Each year, The Conference Forum holds the R&D Leadership Summit, a private event for primarily senior level R&D executives from mid to large pharma and biotech companies, to address timely and relevant issues impacting R&D decision-making.

Lead advisor and keynote, Fred Hassan, Director, Healthcare and Consumer, Warburg Pincus

Co-chaired by Dr David NicholsonEVP & President, Global Brands R&D, Allerganand Dr Alise Reicin, President and Global Head of Clinical Development, EMD Serono, with lead advisors Fred Hassan, Managing Director, Healthcare, Warburg Pincus, and Dr Thomas KoestlerExecutive Director, Vatera Health Care Partners, the 2019 theme was preparing for the future of R&D.

On Day One, Dr Mathai MammenGlobal Head of R&D, Janssen led a discussion on the Role of Data Sciences (ML/AI) on all Aspects of R&D. This was followed by a visionary R&D talk with Dr John TsaiHead of Global Drug Development and CMONovartis, and afterwards, Brent SaundersChairman, President and CEOAllergan talked about transitioning from a legacy portfolio to a new portfolio.

Dr Alise Reicin, President and Global Head of Clinical Development, Celgene leading a discussion at the RDL Summit.

For the first time, we welcomed Eric Lefkofsky, Founder, Groupon, and CEO and Founder, Tempus, as our disruptive guest speaker.

Topics covering patient access, value, pricing and policy were led by Dr Ron Cohen, President and CEOAcorda Therapeutics, with Sarah EmondEVP/COOInstitute for Clinical and Economic ReviewLambert van der Walde, Senior Vice President, Government Research, Corporate Affairs, UnitedHealth GroupDr Steve MillerCMOExpress ScriptsMonica PoppChief of Staff  to Senator John Cornyn, the Majority Whip, and Lori ReillyEVP, Policy, Research & MembershipPhRMA.

The next section of Day One covered R&D transformation, M&A, and audacious drug development. Speakers on this part of the program included Steve Frank, Chairman, Global Health Care Group, JP Morgan, Dr Andrew Plump, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Dr Lynn Kramer, Chief Clinical Officer, Neurology Business Group, Eisai, and Dr Laura Esserman, Director, UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center.

Brent Saunders, Chairman, President and CEO, Allergan with Dr Thomas Koestler, Executive Director, Vatera Health Partners at the RDL Summit.

For the first time, we included break-out choices on FDA Database Access, Asian Markets, Patient-Centered Trials, Orphan Disease Portfolio, Efficiencies in Phase Three Trials and Early Access to Innovation.

The Day One agenda concluded with executive coaching from world renowned business management author and executive coach, Marshall Goldsmith, on preparing for the future workforce in R&D. 

Day Two, opened with discussions on talent and team structure, innovation strategy, new treatment modalities, AI and the Chief Digital Officer perspective on transforming R&D. Vivek Ramaswamy, Founder and CEO, Roivant Sciences opened day two.

Dr George YancopoulosPresident and Chief Scientific OfficerRegeneron, was the opening keynote fireside guest in a discussion on what’s possible for the future of R&D and picking winners.  Verily’s CEODr Andy Conrad, joined in a debate and discussion on new business models that could change R&D productivity. Nick SimonSenior Managing Director, Blackstone Life Sciences and Chris ViehbacherManaging Partner, Gurnet Point Capital discussed Innovation in the Current Climate. We  also covered new treatment modalities, digital capabilities and the transformation of R&D, Machine Learning and more.

Dr Monika Lessl, VP, Head of Corporate Innovation and R&D, Bayer AG with Dr Sylke Poehling SVP and global Head Pharma Research and Early Development, Roche

Additional speakers included:

Dr John BaldoniSVP, In Silico Discovery Performance Unit, GSK

Roy Baynes MD, PhD, SVP, Head of Global Clinical Development, CMO, Merck Research Laboratories

Dr Laurence Cooper, CEO, Ziopharm Oncology

David Epstein, Executive Partner, Flagship Pioneering

Dr Axel Hoos, SVP, Oncology, R&D, GSK

Milind Kamkolkar, Chief Data Officer, Cellarity – a Flagship Pioneering Company

Dr Daphne Koller, Founder and CEO, insitro

Dr Diego Miralles, CEO, Vividion Therapeutics

Dr Elizabeth Stoner, Executive Partner, MPM

Chris Viehbacher, Managing Partner, Gurnet Point Capital

In an era of rapid innovation, we concluded the Summit with a topic dedicated to capital allocation strategies in R&D and managing the P&L, which was led by Dr Genghis Lloyd Harris, Partner, Abingworth LLP.

R&D Leadership Summit Keynote Guest, Joaquin Duato, Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee, Johnson & Johnson with Lead Advisor Fred Hassan, Director, Healthcare, Warburg Pincus

Dr Sylke Poehling, SVP and global Head Pharma Research and Early Development, Roche with Katrine Bosley, CEO, Editas Medicine

Many thanks to the executive team at PRA Health Sciences for their support and to the entire speaking faculty, who brought their vast experience together to identify and collaborate over ideas that will advance therapeutics for the benefit of patients.

The format of the Summit was a combination of presentations, interviews and panel discussions. The event provided plenty of networking opportunities, including breakfast, luncheons, a welcome reception, the annual dinner and networking breaks.

Our audience is as much a part of the event as our speaking faculty. Our ultimate goal is to foster a Summit environment that inspires positive change to advance R&D and to provide support for the leaders behind the movement.

For questions about the R&D Leadership Summit, please contact Valerie Bowling at Valerie@tcfllc.org or Jennifer Moran at Jennifer@tcfllc.org.



Valerie Bowling New


Valerie Bowling
Executive Director

Jennifer Moran B&W1


Jennifer Moran
Project Manager


Meredith Sands
Executive Director, Business Development


  • "A wonderful event with thought-provoking discussions and great networking opportunities."

    - Sylke Poehling, Roche

  • "One of the best conferences and a great group of leaders and organizers and all done with such thought put into the agenda and topics."

    - Mark Currie, Ironwood Pharma