As targeted therapies have opened up precision medicine approaches to cancer treatment, oncologists and patients are increasingly moving to liquid biopsy as a front-line diagnostic approach to detection of actionable mutations to enable faster treatment decisions. Mutation detection in ctDNA has been shown to highly correlate to tissue biopsy for making treatment decisions, faster results and has the additional advantage of simplified specimen collection. Liquid biopsy represents an emerging paradigm shift in oncology practice and this session will discuss its promise and challenges from the Pharma, biotech and medical affairs perspectives.
Rebecca Brandes is a member of the Companion Diagnostics (CDx) Division specializing in Oncology Market Development at Agilent. This team is charged with the objective to help with the education and consultation on advanced genomic technologies for use in CDx including expertise in genomic technologies, clinical laboratory workflows, current testing methodologies and paradigms and genetics and oncology. Joining Agilent in 2014 with 18 years of expertise gained from leadership roles, her background includes CLIA-CAP lab operations, developing and submitting products for regulation, developing integrated workflows for routine testing and business development for companion diagnostics with an emphasis on Oncology. She holds degrees from High Point University in Biology, Biochemistry and Anthropology and a master's in Molecular Genetics from Wake Forest University. Prior to joining QIAGEN, Asuragen, Affymetrix, Stanford’s StartX not-for-profit accelerator and Agilent to lead their marketing organizations, Rebecca spent several years running a high-throughput, CAP/CLIA clinical molecular oncology laboratory.
Dr. Kate Knobil joined Agilent in April 2021 as the company’s first Chief Medical Officer and is helping to expand Agilent’s leadership in precision medicine and the development of novel therapeutics to improve patient outcomes. Kate has more than 20 years of experience in clinical development and medical affairs while serving in global strategic leadership roles. Prior to joining Agilent, Kate was CMO and head of R&D at Kaleido Biosciences, applying her pharmaceutical experience to help translate the promise of the microbiome into solutions for patients. Prior to Kaleido, Kate served in a variety of leadership roles at GlaxoSmithKline, including head of late-stage clinical development in China, head of value evidence and outcomes, and CMO.
Edward Abrahams, Ph.D., is the President of the Personalized Medicine Coalition, an education and advocacy organization based in Washington, DC. Representing innovators, scientists, patients, providers and payers, PMC promotes the understanding and adoption of personalized medicine concepts, services and products for the benefit of patients and the health system. It has grown from its original 18 founding members to more than 220 today. Previously, Dr. Abrahams was the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Association, where he spearheaded the successful effort that led to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s investment of $200 million to commercialize biotechnology in the state. Earlier, he had been Assistant Vice President for Federal Relations at the University of Pennsylvania and held a senior administrative position at Brown University. Dr. Abrahams worked for seven years for the U.S. Congress, including as a legislative assistant to Senator Lloyd Bentsen and as an economist for the Joint Economic Committee.