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2 November, 2021 | 5:00pm - 7:00pm CET

At our first Global LifeTalk experts, scientists and visionaries come together to explore how we can foster innovation to define and improve healthcare systems in order to make them more sustainable for the future.

To celebrate 125 years of innovative ideas, we're hosting our LifeTalks to challenge the future of healthcare an innovation.

Join the conversation and celebrate new ideas as we explore how to foster innovation for patients and improve healthcare systems to make them more sustainable for the future. Subscribe to the Newsletter to hear about upcoming LifeTalks.

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Whilst COVID-19 has caused personal tragedies, it is also doing what pandemics did before: fostering creative disruption. The bubonic plague ushered in social, economic, and cultural changes in Europe, leading to the Renaissance, one of the greatest epochs in human history.

The recent crisis has shown how efficiently people can work together in the spirit of humanity. It took mere weeks from sequencing the COVID-19 virus until the first tests were available. COVID-19 sparked close collaboration between academia, industry, and the public sector. Scientific findings were published and online paywalls were taken down to provide free access to newly published insights. Moving fast on a “burning platform”, and leveraging new technologies like mRNA, humanity was able to combat the virus’ devastating spread.

Meet the experts, speakers and panelists

Find the event on social media:

Melinda Crane


Chief Political Correspondent, Deutsche Welle TV

Severin Schwan


CEO, Roche

  • Following a keynote speech from Lucien Engelen, Melinda Crane will moderate a panel discussion with Severin Schwan and our guest speakers, focussing on the topic of innovation.

  • There will then be a deep-dive discussion with four Roche speakers, who will share their experiences from the pandemic and visions for the future.

Interaction will be a core part of this event and we invite our audiences to engage by asking questions and participating in polls.

Lucien Engelen

Keynote speaker

CEO Transform.Health, Strategist Health(care) Innovation

Christiane Woopen


Professor for Life Ethics - Individuals, Institutions and Societies, University of Bonn

Jan Geissler


Founder and CEO, Patvocates

Kate Bingham


Managing Partner, SV Health Investors and Chair of the UK COVID-Vaccine Taskforce in 2020

Cindy Perettie


Head of Molecular Labs, Roche Diagnostics

Pierre Simon


Head of PT Manufacturing, Roche Pharma

Palani Kumaresan


Global Head of Research & Development Roche Diagnostics Solutions

John Young


Global Head of Infectious Diseases, Roche Pharma Research and Early Development

About Melinda Crane

Dr. Melinda Crane has given speeches and moderated events and discussions for a wide range of international organisations and firms. She is a frequent guest and commentator on German television and radio, and regularly analyses US policy for the news broadcaster n-tv.

An experienced TV anchor, she is chief political correspondent at DW TV and also hosts the DW talk show “To the Point”. In 2014 she was awarded the Steuben-Schurz Media Award for her service to transatlantic understanding.

About Severin Schwan

Severin Schwan, our CEO since 2008, brings a relentless drive for innovation and passion for personalised healthcare to his role. He joined Roche as a trainee in 1993 and has stayed with the company ever since. He is fascinated with Roche because "we can create significant value for society by saving lives and improving the quality of life of millions of people and their families."

About Lucien Englen

Lucien Engelen is CEO of Transform.Health and a Keynote Speaker. He is a Strategist in Health(care) Innovation for Center for the Edge Deloitte (Global), Erasmus University Medical Center (Rotterdam), Laurentius Medical Center (Roermond), HIMSS (Chicago USA) and Faculty Singularity University, Exponential Medicine (Silicon Valley USA).

Lucien works at the intersection of innovation and strategy and advises boards, governments, companies and professionals. His advice focuses on how to initiate change.

As the former founder and director of the REshape Center at the Radboud University Medical Center and advisor to the Board of Directors (2007-2018), Lucien has extensive healthcare experience. Thanks to his practical approach, he was able to identify and implement necessary changes in a sector that is, of course, bound by many rules.

Before that, Lucien had a career in acute care. Over the past three decades, it has brought him to the forefront of healthcare innovation in the Netherlands and beyond.

About Christiane Woopen

Prof. Dr. Christiane Woopen has been Heinrich Hertz Professor for “Life Ethics - Individuals, Institutions and Societies” at the University of Bonn and founding director of the Center for Life Ethics since October 2021. Before that, she was Professor of Ethics and Theory of Medicine at the University of Cologne, where she was Director of the inter-faculty Cologne Center for Ethics, Rights, Economics, and Social Sciences of Health (ceres).

In addition to leading national and international research projects, she is involved in the field of policy advice, including as Chair of the German Ethics Council (2012-2016), President of the Global Summit of National Ethics Councils (2014-2016), and until 2017, as a member of the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee, 2018 - 2019 as co-spokeswoman for the Federal Government's Data Ethics Commission and from 2017 to 2021 as Chair of the European Ethics Council (EGE).

Woopen is a holder of the Federal Cross of Merit 1st Class and a member of several academies of science (NRW, BBAW, Academia Europaea).

About Jan Giessler

As a CML patient since 2001, Jan co-founded the patient advocacy organisations LeukaNET, European Cancer Patient Coalition, CML Advocates Network, Acute Leukemia Advocates Network and Workgroup of European Cancer Patient Advocacy Networks (WECAN).

He was Director of the European Patients’ Academy (EUPATI) and manages the German EUPATI platform. Jan represents patient perspectives in committees e.g., in the EU Cancer Mission Assembly, European Cancer Organisation, EHA, EuroBloodNET, ISPOR, iCMLf, German National Decade Against Cancer and the Ethics Committee of the Bavarian Chamber of Physicians.

He is CEO of Patvocates, a think tank, consultancy and social enterprise on patient advocacy, health policy and patient engagement in research. He is work package leader in the IMI big data projects HARMONY and HARMONY-PLUS.

About Kate Bingham

In her 30 years at SV, Kate’s biotech investments have resulted in the launch of six drugs for the treatment of patients with inflammatory and autoimmune disease, and cancer.

Kate co-leads SV’s biotech franchise which has a long history of building high value, successful new companies developing transformational new medicines and bringing drugs from discovery to market. Kate played an active role in setting up the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF) and serves on the DDF Investment Committee.

In May 2020 Kate was appointed Chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce reporting to the Prime Minster to lead UK efforts to find and manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine on a six month engagement, stepping down as Chair in December 2020. On December 8th 2020 the UK started COVID-19 vaccinations - the first Western country to do so.

She was awarded a DBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2021 for services to the procurement, manufacture and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

Outside of SV, Kate serves on the Board of the Francis Crick Institute and won the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by the BioIndustry Association UK in January 2017.

About Cindy Perettie

Cindy Perettie assumed the role as Head of Roche Diagnostic Molecular Lab Customer Area in 2021 with a focus on PCR Systems and Testing, Sequencing Systems, and Testing. Prior, Ms. Perettie was the CEO of Foundation Medicine, a member of the Roche Group.

Ms. Perettie is passionate about improving the care of cancer patients globally and brings more than two decades of scientific and commercial experience with global biopharmaceutical organisations. Prior to joining Foundation Medicine, Ms. Perettie served as Senior Vice President in global oncology product strategy for Roche Pharma’s Oncology unit, where she led one of the largest global oncology portfolios in the industry.

Ms. Perettie holds an MBA in marketing and finance from St. Mary’s College of California and received her bachelor’s degree in biology, with a minor in chemistry from State University of New York College at Potsdam.

About Pierre Simon

Pierre Simon is the Head of PT Manufacturing at Roche Pharma, based in Basel, Switzerland.

He joined Roche in 2020 and oversees the Internal Manufacturing Network consisting of 11 sites in six countries.

Prior to this role, Pierre was the Global Head of Market Access Operations at Novartis and Global Head of Biologics Drug Substance Operations. Pierre brings more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industry in Switzerland, Austria, and France, in the areas of manufacturing, quality and market access.

Pierre holds a doctor’s degree in Pharmacy from the Louis Pasteur University, Strasbourg.

About Palani Kumaresan

Palani Kumaresan is the Global Head of Research & Development for Roche Diagnostics Solutions covering biomarkers, analytics, software and instrumentation across all disease areas and technologies.

Over the past 10 years, Palani has held several roles of increasing responsibility within Roche Diagnostics across the global organisation, Europe, the U.S. and Latin America. Prior to joining Roche, Palani worked within management consulting focusing on the healthcare sector.

Palani has a Ph.D. in the area of applied biochemistry and a Master of Science in engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

About John Young

John Young joined Roche in 2014 and oversees infectious disease programmes in three major areas: chronic hepatitis B virus infection, respiratory viruses, and novel antibiotics.

Prior to Roche, John was a Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. His academic research focused on virus-and bacterial-host interactions.

John is the recipient of the American Society for Microbiology's Eli Lilly and Company-ELANCO Research award. He was the founding Editor-in-Chief of PLoS Pathogens and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

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