Using Business Principles to Cure Diseases

Date and Time
Thursday, October 22, 2015
6:00pm— 8:00pm
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Join David Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, MSc (Penn Med ’13/Wharton ’15) as he discusses his journey to cure his disease and lessons learned around applying business principles outside of the traditional business world. 

779.jpgUsing Business Principles to Cure Diseases: A Penn Med/Wharton Alum's Journey to Cure His Disease and Dozens More  with David Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, MSc (Penn Med ’13/Wharton ’15)

Sponsored by the Wharton Health Care Management Alumni Association and the Wharton Club of Philadelphia

Date: Thursday, October 22, 2015

Time: 6:00 – 6:30 pm Registration / Networking
6:30 – 8:00 pm Discussion with more networking to follow

30 South 17th Street, 12th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Cost: Current WHCMAA members (plus one guest): $35 per person
Non-members: $45 per person

Hors d'oeuvres and beverages included

Register: Click here to register

Wharton Club of Philadelphia members can register here

David Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, MSc, a member of Forbes' 2015 30 Under 30 List in Healthcare, is battling a deadly illness as a physician, researcher, entrepreneur, and patient. Dr. Fajgenbaum became ill with idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease (iMCD) in 2010, spent five months hospitalized with multiple organ system failure, had his last rites read, and needed 7-agent combination chemotherapy to survive and return to medical school. When he nearly died during a subsequent relapse, he decided to dedicate his life to advancing research and treatments for iMCD through establishing the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network (CDCN) and conducting his own research during his last year of medical school. 

David quickly observed that the greatest hurdles in the way of finding a cure were actually not medical problems -- they were business problems, such as a lack of an overarching strategy, limited collaboration, inefficient use of tissue samples and funding, and a siloed research funding model. Research organizations typically first raise money and then invite individual researchers to apply to use that funding how those researchers see fit. In contrast, the CDCN built a community of 300+ experts, crowd-sourced among the global community to prioritize an international research strategy, then recruited experts from around the globe to conduct the prioritized projects, and engaged the community of over 3,000 patients and loved ones throughout every step of the entire process. 

David and his team have made a great deal of progress for Castleman disease. In fact, their research has completely flipped the previous understanding of iMCD on its head. But they still have important work to do to understand what is causing the immune system activation in order to improve treatments and survival for patients like David, and they are engaging the Wharton and Penn Med communities to help:

He is now 20 months since his last relapse, but the clock is ticking. He will share lessons learned around applying business principles outside of the traditional business world and how to change the status quo while living on borrowed time with a ticking timebomb.

About David Fajgenbaum

David Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, MSc (Penn Med'13, Wharton'15) is a Research Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania and the co-founder and Executive Director of the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network (CDCN), a global network accelerating research and treatment discovery for Castleman disease. Dr. Fajgenbaum's research published in Blood caused a paradigm shift in how CD is researched and treated. Along with Wharton MBA and Penn Med classmates, he's developed an innovative approach to medical research that is more strategic, collaborative, and outcome-focused. For his work, Dr. Fajgenbaum was recently named a member of Forbes Magazine's 30 Under 30 list for Healthcare and the 2015 "RARE Champion of Hope - Science" award winner. He received an MBA from The Wharton School, an MD from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, a Masters in Public Health from the University of Oxford, and a BS from Georgetown University.
About the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network (CDCN)

The CDCN is a global initiative dedicated to accelerating research and treatment for Castleman disease (CD) to improve survival and develop a cure for all patients. We work to achieve this by facilitating collaboration among the global research community, mobilizing resources, strategically investing in high-impact research, and supporting patients and their loved ones. More information at:

Castleman disease (CD) describes a group of 3 inflammatory disorders that vary from a single enlarged lymph node with flu-like symptoms to life-threatening multiple organ failure due to immune system attack. CD is as rare as ALS. The 'multicentric' subtype of CD is more deadly than lymphoma, prostate cancer, and breast cancer. 

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