Our mission is simple.
To deliver meaningful progress for patients.
The existence of this 3to10: Cancer Models meeting, is driven by this mission.
Here’s Richard Lumb, the founder of Front Line Genomics, to explain more about our mission and how it came about:
In 2009 my father died early from mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer commonly caused by exposure to asbestos. There were no effective therapies for this cancer - he was treated with ‘best-fit’ drugs, used for different types of cancer. In any case, the prognosis was poor. He died 9 months after diagnosis.
This isn’t a unique story. It’s one I hear all too often among friends (especially now I’ve hit my 40’s), colleagues and my professional network. In my case, it was the starting point of a quest to turn a wholly negative experience into something infinitely more positive.
Since then, I’ve been exploring ways to get better drugs to patients faster via events, mostly focused on cancer. After initially being a protein folding scientist, I had already transitioned into the production of scientific events.
After my dad died, later in 2009 I founded the life sciences division at Hanson Wade (I led the launch of the first tumour models meetings in Boston and London). I was there for 4 years, progressed in my career and enjoyed my time there. It turned out to be a good stepping stone.
While I was at Hanson Wade the operating context was explicitly profit. Not patients, who were - at best - an afterthought. We celebrated hitting revenue targets and profit, whether it worked for patients or not.
In senior meetings we never talked about what we could do for patients. People like my dad. I was increasingly frustrated - not always understanding why - but I understood the commercial environment I was working in. My ‘why’ was not the same as my employer’s.
That was OK.
So, after 4 years we parted ways, and in 2014 I set up a social business called Front Line Genomics.
Front Line Genomics
Front Line Genomics grew rapidly. We launched the Festivals of Genomics in Boston, California and London (800-2000 people each), a website that’s educated well over a million unique individuals via articles, webinars and reports, and a bi-monthly magazine.
We are extremely proud of our social focus. All of our events have been either free or extremely cheap to attend. Everything else (webinars, reports etc.) is free. We have placed social impact over profit. Financially, it’s been challenging. But I am proud. I can look friends/family who have (or have had) cancer in the eye and tell them I am working for them.
Recently, we’ve expanded into other areas. Why?
Firstly, genomics touches almost every area of life sciences. It’s a brilliant route into other topics/fields.
Secondly, scientific conferences, particularly those for drug developers, are too expensive. And they’re not particularly innovative in their approach. We want to take our festival model (accessibility and innovation) and adapt it in the conference space.
The stakes (for patients) are too high to bar attendance based on ticket price. Particularly for a tumor models event.
We need as many minds in the room as possible, from as many backgrounds as we can muster. And we also feel strongly that events that affect patients need to have a purpose beyond profit.
A mission that is meaningful for patients.
Hence, this move into Cancer Models events. Our staring point for this event is not “how much money can we make?”, it’s “how can we create value for this community?”
To find out more about how this particular event has been developed, and some operating principles that align with our mission, click here.
If any of the above resonates with you, and you want to discuss some ideas or even just have a chat, email me.
I am most interested in speaking to people who (1) think that life sciences/pharma events can do much more for patients than they currently are, and (2) have topic ideas where they feel this model and these principles should be applied, (3) care as passionately as I do about putting patients at the centre of their activities.
Thanks for reading. Come and join the movement!
Rich Lumb, Founder and CEO, Front Line Genomics