Converge to Emerge

Converge to Emerge: Meaningful partnerships. Lasting change (w/ rainbow graphic)

iBIO IndEx 2016

About iBIO IndEx

Assembling the Midwest life science continuum to spark industry innovation through focused networking and education.

Biotech - Medtech - Pharma - Healthcare

This is your launching pad

Event Details

iBIO IndEx 2016 is the springboard to novel life science ideas in our region. Be at the center of it.


April 19th: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm

April 20th: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm


Hotel Orrington
1710 Orrington Ave
Evanston, Illinois 60201
United States


Monique Naleway

$5 off Uber:

Enjoy $5 off your Uber during the iBIO IndEx by using the following promo code: ThanksHORIZONEvent

Sponsored by:
Horizon Pharma

Fostering new partnerships


Connect with and gain insider knowledge from Illinois’ premier life science leaders.

  • AbbVie
  • Astellas
  • Baxalta
  • Horizon
  • Takeda
  • Deloitte
  • EY
  • Vetter
  • MBHB
  • Perkins Coie
  • Green Griffith
  • Sidley Austin LLC
  • McDermott Will & Emery
  • Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP
  • CBRE
  • ContextMedia

Become a Sponsor

Fueling Industry-Wide Growth


Gain a deeper understanding of the life science and healthcare industry’s most pressing challenges, all in an intimate setting.

April 19th

10:00 am to 5:30 pm
North Shore Room & Mulford Room

Life Sciences Vendor Showcase

10:00 am to 11:00 am
Heritage Ballroom

Scientist Career Development Panel
Preparing for Industry Positions: Making Yourself Most Competitive in the Marketplace

11:30 am to 1:00 pm
Heritage Ballroom

Scientist Career Development Networking Lunch

Networking lunch for post-doc and Ph.D. students to connect with industry professionals and learn about employment opportunities in the Illinois Life Sciences Industry.

Sponsored by Illinois Institute of Technology – University Technology Park; Northwestern University – The Graduate School; Northwestern University Master of Biotechnology Program; Rush University Graduate College; University of Chicago Institute for Translational Medicine and myCHOICE program

12:30 pm to 1:00 pm
Grand Orrington Ballroom

Lunch Keynote: Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs

1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Grand Orrington Ballroom

Innovation Showcase:
Family Offices and Private Foundations as Venture Investors: Behind the Curtain Sponsored by McDermott Will & Emery LLP

  • Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD, Lyfebulb
  • Jim Hussey, previously with NanoInk, Sagent Pharma and Ovation Pharma
  • Alejandra Paredones, BSI Capital Group
  • Neil Wyant, Fir Hill and Everett Partners

2:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Grand Orrington Ballroom

Innovation Showcase
Finals of the 2016 PROPEL Business Plan Competition ($17,500 in cash prizes)

  • NovaScan
  • Preora Diagnostics
  • SIM Solutions
  • Thermatome

3:30 pm to 4:00 pm

Networking Break

4:00 pm to 5:30 pm

Innovation Showcase:
More than 15 fast pitch Venture Presentations Sponsored by Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP

5:30 pm to 7:00 pm


April 20th

8:00 am to 10:00 am
Corridor & North Shore Room

Patient Advocacy Networking Breakfast

9:00 am to 10:00 am
Grand Orrington Ballroom

Leveraging Data to Improve Healthcare Outcomes
Sponsored by McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff

  • Dr. Abel Kho, MD, Director, Institute for Public Health and Medicine – Center for Health Information Partnerships, Northwestern University
  • Mr. Michael Spadafore, Vice President, Sandbox Industries, BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners, L.P.
  • Patrick Gattari, Partner, McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff

10:00 am to 1:15 pm
Hertiage Ballroom

Illinois BioGENEius High School Science Competition

10:00 am to 11:00 am
Grand Orrington Ballroom

CEO Keynote: Christophe Weber, President & CEO, Takeda

Christophe Weber is President and Chief Executive Officer of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. He joined Takeda in April 2014 as Chief Operating Officer, was named President and Representative Director in June 2014 and was subsequently appointed Chief Executive Officer in April 2015. Mr. Weber has introduced key transformations within the global organization which focus on the underlying principles of patient- and customer-centricity, accountability and being as agile as possible for a global company.

A principal focus of Takeda's Corporate Social Responsibility activities is to "put the patient at the center." How does patient-centricity help a company and lead to a secure future?

There are still a lot of diseases with significant unmet medical needs, which can be very debilitating and restricting for patients. Additionally, sometimes there are gaps in understanding patient needs. For example, physicians tend to be more satisfied than patients with the treatment provided, and therefore it is important to understand the real customer satisfaction. It is very important for us to understand patients' needs and the impact of diseases on their lives. Takeda's approach is to focus on the patient and earn their trust, which builds the company's reputation. The business viability will naturally follow.

Can you share an example of an innovation that began with focusing on the patient or the customer?

One example is NINLARO, which launched in the U.S. in December 2015 as a treatment option for multiple myeloma and was developed with patients’ lifestyle in mind. With NINLARO, we have achieved a remarkable innovation: the first and only, once-weekly oral proteasome inhibitor indicated, in combination with lenalidomide and dexamethasone, for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma who have received at least one prior therapy. NINLARO enables patients to get the benefit of a proteasome inhibitor through an all-oral treatment regimen for the first time.

We are excited that the value of that innovation has real meaning, in the real world, for patients. NINLARO is a pill that can be taken at home. This may be a more convenient administration option for patients than current therapies that require an infusion or injection at a hospital, clinic or physician’s office and require patients or caregivers to take time off work or struggle with transportation or other barriers to treatment. NINLARO’s convenient administration can reduce logistical burdens.

Multiple myeloma currently remains a devastating, relapsing and incurable rare cancer, and patients with this disease need treatment options that are efficacious, safe and sustainable. As a long-time leader in the multiple myeloma community, we are dedicated to re-investing directly back into the community through the development of innovative products and robust clinical trials for patients with this disease. We aspire to provide new innovation through convenient and sustainable treatment for patients and we believe we have done that with NINLARO.

How has Takeda instituted its focus on the patient on a corporate level?

We take whatever opportunities we have to create close proximity between our employees and patients, working, for example, with patient associations. We also have set up an organization that is extremely patient-focused, with a lot of autonomy at the local or country level. We have global products but we also have many compounds that are suited to and available in certain markets.

Why does Takeda support global access to healthcare?

At Takeda, we have an unwavering commitment to bring better health and a brighter future for patients worldwide. We therefore put patients at the center of every activity, and make our products accessible to anyone who needs them as a foundation of our business. Takeda takes its role as a good corporate citizen very seriously, and is strongly committed to meeting the needs of society globally. Our strategy to improve Access to Medicines is centered on the principles of fairness and sustainability. The program will “Go beyond Medicines” – addressing a wide range of patient access barriers and strengthening less developed healthcare systems in partnership with local authorities. We’ll focus globally on areas of highest unmet need where we’re equipped to achieve the greatest impact on patients’ lives.

Are these practices only applicable to international companies such as Takeda? What general principles of a patient-centric business can any company apply?

Our values, which we call Takeda-ism, stand for integrity: fairness, honesty and perseverance, and we are renewing those values to put the focus on patients. Our priorities are patient, trust, reputation, business, in this order. We start by putting patients at the center of everything we do. Takeda's commitment to patients will help us earn trust from society. Trust, in turn, will allow us to build the company's reputation. If we do that properly, business vitality will naturally follow. These priorities are deeply ingrained in our ways of working to ensure our commitment to quality and doing the right thing - all the time. A philosophy such as Takeda-ism can be valuable for any pharmaceutical company.

12:15 pm to 1:15 pm
Grand Orrington Ballroom

AdvaMed 2016 Medtech Unplugged Session
Sponsored by Deloitte

The AdvaMed Medtech Unplugged features top leaders of the MedTech industry. These industry giants will discuss the most crucial issues facing the industry, drawing from personal observations and experiences across their fields. Attendees can expect to gain a deep understanding of the industry’s most pressing challenges and opportunities. Audience questions and dialogues are encouraged.

  • Simon Shorter, PhD, Senior Director of IVD Product Marketing, Sysmex
  • Harry Rowland, PhD, CEO & Co-Founder, Endotronix
  • David Flowers, Deloitte
  • Tom Summerfelt, PhD, VP of Research, Advocate Health Care
  • Jonathan Handler, MD, FACEP, Vice President of Digital Innovation, Baxter Healthcare Corporation

1:30 pm to 2:30 pm
Grand Orrington Ballroom

Building a Patient Centered Research Network
Sponsored by Sidley Austin, LLP

How can healthcare institutions in a complex urban setting overcome the barriers of competition, care fragmentation, and limited resources to develop, test and implement strategies to improve care for diverse populations and reduce health disparities?

  • Terry Mazany, MA, MBA, President and CEO for The Chicago Community Trust
  • Raj Shah, MD, Associate Professor, Family Medicine and Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Rush University Medical Center; Steering Committee Member, CAPriCORN
  • Regina Greer-Smith, MPH, LFACHE, Healthcare Research Associates LLC; Steering Committee Member, CAPriCORN

2:45 pm to 3:45 pm
Grand Orrington Ballroom

The Value of Medical Innovation
Sponsored by Ernst & Young

  • Troy Norris, Executive Director, Life Sciences Strategy & Transactions, Parthenon-EY
  • Kevin Lynch, Vice President of Scientific Assessment, Abbvie
  • Walt Johnston, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Urology and Hospital at Astellas
  • Jeffrey W. Sherman, M.D., FACP, Executive Vice President, Research & Development and Chief Medical Officer, Horizon Pharma
  • Andy Dahlem, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Lilly Research Laboratories and Lilly Research Laboratories Europe

4:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Grand Orrington Ballroom

Closing Keynote
Kyle Bryant, Founder and Director of Ride Ataxia, Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance, Star of the Ataxian Documentary

At age 17, Kyle Bryant was devastated when he was diagnosed with a rare, debilitating, life-shortening disease called Friedreich’s ataxia (FA). However, Kyle took this bleak situation and turned it into an opportunity to provide hope to the FA community and empower others, riding his recumbent trike thousands of miles and raising millions for FA research. Now Kyle shares his outlook about how to turn adversity into opportunity in his keynote speeches. Kyle Bryant, who is a Patient Advocate, Ride Ataxia Founder & Director, Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA), will deliver the closing keynote session at the 2016 iBIO IndEx.

The documentary, “The Ataxian,” as well as your TED talk, draws attention to the patient side of Friedreich's ataxia (FA). How can patients get involved in finding new treatments for FA?

The most powerful way to get started is to get informed. When you’re first diagnosed with FA or any rare disease, your mind instantly goes to infinity. You hear things like you’re going to be in a wheelchair soon, you’re going to lose all ability to take care of yourself, and you’ll likely die a premature death due to heart disease. Those are some of the only things you hear at first. You start thinking you’re going to die tomorrow. Then you meet other people, get informed, and begin to construct the actual reality of the situation. The fact is, you’re not going to die tomorrow. People are living with the disease who are incredibly successful and funny and intelligent––just like you hoped you will be. It all really starts with getting informed and meeting other people in the community so you can all move forward together.

For the FA community, the most important resource for information is the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance’s (FARA) website, Beyond that, an important resource to connect with people with FA is through Facebook groups, including FARA’s Facebook page. Through these groups, you can see who’s out there, what are they saying, and how they’re dealing with this. Face-to-face connections are also really important to our community, and FARA facilitates these connections through patient symposiums in different locations throughout the year where people can come hear about the latest breakthroughs in science and meet each other.

How do people with FA learn about clinical trials?

As far as getting involved in FA clinical trials, is the place to start. You can see all the clinical trials for FA that are currently open. And you can also start to look at some of the trials that might be coming in the future based on the research that is going on. When patients register on the FARA Patient Registry at, they will hear about trials that they might be eligible for through an email sent to their inbox. is also a really important site because you can find out more details, and it verifies the current status of all these trials.

For people with rare diseases, in general, I think the most important resource is the patient groups for that disease. The FA community is incredibly fortunate that we have such an incredible patient group. There’s always people looking for each other. That’s how FARA began. A few people got together and said we have to do something about this. And it grew from there.

It’s very important to start with your doctor, too, but I also note that not all doctors have even heard of FA before. I’m fortunate that I live by Philadelphia and can see David Lynch, MD, PhD [a pediatric neurologist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and director of the Friedreich's Ataxia Program]. But not everyone has that access to that. So find websites like and bring that information to your doctor and also make an appointment with a specialist. We’ve got David Lynch on the East Coast, Sue Perlman [Susan Perlman, MD, director of the Ataxia Clinic at the UCLA Department of Neurology Program in Neurogenetics] on the West Coast and several in between. I think it’s important not only to talk to your personal doctor who knows you but also seek information outside of that.

Can you describe the partnership between patient group FARA and the biopharma industry and how they work together to find new treatments for patients with FA?

Industry benefits from infrastructure and insight. FARA has a collaborative clinical research network where people with FA are regularly seen. These network sites are equipped to do clinical trials. We have over 10 years of natural history data on 850 plus patients. Biopharma gains the benefit of all that data. We also have the FARA patient registry. When a trial is announced, we send an email out to all the people who fit the inclusion criteria and we recruit trials in hours¬¬––not days, not months, not years.

FARA has the biggest scope for insight into the disease, how it behaves, what it’s like on a molecular level, and what it’s like in a person. We have relationships with FA researchers all over the world; FARA connects biopharma to these researchers to provide that insight the industry needs to move forward more quickly.

The Race Across America (RAAM) is widely recognized as the world’s toughest endurance bicycle race. In 2010, you participated in RAAM as part of 4-man Team FARA. The team completed the 3,000 mile non-stop race from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland in 8 days, 8 hours, and 14 minutes. During that intense ride, what inspired you and your teammates to keep going? What inspires you to continue your efforts to raise awareness and funds for FA research?

Without a doubt, it’s the FA community that pushed me during the race. I’d be riding my bike at 2 a.m. in the rain in the middle of Indiana and I would think of the emails that I’ve received from a mother of a girl who has FA. She said, “I look online and I can’t find any hope, but your team brings our family hope.” Those are the things that really drive me. It’s the community supporting each other in this journey that we take together. I received that email right at the start of the race and then almost to the end of the race, about 100 miles from the finish line, I met a 10-year-old boy who came up to me and said “Hi, I’m Jack. I have a trike, too, and your team has inspired me to ride 5 miles in my neighborhood for FA research.” That really hit me, and our whole team. We’re so inspired by this little boy who’s telling us that he’s inspired by us. It’s mutual inspiration. It’s the community that really drives everything forward.

Are there any recent breakthroughs to come out of FA research?

I feel like a lot of the time progress is judged on an all-or-nothing scale. Do you have a cure or not? I think it’s important to look at the incremental steps that we’ve made. All the scientific discoveries along the way lead us to understand more about the disease so we can more effectively go after treatment. The FARA Treatment Pipeline ( is a visual representation of the progress in the different approaches to treating the disease. It is exciting to see the growth of the pipeline both in number of approaches as well as how far they are through development, especially when you compare it to a treatment pipeline from 10 years ago. It is important to us to recognize all the incremental discoveries, successes, and failures that bring us closer to a treatment and a cure.

What is your hope that the medical community will be able to do for patients with FA?

The ultimate goal is a treatment and a cure. It’s the holy grail. But, in the meantime, I talk with my friends who have FA, and we all say that anything that helps with symptoms (i.e., manage fatigue, balance, and coordination) would be huge for quality of life. So I don’t want to judge progress of research and development on cure or no cure. That’s the short-term and long-term vision I have on how science and medicine can help somebody with FA.

More about Kyle's Story

5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Heritage Ballroom


Unifying our life science community