1 September 2022

Pharma forum 2022 – 2 of 3 Insights

Future gazing with Hannah Kuchler

  • Quick read

Pharma forum is back, and this year we're excited to welcome Hannah Kuchler, global pharmaceuticals correspondent for the Financial Times, as our keynote speaker. Here, Hannah gives us the lowdown of what to expect during her keynote speech.


At the Taylor Wessing Pharma forum on 22 September, I will take you behind the scenes of seven key interviews that tell you the future of the industry, with biotech billionaires, a socialist potential presidential candidate, and a Nobel Prize winner. Along with foresight, I hope to provide a bit of fun: journalists are the most nosy people!

To pique your interest, I want to tell you more about one of the interviews I'll be sharing during the forum - with Anne Wojcicki, chief executive of 23andme, a tech industry pioneer in healthcare. It was the first - and so far the only - interview where I met the executive’s baby. We ate next to a porthole window to the room where her seven month old daughter played. 

Wojcicki started the genetic testing company after years as a financial analyst covering the healthcare industry. She saw that genotyping - a slimmed down version of full genomic sequencing - was getting cheaper. She wanted to bypass the gatekeepers in the healthcare system (who we tend to call doctors) and give patients more control over their health. 

But the FDA did not see it that way, sweeping her spit-testing kits off the market for two years. It took a battle to get back to selling them and when we met in 2019, she was a born again believer in regulation.

At first the majority of customers were simply swabbing to find out more about their ancestry. But from this unlikely start, 23andme grew into a company with the world’s largest genetic database, which it is now using to develop its own drugs. 

She had a warning for the healthcare industry. While tech executives get grilled over privacy, she thought healthcare was getting a 'free pass', with less scrutiny and exemptions from some privacy laws. Before I covered pharma, I wrote about Silicon Valley, and by the end I reported on more congressional hearings than product launches. So I believe the life sciences should heed this warning from tech: before it can innovate with data, it will have to earn patients’ trust.

Pharma forum 2022

Pharma forum 2022

Exploring the legal and commercial issues that matter most to pharmaceutical and biologics companies across the UK and Europe.

Register your place and view the full agenda
Register your place and view the full agenda

In this series

Pharmaceuticals

Future gazing with Hannah Kuchler

1 September 2022

Life sciences & healthcare

Three hot IP issues for the pharmaceutical industry

23 August 2022

by Dr Paul England

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