Some of my earliest experiences in the industry molded the course of my career and sparked an unrelenting desire to support drug discovery in oncology. One of the first research fields I worked in focused on a form of leukemia. At the time, the disease had an extremely poor prognosis due to low success rates with available treatments1, including bone marrow transplantation. I saw first hand the transformative impact innovative treatments could have as I witnessed a new drug come to market that provided a newfound hope for patients. That experience inspired me to dedicate my life to bringing new medicines to patients with other types of cancer who have not yet benefited from that level of breakthrough innovation.
Combine passionate people with such diverse expertise and magic happens. That is the reason I fell in love with biopharma and why I am certain we at Eisai have the potential to make the world a better place.
As part of this incredible team, I am proud and humbled to be involved in our milestone achievement for patients living with a type of endometrial cancer, a space in which there had been no innovation in more than 40 years. Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecological malignancy in the world2, yet doctors were left frustrated by the lack of treatment options for their advanced-stage patients. Through our strategic collaboration with Merck, which harnessed its expertise in immuno-oncology, and the opportunity to participate in a unique new regulatory pilot program, our teams were able to tackle that frustration and provide another treatment option.
Despite a number of impressive achievements in the oncology research industry within the past decade, there is great room for improvement. Only approximately 1 out of 25 drug candidates makes it successfully through the development process and becomes available to patients,3 and I believe Medical Affairs can help improve the odds. Medical Affairs can play a crucial role in supporting and improving the drug development process by informing study design and asset prioritization through Big Data and real-world evidence.