The 4th Swiss-Korean Life Science Symposium was held on June 16th, 2017 at the University Hospital Basel, Switzerland. Likewise the fourth edition of the Life Science Symposium Series, the topic of symposium was “Digital Health and Precision Medicine”. The symposium was opened by Christian Schneider, Head of Innovation at the University of Basel. He presented several success stories between Switzerland and Korea in the past and described future prospect of collaboration between the two countries.
In a row, Korea and Switzerland government gave opening speeches. On the Korean side, His Excellency Sang-kyu Lee, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea in Switzerland presented the vision of the Korean Government to partner with Switzerland in the area of precision medicine. On the Swiss side, Dr. Beatrice Ferrari, Deputy Head of International Relations of State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) spoke how Switzerland is keen to build stronger partnerships with Korea.
The one-day Symposium attracted roughly 70 visitors and was co-organized by the Science and Technology Office of the Embassy of Switzerland in Korea, the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), and the University of Basel. The main supporters were SERI, the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI), DayOne and the Ministry of Health and Welfare of Korea (MOHW) as well as Roche Korea, Roche Diagnostics Korea and Novartis Korea.
From both Switzerland and Korea, a total of 22 speakers took part in the Symposium to share their meaningful lectures on digital health and precision medicine. The following topics were covered in each session.
– Digital Health Tools and Big Data
– Initiatives for Precision Medicine in CH and KOR
– Precision Medicine and Big Data
– Precision Medicine in Surgery
– Company Short Presentation
True to the spirit of the Life Science Initiative, various speakers who have different backgrounds from academia, hospital, pharmaceutical company, and medtech start-ups gave their speeches.
Prof. Hans-Florian Zeilhofer, Head of the Department of Oral and Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery of University Hospital Basel gave a valuable keynote speech on a life-sciences ecosystem in Basel and MedTech innovations including the new type of innovation collaboration between Switzerland and Korea.
Peter Groenen from Idorsia, a spin off from Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd emphasized transitional research from basic research to clinical benefit and need of open innovation. The representative from the private industry (Novartis, Roche) focused on their companies’ activities in data-driven medicine such as digitalization issues and digital biomarkers, still a relatively new topic for the pharma industries with different projects. Both companies are interested to develop projects and cooperation with Korean partners.
For digital health, Bram Stieltjes from the University Hospital Basel and Falko Schlottig from the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland spoke about clinical digital diagnostics in hospital and researches in university. The main focus is how to connect digital health technology to industry. During the presentation, bone density examination and cancer staging were suggested as examples.
Thomas Benzikofer for BaselArea.swiss which promotes the strengths of the Basel region as a center for innovation and business introduced their DayOne project: an initiative in close collaboration with the Canton of Basel-Stadt and showed the patient centric precision medicine. Thierry Sengstag from the University of Basel presented the Swiss Personalized Health Network Initiative, which aimed to optimize the benefit for the research community; the installation of a nationally coordinated data infrastructure which has been an absolute priority.
Finally, there were some special sessions. In the area of surgery, the latest knowledge for bone cutting with laser and mobile knowledge application for surgeon were presented. In a row, the CEO of 4Quant, Swiss startup showed the use of deep learning technology in related with big image analytics.
The Dean of Yonsei University College of Medicine, Si Young Song introduced the characteristics of MedTech business and explained about biomedical and MedTech ecosystem and opportunities in Korea. He emphasized mutual benefits of cooperation in innovation between Korea and Switzerland.
Two professors from Seoul National University Bundang Hospital showed applications of the ICT technology for better quality of care and various innovations in the area of radiology. Healthcare Innovation Park in Bundang hospital which creates synergy by linking industry, academia, research and hospital was also presented.
Kun-Ho Yoon, the Former Executive Director of KHIDI explained current project for precision medicine in Korea, such as national biobank infrastructure, healthcare information exchange platform program, and precision medicine oncology. Another speaker from Yonsei University College of Medicine presented current data source for precision medicine. The speaker from Kyung Hee University presented regarding dialog-based intelligent medical platform.
Other Korean speakers from Basel University and Asan Medical Center presented about their special technologies such as laser osteotomy and robotic systems in surgery area. Finally, three Korean companies and startups spoke about their innovative ideas and products. Nanobiosys presented their real-time PCR technology, Juvic spoke about a novel drug delivery methods using microneedle, and NOUL gave a speech about their promising AI-based diagnostic platform in developing countries.
Outcomes and Further Actions
After the Symposium, the Swiss Korean Life Science Initiative meeting was held. The main supporters and key person from government, academia and university participated at this meeting. During the meeting, current activities and feedback on future discussions were introduced. Some of the Swiss speakers already had shown their interests to visit to Korea for Swiss Korean Life Science Symposium 2018. In addition, several individual meetings for future collaboration between Korean and Swiss researchers and entrepreneurs have been initiated during the symposium.
Presentations (pdf see below) and program:
Thomas Benzikofer, Member of the Management Board, Media Relations, Senior Project Manager ICT & Precision Medicine, BaselArea.swiss “Day.One – A new initiative for precision medicine in the Basel Area & beyond”
Kyung-won Baek, Hightech Research Center of Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Basel “Using a Computer-assisted and Robot-guided Laser Osteotome for Intraoral Mandibular Osteotomies”