Early-stage R&D takes center stage at FierceBiotech executive breakfast

Last week I had a chance to get on the phone with Vertex R&D chief Peter Mueller, Ph.D. I asked him if he'd been thinking much about the whole issue of finding the best early-stage programs and looking for ways to get the most out of Phase I at the most efficient price.

He laughed a little, and then started talking. The next 20 minutes were a bit like trying to stand in front of a fire hose without letting the force of the blast knock you off your feet. It may not have been pretty on my end, but it was a lot of fun. At the end he asked me if he'd been helpful. That was my cue to laugh a little.

This Wednesday morning Mueller will be sitting down with an interesting cross section of Boston biotech players. There's Omid Farokhzad, the Harvard investigator who's been setting up companies with MIT's Bob Langer. Doug Williams, the new R&D head at Biogen Idec brought in at the beginning of the year by George Scangos to help turn things around, will be on the the panel at the Boston Sheraton. And we'll be joined by Tom Hughes, the Big Pharma vet who's doing development work at the virtual biotech Zafgen, and Stephen Knight, who bets on biotechs with money from Fidelity Biosciences. All of them have been thinking long and hard about doing early stage R&D work better and faster than ever before.

Together we'll be discussing what amounts to the future of the industry, which all hinges on biotech's ability to find great drug prospects and push them through proof-of-concept territory in an intelligent and efficient manner.  I'm looking forward to it. And I hope to see you there. Register here. John Carroll (twitter | email)