We have just completed the first-ever virtual ASCO Annual Meeting. It is amazing that ASCO was able to seamlessly convert, in such a short time, from a massive in-person meeting held every year at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago to a successful virtual meeting. Here at Ipsen, our biotech mindset helped us to adapt quickly and participate effectively in ASCO 2020.
Several overarching themes resonated with me. First, we need to continue to increase the collective understanding of oncology and advance much-needed treatments for patients while at the same time using our resources to support COVID-19 relief efforts. I was so impressed by the Presidential Symposium, particularly when Skip Burris, MD described how the McCormick Center had been converted into a care facility for COVID-19 patients.
Ipsen was thinking along the same lines when we donated more than $50,000 to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the largest food bank in the city. We wanted to support the people of Chicago, many of whom worked at ASCO or in related businesses, pre-COVID-19.
Another presentation that moved me was the opening address given by David Fajgenbaum, MD who spoke about being an HCP, a patient and a caregiver. He exemplifies empathy and unity and spoke movingly that this is our fight, not just an individual’s, and that “we can go far together”. Empathy and unity are so important especially during these last difficult days in the US.
Dr. Burris ended with “…we will continue to unite to conquer cancer because that is what we do at ASCO.” That is also what we seek to do at Ipsen.
Let’s hope COVID-19 is a distant memory at ASCO 2021 and we can see each other again soon.
What were your top takeaways from Virtual ASCO 2020?
Senior Vice President, Franchise Head, Oncology, Ipsen