Trailblazer Takes Home Top Prize

Jamie Heywood wins the Lifetime Achievement Award at eyeforpharma Philadelphia

To be an innovator you need more than ideas. You need heart. The Lifetime Achievement Award winner at eyeforpharma Philadelphia last month has both in spades.

After his brother Stephen was diagnosed with ALS, Jamie Heywood changed career from Mechanical Engineering to enter the field of translational medicine. Alongside his brother Ben, he learned all he could about Stephen’s life-changing condition in a bid to slow down his disease progression.

Heywood’s determination dovetailed with his knack for entrepreneurship. He founded ALS TDI, a non-profit biotechnology company, which he led as CEO until 2007, building it into the world’s leading ALS research program, pioneering open research models.

In 2004 he co-founded PatientsLikeMe, with CNNMoney predicting that this will be one of the 15 companies that will change the world. Fast forward to today, it seems this prediction has borne out. PatientsLikeMe is the world’s largest personalized health network. 650,000+ people living with 2,900 conditions have generated more than 43 million data points, creating an unprecedented source of real-world evidence and opportunities for continuous learning.

In response to winning the accolade, Heywood said, “It was an incredibly surprising and wonderful honor, and was made even more special by the presence of one of our patients.

“Our North Star has always been putting the patient first, starting with my brother, Stephen. That’s not an easy thing to maintain over time, and the award is a wonderful recognition of the dedication and partnership between our team and the patients that we serve.”  

Jamie has stayed involved in entrepreneurship; co-founding three other companies: AOBiome, Genetic Networks, and TheSocialMedwork. Jamie and his brother were the subject of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jonathan Weiner's biography His Brother's Keeper and the documentary So Much So Fast.