A New Pharma Conference Is Coming to Philly This Summer

The first ever FWD Pharma Conference wants to teach biotech leaders how to reach patients through digital initiatives.

The FWD Pharma Conference will take place in Philadelphia in August. Getty Images | Stuart Ritchie

A new life sciences conference has chosen Philadelphia as its host.

In August, pharma news hub Lincoln Health Network will host its first ever FWD Pharma Conference at the Doubletree Hotel in Center City. Event organizers are calling the conference  the “No. 1 digital transformation event for pharma, life sciences and biotech leaders seeking guidance in a complex digital world.” The three-day conference will include panel discussions, case studies, hands-on workshops and more, all geared toward helping life sciences companies better understand the impact of digital trends on an organization’s business strategy.

According to data from Select Greater Philadelphia, 80 percent of U.S. pharma companies have a presence in the Philadelphia region. It was this fact that influenced conference producer, Breanna Jacobs to host the inaugural conference in Philadelphia.

“Philly is a great hub,” Jacobs said. “We like to go where our community base is and Philadelphia seemed like a strong place to start.”

Companies in Philly’s life sciences sector and those in similar hubs across the country are in the midst of a digital transformation. Mobile apps are becoming watchdogs over the efficacy of new pharmaceutical drugs and health outcomes. Health information is being shared across digital technologies, replacing archaic paper systems. And leaders across healthcare, biotech, and pharmaceutical industries are looking for innovative ways to communicate with a consumer population that is increasingly becoming more actively involved in their own care.

A recent report by the Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions, found the number of pharmaceutical apps developed by pharma companies has tripled since 2013. But consumer downloads of those apps have slowed, perhaps indicating the need for improvement in the development, branding, and marketing of pharma apps.

During the FWD conference, keynote speakers and session leaders will share data-driven digital strategies that pharmaceutical and healthcare companies can employ to provide more personalized patient care through the use of digital technologies.

Jacobs anticipates roughly 75 to 100 pharmaceutical executives and professionals in marketing, branding and digital strategy will attend the conference. It’s a far cry from the attendance at the recent BIO conference, which attracted more than 17,000 life sciences execs from around the globe. Still, the FWD conference organizers say the first-time event is designed to foster networking, learning and information exchange; all important components for innovation in the life sciences, even when they occur among a small few.

“I tried to bring a diverse roster of speakers, some pharmacy executives some agency speakers, to try to give a holistic view of what’s going on and to demonstrate how teams are working through these challenges,” Jacobs said.

“We want it to be a place where people can share, give feedback and make new connections. I’m really hoping that people find value in having the opportunity to be candid with people within their industry about the challenges their facing and hopefully generate some great new ideas.”