• An interview with Dr Leroy Hood ahead of the Debate
  • World leader in the field of genomics Dr Leroy Hood panellist The Astellas Innovation Debate™

Technology will enable healthcare to focus on wellness rather than illness, US bio-entrepreneur Dr Leroy Hood to tell
The Astellas Innovation Debate™

i-Genes: What the DNA and Data Revolutions mean for our Health
Chaired by Jonathan Dimbleby
Keynote Speaker: George Freeman, MP, Minister for Life Sciences
Royal Institution of Great Britain, Thursday 29th January 2015, 6:30pm
To be webcast live: www.innovationdebate.com

View an interview with Dr Leroy Hood ahead of the Debate https://youtu.be/ytpAuKAPBNw

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Chertsey, England - 26 January, 2015: Advanced technology has the power to transform healthcare, a world leader in the field of genomics Dr Leroy Hood, has said ahead of the 3rd Astellas Innovation Debate: i-Genes – What the DNA and Data Revolutions mean for our Health, taking place on Thursday 29th January 2015 at the Royal Institution of Great Britain.

Organised and funded by Astellas -- a progressive pharmaceutical company that explores the frontiers of scientific discovery to translate new knowledge into innovative, reliable medicines -- the Astellas Innovation Debates are a series of annual events that bring together world leading experts to discuss the role of innovation in solving some of the greatest challenges of our time. 

Dr Hood is the latest internationally recognised expert to join the debate panel, bringing a lifetime’s expertise in biotechnical innovation, including the Automated DNA Sequencer that made the Human Genome Project possible.

Now President and co-founder of the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, Dr Hood has long argued a complete picture of human health requires genetic information, but also a lot more.

“It is really critical if you want to understand the entire health picture of individuals -- that you need to map their genomes -- but you also need to evaluate the impact of the environment on their chemistry. And measuring the proteins and the metabolites in the body chemistry is what could lead to us optimising wellness and minimising disease.”

Dr Hood is already testing his vision of healthcare underpinned by routine blood monitoring and fitness band readings in a 10-month pilot project with 107 volunteers that was launched in March 2014. His ambition is to expand this “Wellness” project to follow the health of 100,000 participants, including volunteers from Europe.

Ultimately, personalised medicine will make healthcare more effective and less expensive, he says.

“The current health system waits until you are ill before treating you, and that’s far too late. The idea I’m pushing is that we can develop early diagnoses and therapeutics that can divert people away from a disease trajectory back to a wellness trajectory.

“Make no mistake, this is a big paradigm change, and people often overestimate how long it will take to make this kind of change, so it is extremely timely that Astellas is holding this Innovation Debate, to raise some of the key issues that will need to be addressed.”

Ken Jones, President and CEO of, Astellas Pharma EMEA, who organise and fund the Astellas Innovation Debate, commented:
“Now in its third year, The Astellas Innovation Debate is one of the few collaborative platforms where everyone - professionals in science, medicine and industry,  government and the general public -  can come together to really understand how new developments and innovations in science and technology will shape our future. 

“This year’s Debate is of critical importance as it will discuss recent breakthroughs in genetic medicine and smart technology.  As a progressive company we of course look forward to contributing to a future where we can develop personalised treatments fine-tuned to an individual’s genetic make-up.  But we also know that these innovations can only achieve their full potential if their wider implications are taken into careful consideration. That is why world leading experts, such as Dr Hood, will come together on 29th January to discuss the possibilities these new genetic insights offer and what they mean for our health.”

Among the panellists joining Dr Hood will be barrister, peer and Vice-President of the Patients Association, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Professor Lionel Tarassenko, Head of Engineering, University of Oxford and Professor Rolf A. Stahel, President of the European Society of Medical Oncology.  

Chaired by Jonathan Dimbleby, they will discuss:

  • Whether we can afford the full range of medicines personalised healthcare would demand
  • The implication for health professionals -- will a mass of data from new technologies create a new army of the worried well and swamp doctors?
  • With more of our health data digitised, how long before it falls into the wrong hands?
  • At what point does smart care become intrusive surveillance?    
  • Whether the effort put into these frontiers of medicine divert resources from the real crises of modern healthcare -- such as obesity, antibiotic resistance and neurodegenerative disease?

For further information, visit www.innovationdebate.com, or join the debate on Twitter (@Astellasinnov8   #iGenes)

For more information, please contact:

Mindy Dooa
Senior Director, Communications
Astellas Pharma EMEA
Mobile: +44 (0)7826 912 339
Email: [email protected]

About The Astellas Innovation Debate

The Astellas Innovation Debate, organised and funded by Astellas Pharma EMEA, explores the role of innovation in modern society.   Astellas is an innovative pharmaceutical company that explores the frontiers of scientific discovery to translate new knowledge into new medicines, aiming to develop treatments that are first in their class and/or best in their class to provide new standards of care for patients and their doctors.

This year’s event, i-Genes: What the DNA and Data revolutions mean for our health, at the Royal Institution of Great Britain on 29th January 2015, is bringing together influential and respected figures from the worlds of science, medicine, law and politics to tackle the major issues surrounding scientific innovation today and tomorrow. The aim of The Astellas Innovation Debate is to air crucial issues, draw positive conclusions and to move the agenda forward.

Previous debates have focused on innovation in a time of austerity, nurturing the innovators of the future and the issues of our ageing population.  Panellists, such as Nobel Laureates Professor Sir Andre Geim and Dr Elizabeth Blackburn, Professor Brian Cox, Lord Robert Winston, Professor John Appleby and Professor Mariana Mazzucato have tackled some of the real and important challenges affecting science and scientific discovery, dealing with concrete issues and drawing clear conclusions.

About Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd.

Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. operates in 40 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and is the EMEA regional business of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc. Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceuticals. The organisation's focus is to deliver outstanding R&D and marketing to continue growing in the world pharmaceutical market. Astellas’ presence in Europe also includes an R&D site and three manufacturing plants. The company employs over 4,500 people across the EMEA region. In 2013 Astellas was awarded SCRIP Pharmaceutical Company of the Year in recognition of its commercial success and pipeline development.