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A Peek into 2024 from Innovation Leaders: 
Psychedelics, Partnerships, AI and More

5 minute read

The field of cell and gene therapy will continue to make headway. More scientific progress, more approved therapies and manufacturing advances will all move society toward better patient accessibility in the future. Early progress will continue to be driven by rare diseases.

Drugs currently used for the treatment of obesity and diabetes (GLP-1 agonists) will:

  • Become more mainstream and accessible – more socially acceptable, have competitive pricing pressure, and have more patients who need it to get it. 
  • Accelerate research in combinations, sequencing, and personalization – similar to the paradigm of how cancer treatments evolved
  • Expand into additional indications like cardiovascular disease, fatty liver, etc.

"There will be more attention/investment into much needed women’s health initiatives, much of it driven by the higher proportion of women in leadership positions. AI will continue to mature and settle in as 'co-pilots' for many roles, resulting in higher productivity – similar to how computers/email/internet greatly accelerated the rate of communication and doing business. High quality data, including data from biospecimens and electronic records, and especially data linking the two, will hold significant power and will be used to feed AI. And there will be big investments in longevity and aging research. "

-Angela Shen, MD

"While 2023 was challenging for many in the digital health space, there seems to be a silver lining for large academic providers like Mass General Brigham. Many companies and investors are looking for research- informed and clinically tested solutions to accelerate growth, and there is no shortage of those types of assets here at Mass General Brigham. I am hopeful that 2024 will bring additional deals that allow us to push the great work we do here into existing and new digital products and companies."

-Mike Freni

"We will forge two to three new strategic R&D alliances with industry partners and continue to grow our current alliances by bringing in new projects and shepherding them to outcomes.
Strategic research alliances are an open innovation model that brings together complementary expertise and resources between industry and Mass General Brigham to accelerate translational efforts in research and innovation. These collaborative programs are opportunities to partner multiple MGB investigators and projects with industry partners and range in focus from co-drug discovery, device development, new diagnostics and leveraging clinical data to inform and improve clinical trials. These partnerships cover diverse clinical areas such as immunology, immuno-oncology, cardiometabolic diseases and rare diseases.

A recent example of an alliance that we launched is with Novo Nordisk and Evotec called 'Lab eN2' (, focused on drug discovery in the cardiometabolic space. We are actively soliciting projects from investigators across MGB hospitals to bring in promising targets into this collaboration for a drug discovery effort."

-Seema Basu, PhD

"There is great promise for psychedelic drugs, a subclass of hallucinogenic drugs, whose primary effect is to trigger non-ordinary mental states including an apparent expansion of consciousness. They now are being developed to treat disorders like depression and anxiety.
 Psychedelic drugs are just beginning to approach commercial adoption, and the next few years may see demonstration of significant benefit. In particular, psychedelic drugs may play an increasing role in treating depression that is resistant to conventional therapeutics, and also be useful in psychiatric disorders well beyond depression. It’s important to understand that the therapeutic use of such agents differs from how conventional psychiatric therapeutics are administered. Conventional medications for disorders such as depression are generally taken by the patient at home, similar to how other drugs are taken. In psychedelic therapy, the agents are administered in a controlled setting by a therapeutic team. This team prepares the patient for the experience beforehand and helps them integrate insights from the drug experience afterwards. It appears that the effectiveness of the therapy is materially affected by the quality of the preparation and administration on the part of the therapist."

-Pat Fortune, PhD

"We will have a heightened emphasis on innovator development and growth that will lead to an increase in the number of individuals actively engaging in innovation across the entire organization. There will be continued efforts to build an inclusive innovation community, enabling new innovators and narrowing the gender gap within the innovation community. We also expect an increased emphasis on fostering an innovation-centric culture, which will create a stronger environment where innovation is encouraged and actively supported."

-Diana Schwartzstein

"We will continue to leverage technology to enhance services provided to MGB, including the potential use of AI in determining patent prosecution opportunities, patent marketability, and other revenue streams. We will also use our research and innovation data to define, enhance and grow opportunities to translate our research outcomes into commercialization prospects. Additionally, we will grow our contract compliance capabilities further to boost our analytics, revenue and portfolio management."

-Scott McNeal