7:30 am Registration & Breakfast

8:20 am Chair’s Opening Remarks

Harnessing Improved Technologies to Advance the Industry Applications of Liquid Biopsy

8:30 am Use of ctDNA for the Detection of Minimal Residual Disease in the Adjuvant Setting, Technical & Clinical Challenges: Are We There Yet?

  • Darren Hodgson Global Project Leader & Interim Site Head Translational Medicine Boston, AstraZeneca


• What do we need to test new cancer therapies in the adjuvant space?
• What are the potential pitfalls?

9:00 am Accurate Biomarker Identification Through Digital Sequencing: Accelerating Adoption of ctDNA in Trials & the Clinic

  • Kimberly Banks Senior Director, Medical Affairs, BioPharma , Guardant Health


• Lessons from 100,000 patients to improve assay performance

• Clinical trial case studies for faster enrollment and study insights

• Improving patient treatment and outcomes

9:30 am Panel Discussion: Women in Precision Medicine

  • Christina Bender, PhD Exploratory Biomarker & Oncology Commercialization Lead, Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Daniel Simon Senior Vice President, BioPharma Business Development, Guardant Health
  • Robin Toft Chairman & Founder, Toft Group Executive Search
  • Lauren Leiman Executive Director , BloodPAC


Uniting scientific and business leaders from all key stakeholders of the community, this keynote panel discussion will highlight the importance of a diverse workforce and provide actionable takeaways for increased advocacy in individual workplaces. Topics to be discussed include:
• Understanding employee rights and salary renegotiations
• Encouraging more female mentorship: How are we mentoring women to support the progression of one another throughout companies?
• Developing and revisiting overall company goals to adopt a widespread initiative for equality
• Translating learnings into actions: How can I influence my own business?

10:15 am Speed Networking

10:30 am Morning Refreshments

10:45 am Bridging the GAP in Liquid Biopsies — CTCs & cfDNA: A Comprehensive Approach to Detection & Monitoring of Cancer


• Cancer is a high complexity disease which requires a combination of biological insights from both genotypic and phenotypic analysis to guide precision medicine
• Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and cell free DNA (cfDNA) liquid biopsies enable complementary information for clinical decisions, allowing for diagnosis, accurate prognosis, therapeutic target selection, as well as monitoring response and resistance to treatment
• Find out how these technologies enable a true Comprehensive Cancer Profiling from a single tube of blood to get all the biological insights needed

11:15 am Extracellular Vesicles in Disease Monitoring: Evaluating a New Analyte Approach for Liquid Biopsy


• Understanding the advantage of extracellular vesicles as a diagnostic and prognostic tool for certain applications

• Strategies to maximize marker detection from extracellular vesicles through purification and analysis techniques

• How are extracellular vesicles being applied? Evaluating the safety, predictive and diagnostic markers

11:45 am The Critical Importance of Sensitivity in Liquid Biopsy


• All liquid biopsy approaches are not the same – how does design of approach affect the outcome?
• Why is sensitivity important?
• Liquid biopsies in the continuum of clinical research
• Building a portfolio of MRD assays

12:15 pm

Networking Lunch

Addressing Pre-Analytical Steps to Maximize Reliability of Trials & Ensure Quality Sample Management

1:15 pm The Impact of Matrix Selection as a Pre-Analytical Variable on BloodBased Protein Biomarker Quantification

  • Leighla Tayefeh Research Associate, Biomarker Development , Ionis Pharmaceuticals


• In the context of protein biomarkers measurements, the goal is to measure the levels that are circulating

• Understanding the impact of proper sample matrix selection is an important piece of this. Platelets and other circulating cells can release proteins during the process of coagulation

• Anticoagulants can affect the ability to detect different proteins. If the proper matrix is not selected the measurements may be incorrect

1:45 pm Exploiting RNA in Liquid Biopsies for Precision Medicine Purposes

  • Jo Vandesompele Professor & Chief Scientific Officer , Ghent University & Biogazelle


• Biofluids are rich sources of messenger RNA, circular RNA and microRNAs

• The Human Biofluid RNA Atlas: a novel compendium of human extracellular transcriptomes

• The Extracellular RNA Quality Control study: benchmarking plasma RNA transcriptome profiling

2:15 pm Leveraging Liquid Biopsies in Clinical Development Across a Portfolio

  • Yan Li Director, Oncology Biomarker Strategist, Bayer


• Finding the specific driver of disease to inform target identification

• Overcoming key challenges in translation to clinical trials

• Exploring sensitivity levels required for biomarker and analyte types across a portfolio

2:45 pm BloodPAC Data Common: Accelerating Data Sharing & Analysis


• Exploring the BloodPAC Data Common and its applications in liquid biopsy-based studies

• Heading for approval: Demostrating how having an FDA approved Data Common positively impacts your future studies

• Looking ahead to future directions and applications of the project

3:15 pm Afternoon Refreshments

Clinical Applications of Liquid Biopsy to Meet the Needs of the Clinician

3:30 pm The Oncologist Perspective: Exploring Current Limitations to Implementing & Utilizing Liquid Biopsy in the Clinic

  • Howard Scher, MD Head, Biomarker Development Initiative Member & Attending Physician, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center


• Real-world examples on how liquid biopsy has aided patient diagnosis and monitoring

• Moving away from the “gold-standard” of tissue biopsy: Exploring healthcare’s hesitations

• What’s required?: Discussing how healthcare and developers can navigate existing challenges from education to complex price challenges

4:00 pm Role of Multi-Modal Blood-Based Biomarkers for Profiling Tumor & Host Immune System in the Interpretation of Cancer Responses


• Why it’s important to profile both tumor & immune blood-based biomarkers
• Tumor Profiling: data & clinical uses for cell-free ddPCR & NGS assays
• Immune Profiling: interpreting the immune response with mass spec & NGS
• Bringing blood-based diagnostics from discovery to the clinic

4:30 pm Liquid Biopsy Coming of Age: Opportunities & Challenges for Impacting Patient Care

  • Gary Pestano Chief Development Officer, Biodesix
  • Brian Kelly Global Director, Diagnostic Partnering, Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • Liya Xu Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Southern California


• Over the last few years, liquid biopsy has rapidly gained traction and adoption as a complimentary technique to tissue biopsies. Concordance with FFPE tissues has been demonstrated and widely discussed as confidence in this blood-based technique grew
• While progress has been made in the potential adoption of liquid biopsies in the clinic, such as FDA approval of a liquid biopsy IVD test, there are still many hurdles that needs to be addressed, vetted and overcome in order to leverage tissue and liquid biopsies together to enable comprehensive testing
• Our panel today will dive into these opportunities and challenges presented by liquid biopsy testing and discuss what this could mean for the future of precision oncology

5:15 pm Chair’s Closing Remarks & End of Day One

5:30 pm Evening Networking Reception, Hosted by Guardant Health