The Economist Cell & Gene Therapy Summit 2023

    Enabling market access, policy, and delivery

    Positioning statement

    Our inaugural event convenes industry stakeholders to accelerate access to transformative cell and gene products.

    More about the event:

    Under the stewardship of The Economist editors, our inaugural event on cell and gene therapies convenes industry stakeholders to accelerate access to transformative products.

    Cell and gene therapies are redefining the treatment of many diseases, giving hope to patients who previously had no therapeutic options. These treatments can be transformative in the battle against cancer, genetic disorders and rare diseases. In the UK, NICE expects to review 30 new cell and gene therapy products by 2023, with the FDA in the US predicting between 15 and 20 new products will be on the market by 2025. Attendees will learn how healthcare systems and policies need to evolve before these therapies can become mainstream.

    Through a series of interactive sessions, industry stakeholders will debate the challenges of bringing these therapies to market—including manufacturing, real-world data collection and their commercial sustainability. Our conference programme examines the potential for a healthcare paradigm shift, as public opinion and patient experience evolve. We will also assess the innovations needed in pricing policies and payments to combat “big sticker” price tags—some products are $2.48 million per dose—and how they limit accessibility.

    Elevator pitch

    Discover the potential for a healthcare paradigm shift with our inaugural event. Examine how healthcare systems, pricing and policies need to evolve before essential cell and gene therapies can become mainstream.

    Topic 1: the impact on the future of healthcare

    Therapies that unlock innovation where there are limited treatment options will provide significant societal and economic benefits. The evolution of genomic scanning could lead to in uterus treatment for rare diseases that are identified early. Public opinion is divided and more widespread education on the safety of these therapies is vital. Learn the views of patient groups and the general public.

    Topic 2: manufacturing is costly and complicated

    Discover whether technology can enable companies to overcome challenges, including scaling up the manufacturing of advanced therapies to reduce costs.

    Topic 3: market access and reimbursement

    Some “big sticker” products are $2.48 million per dose: who will foot the bill? Additionally, each country has different processes for gaining market access, causing some organisations to withdraw from regions entirely. Could a centralised system be the answer? How can this be achieved?

    Topic 4: policy and regulatory pathways

    In cell and gene therapies, the science is often described as “ahead of the systems”. The current regulations and policies are not optimal for these treatments. What changes are required before these therapies become mainstream?

    Topic 5: investment

    Based on their potential, cell and gene therapies are receiving a large share of life-science funding—despite representing a fraction of forecast revenue in pharmaceuticals. How is the macroeconomic climate affecting the life-science industry? Which cell and gene products are getting funded, and why? How do international markets compare?

    Topic 6: delivery and patient experience

    Patient trust is essential to cell and gene therapies becoming mainstream. Working with governments to find appropriate treatment sites is complex—particularly with sparse patient populations. Hospital and healthcare infrastructure will also need to adapt to deliver cell and gene therapies.

    Why attend

    Policymakers and regulatory bodies are currently working on a national level with different approvals in each country. They need a joined-up approach. “Centralising’ processes” have been outlined in whitepapers from the WHO and WEF, but their methodology needs refinement. By next spring, new legislation in Europe is expected to provide more clarity, making it easier to outline proposals.

    Payers and insurers are covering costs and they want justifications for the high prices. Insurers and healthcare providers want to be in the room with pharmaceutical companies.

    Investors and venture capitalists are funding biotechs and start-ups. They have insights into the market, including the latest trends. Industry stakeholders want to know what investors are looking for, and investors need to hear from policymakers and big pharma to understand where the market is headed.

    Clinicians and healthcare providers treat patients and administer the products. They want to understand how hospital and healthcare infrastructure can adapt to deliver cell and gene therapies. This event will consider how prepared hospitals are for future challenges.

    Nonprofits and patient-advocacy groups are crucial to education. Patient trust is essential to cell and gene therapies becoming available in the mainstream. This agenda will uncover how industry stakeholders can best engage with patient groups—aiming to reduce challenges such as high prices and limited availability in some regions.

    Event USPs

    1. Commercial and policy-focused. This event is distinct from others as it explores industry systems—rather than just science. Pharmaceutical companies will gain a deeper understanding of reimbursement and policy.

    2. A timely event. NICE expects to review 30 new cell and gene therapy products in the next year, with the FDA predicting there could be between15 and 20 new products on the market by 2025. Around next spring, some of these will have moved through approval to distributions, proving many practical takeaways for attendees.

    3. Simplify the chatter. Under the stewardship of The Economist editors, our inaugural event on cell and gene therapies convenes important decision-makers. Attendees will advance the conversation on how to expedite transformative products to market.

    Five statements and challenges and how the event addresses them

    1. It’s a seller’s market. The price for cell and gene therapies is high, often justified because they are administered just once—saving costs in the long term. However, it’s more manageable for patients to finance treatment in smaller instalments, rather than a huge up-front cost. Despite financing challenges, patients need the therapy so there is demand.

    2. Who is footing the bill? Is it down to insurers and healthcare providers, or healthcare systems such as the NHS? This programme explores price point and payment strategy solutions.

    3. Not all patients are created equal. There is a concern that advanced therapies will be available only to the privileged with drug development mainly coming from Western countries and the high prices. Organisations such as Caring Cross—whose founder is speaking on the programme—are dedicated to bringing therapies to poor countries. However, the industry needs to proceed carefully to ensure equitable access for all.

    4. Advanced therapies require systematic changes. The science for cell and gene therapies is ahead of policy. Current regulatory pathways and frameworks are suited to older drug-development processes and are hindering progress. Companies and products are dropping out of markets due to complex regulatory environments—including Bluebird bio in Europe—and systemic changes are essential. Hospital and healthcare infrastructure will also need to evolve to support cell and gene therapies with specialist training and equipment required.

    5. A recession is on the horizon. Rising inflation is fuelling a cost-of-living crisis worldwide. A market crash could put expensive therapies further out of patients’ reach. Our programme prepares business leaders and policymakers for a recession.


    Event Name: Cell & Gene Therapy Summit 2023
    Event Date: April 24th – 25th 2023
    Event Venue: Brussels, Belgium
    Event Organizers: The Economist Group
    URL: Event Link

    Organiser: The Economist Events

    Economist Events brings the rigour of informed analysis and intelligent debate that The Economist is known for to life on stage in international forums. We host over 80 events annually in over 30 countries on topics that convene world-class thought leaders on a range of strategic business issues.