiently, patient data must be linked into this post-genomic medicine cabinet. This data will now include real-time health and wellness telemetry along with diagnostic tools that predict the onset, progression clinical outcomes of disease.

The meeting of the challenge requires development of technology platforms that can only be built via a holistic research and development approach that links computer, natural and physical scientists with chemical, electrical and mechanical engineers in an environment conducive to multidisciplinary interaction under the pressure of delivery to commercial, economic and societal timelines.

This talk will outline my vision of the future healthcare paradigm as the population ages and I will bring out the need to address this with multidisciplinary science, academic-industry partnership, open innovation models within an entrepreneurial ecosystem capable of exploiting the current favourable R&D, tax, regulatory and investment framework.

Speaker's Biography

Darrin is a scientist, entrepreneur, angel investor and enterprise champion who has raised $450 million business financing and closed $600 million in commercial deals.

He is currently CEO of Mogrify Ltd, a UK biotechnology company that has developed a revolutionary direct cell conversion technology that aims to transform the development of lifesaving cell therapies.

He is also Chairman of Celixir plc a regenerative medicine company founded by Nobel Prize winner Sir Martin Evans whose lead product is HeartCel which has just begun 250 person pivotal Phase 2B trials to treat patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

For 11 years he was CEO of Horizon Discovery Group plc a company he led from seed funding to a $113 million IPO and a peak market capitalisation of $550 million.

In recent years, he has been named UK Quoted Company Entrepreneur, UK Life Science Public Company, UK Iconic Male Entrepreneur, European Life Science Business Leader and Scrip Biotech and Pharma Executive of Year as well as one of the 100 game-changing disruptive UK entrepreneurs.

Darrin supports education, entrepreneurship and mentoring programs in the UK, via the Professor Christopher R Lowe Carpe Diem Enterprise Fund, and has backed over 40 start-up life science, technology and social enterprises.

Darrin is Enterprise Fellow at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge, Honorary Fellow of the Cambridge Judge Business School and Honorary Visiting Fellow at the School of Environmental and Life Science at the University of Salford.

He holds a BSc in Chemistry and a DSc (Honoris Causa) from the University of Salford and a PhD in Biotechnology from the University of Cambridge.

In 2016 Darrin was conferred with a lifetime-held Queens Award for Enterprise Promotion and in 2018 was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to business and enterprise in the healthcare sector.

Venue: Duke-NUS Medical School, Meeting Room 7C, Level 7

Date and Time

30 May 2019 @ 15:00 - 30 May 2019 @ 16:00


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