D3D Meetup August 12: Motivation for Innovation

Author: Gabrielle Flora, Associate Director, BRC
Photo Credit: Nick Chicarielli, Graphic Design Intern
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“It’s been a little bit over 30 years since I gave my last presentation in this building,” said Rick Weiss, President of Viocare, Inc., last Wednesday during his talk at D3D: Data, Drugs, and Diagnostics - a Meetup hosted by the BioPharma Research Council at BellWorks in Holmdel, NJ. “I started my career in this building.” He was there to discuss innovation in healthcare, highlighting his web-based app focused on a new approach to patient-centered nutrition. He was joined by panelists Richard Purcell, President & CEO of Intellisante C3 Healthlink, and Anil Thomas, President & Founder of Journey Health Labs. The panel was moderated and introduced by Danielle Macario, Ph.D., Board Member of Schulman and Associates IRB.

Many in attendance were similarly connected with BellWorks, the site of the former Bell Laboratories which has sat empty for years. The Meetup brought together medical device innovators, inventors, investors, and those simply interested in the Emerging FDA Pathway for Healthcare Apps to stimulate collaborations within the industry.

There was shock, sadness, familiarity, excitement, and joy for attendees who were former employees, researchers, and visitors of Bell Labs. Now largely empty and eerily silent, the site was purchased by Somerset Development, a group reimaging and repurposing Bell Labs into BellWorks. The vision for the site includes a hotel, fitness center, grocery market, office space, retail space, restaurants, conference center, wedding venue, and more.

 Rick Weiss & Richard Purcell speaking with attendees.

Rick Weiss & Richard Purcell speaking with attendees.

“We’re working on a coworking space that’s also turning into an incubator. It’s called Vi,” said Chris Palle, Executive Director of User Experience at Wisdom+Craft, a consulting group working to develop partnerships and drive clientele to BellWorks. The space he refers to is a modern-chic cafe in the center of BellWorks that will eventually become a membership-based coworking space for the many businesses that will populate the building. “If you can,” said Palle, “imagine networking while you’re working in a very collaborative environment”

And that was precisely what the D3D Meetup did - networked in an incredibly collaborative environment. It was a treat for all to re-enter the once bustling and vibrant halls where groundbreaking research and innovations were made to again discuss groundbreaking research and innovations. “Collaboration is the key to better health care,” said Richard Purcell, President & CEO of Intellisante C3 Healthlink and another panelist at the event. “To have collaborative care is the key to moving forward in a paid-for-performance, outcomes-based medical system. We are transferring from a fee-for-service system to an outcomes-based system and that’s going to require collaborative care.”

 Rudra Dubey of Ontogenes & Anil Thomas.

Rudra Dubey of Ontogenes & Anil Thomas.

“The reality is we need to look at the whole person, be wholistic,” said Weiss. “We should collect biomarkers, genetics, metadata, dietary data, demographics, all together. That’s how you end up feeding things to the healthcare system, whether it’s research, clinicians, and ultimately to the consumer.” The point, it seems, is that there is a growing motivation among the great thinkers to collaborate across industries to foster a future of innovation.

"It was a great place to meet people," said Koshy Philip, Vice President of Business Development for AlphaClinical Systems, an attendee. Bringing people together to focus on collaboration for the future of healthcare apps was a wonderful opportunity for BellWorks to show its new self off. “It’s really an honor that we can be part of rejuvenating this building,” said Joanne Gere, Executive Director for the BioPharma Research Council.