Phacilitate Leaders World 2019, Miami

Guest Blog: Are we Facing a COGs Crisis?

Some insights from Phacilitate Leaders World 2019 by Stacey Johnson, CCRM

There is no denying that the joining of Phacilitate Leaders World and World Stem Cell Summit has resulted in a grand buffet of tasty treats to appeal to an assortment of consumers.


For the second year, the two conferences have attracted academics, industry, government, bioethicists, regulators and philanthropists to Miami, Florida, for talks, partnering, networking, awards and advocacy. This year’s event was reported to have 1,600 attendees from 40 nations, representing more than 200 organizations and 300 speakers.


With as many as seven tracks happening at one time, a new ‘Phacilitate:Talks’ area featuring a variety of interesting speakers, workshops, and more, you need to pace yourself and prioritize if you want to sample the right content. (Here’s the agenda.)


Because the advanced therapies industry is out in force at Phacilitate, the partnering and networking opportunities are excellent, but it’s also a great meeting to hear from industry leaders and government on where the industry is heading and how are big challenges being tackled on an individual (company) or more global basis.


Last year’s conference was preoccupied with reimbursement because of the FDA’s approval of Yescarta, Kymriah and Luxturna in the final quarter of 2017 (read my post here). At the formal launch to this year’s conference, super plenary chair Dr Anthony Davies, Dark Horse Consulting, announced: “The field is walking into a cost of goods (COGs) crisis.” He stated this is the next big challenge facing the industry and that we all needed to go back to work to solve this problem. (CCRM is doing what it can Anthony!)


Even so, reimbursement was still on everyone’s minds and lips. Michael Meyers, T.R. Winston & Company, discussed whether we should be paying for performance or reimbursing for value. He proposed amortizing payments for cell and gene therapies (CGTs) and creating a risk pool for stakeholders and payers to spread the risk around.


Dave Lennon, AveXis, says the high price of CGTs is justified. He stated that the US$4-5 million price tag for a CGT that provides a cure is reasonable given how much the health-care system spends to treat patients, with chronic diseases, over their lifetimes. As the price of their gene therapy hasn’t yet been announced, I guess we can make an educated guess now.


To read the conclusion of Stacey Johnson’s post, and for more insight from Stacey and the CCRM community, you can visit for happenings in the regenerative medicine world.



A huge thanks to Stacey for her guest blog and to CCRM for hosting the 15th-anniversary drinks reception at Phacilitate Leaders World 2019.


As Stacey has mentioned, the partnership between Phacilitate Leaders World and Stem Cell Summit is a Henry VIII scale buffet that brings the whole industry together. This will be built on even further in 2020 with the launch of Advanced Therapies Week. This new event comprises the two major conferences you know and love plus three new pillars:


  1. Technology marketplace – the place to see and feel the latest technology and product launches
  2. Developing future leaders - inspiring and connecting the people who will deliver the treatments of tomorrow
  3. Public engagement - education and outreach beyond ‘the industry’



Get more information and pre-register here