Kingston, Ontario – April 2, 2023 –Working to create and advance biotech, health innovation, and manufacturing, the Kingston-Syracuse Pathway held its second annual Cross Border Conference in Syracuse this week. Addressing topics from incorporating artificial intelligence in medicine to finding equitable ways to solve staffing challenges, members of both communities came together to discuss the present and future of healthcare.
“I want to end the day with not just great, but concrete ideas we will bring to fruition,” said Upstate Medical University president Dr. Mantosh Dewan, as he and Centerstate CEO president and CEO Robert Simpson opened the conference. “This is a time that requires strategic thinking and collaboration,” added Simpson.
Researchers, doctors, and leadership from both the Kingston and Syracuse communities heard from economic leaders about how the Syracuse area and New York State as a whole are investing in the region. Lotte Biologics GM Michael Hausladen gave an overview of the company’s takeover of the former Bristol-Myers Squibb facility; retaining 90+% of the workforce and adding new facilities, and plans to help startups produce their pharmaceuticals to encourage innovation.
Leaders from government and economic agencies discussed ways they were clearing the way to help entrepreneurs access resources to help them succeed. Donna Gillespie, CEO of Kingston Economic Development Corporation, Heidi Knoblauch, Acting Executive Director of the Division of Science, Technology, and Innovation (NYSTAR) at Empire State Development (ESD), and Malcolm Eade, Co-Founder & CEO of Spectra Plasmonics, a Kingston-based start-up participated in the Economic Development Panel to discuss the implementation of soft-landing programs for entrepreneurs to access opportunities on both sides of the border. “We have a lot of resources for businesses in New York that can be hard to navigate,” says Knoblach, who talked about how they can guide companies one-on-one to make sure they have the best available help.
Both SUNY Upstate Medical University and Queens University researchers showcased their work incorporating emerging technology into medical diagnosis and treatment. SUNY Upstate’s Dr. Tamara Jamaspishvili outlined her work using AI technology in digital pathology to improve and standardize diagnosing and treating cancer. “Grade is now an opinion, in the future, it will be a fact.” Dr. David Berman from Queens University explained his research, using data and computer analysis to more accurately grade bladder cancer diagnosis, leading to better treatment and outcomes.
CEO of Kingston Health Sciences Centre Dr. David Pichora and Upstate University Hospital CEO Dr. Robert Corona sat down to discuss both challenges and innovations their institutions are experiencing. “The whole system has to innovate,” emphasized Dr. Corona, as the pair answered questions on facing staffing shortages, encouraging innovation and regrouping systems post-pandemic.
The conference featured a pitch competition for both Canadian and US-based health science start-up companies. Five entrepreneurs presented a wide range of innovations; from devices to improve the IV catheter to new technology for diagnosing Parkinson’s disease. Vitruviae took home the top prize; the founder and CEO Sonia Sequeira, PhD outlined their development of broad-spectrum drugs to treat both cancers and viruses that would be immune to any mutation of the viruses and cancers they were treating. The 2nd place prize went to Triton Bio; a company that can quickly and cost-effectively isolate different microbes from one another, allowing scientists to access microbes more easily for their research and makes it possible to study even the most difficult-to-culture microbes.
Drone technology continues to grow in the Central New York region, and this year’s conference highlighted how CNY continues to position itself as a leader in the field. Col. Anthony Basile, COO of NUAIR, Steve Roberts from SUNY Upstate, Cliffe Sweatte from Crown Consulting, and Jeff Causey, founder, and CEO of Causey Aviation not only talked about how drones and other autonomous machines continue to innovate in healthcare but demonstrated for conference attendees how this new technology can safely and efficiently deliver medication, supplies and more between facilities.
The Kingston-Syracuse Pathway continues to explore ways these two regions can encourage collaboration and innovation; for more on the partnership you can visit investkingston.ca/ksp