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Initiative Updates: CEO Roundtable on Cancer
The CEO Roundtable on Cancer welcomes two new members to our Board of Directors: Dr. Belén Garijo, Vice Chair of the Executive Board and Deputy CEO of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Dr. Peter WT Pisters, President of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Dr. Garijo, a practicing physician who specialized in clinical pharmacology, has been appointed as new Chair of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, effective May 1. She joined the company in 2011 as Chief Operating Officer of the Biopharma business and rose to President and CEO of Healthcare in 2015.
Dr. Pisters, a renowned cancer surgeon, researcher, professor and administrator, became President of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2017 after serving more than 20 years as a faculty member and medical director for the center’s expansion in metropolitan Houston. Prior to that, he served as President and CEO of the University Health Network in Toronto, Canada’s largest academic medical center.
“Doctors Belén Garijo and Peter Pisters share a passion for fighting cancer and their insights will be invaluable in our ongoing quest to eliminate this terrible disease,” said Robert Bradway, CEO Roundtable on Cancer Chairman and Amgen CEO.
The CEO Roundtable welcomes as a new member GRAIL, Inc., a healthcare company whose mission is to detect cancer early, and Chief Executive Officer Hans Bishop, who has more than 30 years of experience in the biotechnology industry.
Bishop founded Juno Therapeutics in 2013 and served as its President and Chief Executive Officer until the company was acquired by Celgene in March of 2018. Prior to this, he served as an Executive in Residence at Warburg Pincus. Earlier in his career, he was the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Dendreon, Inc. He also previously served as President of Specialty Medicine at Bayer Healthcare, Senior Vice President of Global Commercial Operations at Chiron Corporation, and Vice President and General Manager of European Biopharmaceuticals. He currently serves as the Executive Chair of the Sana Board of Directors and as a Director of Agilent Technologies and Lyell Immunopharma. Hans holds a BA in chemistry from Brunel University in London.
GRAIL is focused on saving lives and improving health by pioneering new technologies for early cancer detection. The company is using the power of next-generation sequencing, population-scale clinical studies, and state-of-the-art computer science and data science to overcome one of medicine’s greatest challenges with its multi-cancer early detection blood test.
With this proprietary technology, GRAIL is also developing solutions to help accelerate cancer diagnoses, blood-based detection for minimal residual disease, and other post-diagnostic applications.
GRAIL is headquartered in Menlo Park, California, with locations in Washington, D.C., North Carolina, and the United Kingdom. It is supported by leading global investors and pharmaceutical, technology, and healthcare companies.
Brian Alexander, M.D., M.P.H., succeeds Cindy Perettie as chief executive officer of Foundation Medicine, Inc., a member of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer and a Gold Standard accredited employer.
Previously Dr. Alexander was Foundation Medicine’s chief medical officer since 2019. He brings years of experience as a radiation oncologist at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center and an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School.
As of April 6, Cindy Perettie has taken on a new role within Roche Diagnostics.
Dr. Alexander has directed Foundation Medicine’s decision insights strategy to help more oncologists, both in community and academic settings, determine the right treatment, at the right time, for each unique patient. He also served as a White House fellow and Special Assistant to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, where he helped prepare the VA for the transition of administrations, worked to develop a public reporting system for quality, and served as a health policy advisor to the Secretary.
Foundation Medicine is a molecular information company dedicated to a transformation in cancer care in which treatment is informed by a deep understanding of the genomic changes that contribute to each patient's unique cancer. The company offers a full suite of comprehensive genomic profiling assays to identify the molecular alterations in a patient’s cancer and match them with relevant targeted therapies, immunotherapies and clinical trials.
Did you know that the CEO Roundtable on Cancer now reaches 36 states with a member company or Gold Standard™ accredited company?
That’s one of the updates in our Annual Report that went out by email at the end of January / first of February. It also recounts accomplishments of 2020 and highlights priorities for 2021 and beyond.
If you missed the Annual Report, you can find it here on our website.
At our Vision 2020 Annual Conference and Meeting, our Founding CEO Bob Ingram shared that the U.S. President’s Cancer Panel on which he is a member is looking closely at “Improving Resilience and Equity in Cancer Screening: Lessons from COVID-19 and Beyond.”
The Panel identifies high-priority topics, convenes meetings with key experts, frames possible recommendations, and submits a report to the President of the United States.
Ingram challenged conference participants to maintain Gold Standard accredited status. “The best thing we can do as the CEO Roundtable on Cancer members is to strive to be Gold Standard in our practices while encouraging others to join in and grow membership,” he said.
Read more or watch the video here.
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, operating under the name EMD Serono in the US and Canada, has been honored with the 2020 Dr. Charles A. Sanders Award for collaborative scientific research in cancer.
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has been part of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer since 2012 and has earned CEO Cancer Gold Standard™ accreditation since 2011. In 2017, the company partnered with Project Data Sphere to establish the Global Oncology Big Data Alliance (GOBDA) to fuel collaborations in oncology, data science, and regulatory policy.
We are grateful to all who participated in the CEO Roundtable on Cancer Vision 2020 Annual Meeting and Conference. It was a vibrant and collaborative forum that helped progress our shared mission of advancing cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
Leaders outline priorities for 2020 and beyond
Although it was the 19th such event, the Annual Meeting on September 22 was the first virtual meeting due to the pandemic and the first to offer a series of workshops aimed at a range of company leaders who could participate online. CEO Roundtable on Cancer Chairman Bob Bradway, also CEO of Amgen, led the session with a challenge and call to action.
“Amid all the uncertainty and disruption caused by the COVID 19 pandemic, some things have remained the same and one of them, sadly, is that cancer never takes a day off. We can’t let the distraction of the pandemic take our eyes off the unacceptable toll in terms of death, pain and suffering that’s caused by cancer.”
- Bob Bradway, Chairman, CEO Roundtable on Cancer
Dr. Andy Crighton, CEO of the Roundtable on Cancer, said the work of the Roundtable has not slowed down. He said five new members were added to the organization: Menarini Group, BeiGene, Daiichi Sankyo, Foundation Medicine and Alphanumeric Systems. We are reaching out to new sectors including financial and technology to build on a base of life science members. The expertise of these sectors is needed as we expand Gold Standard accreditation and seek to accelerate cancer research.
Crighton noted that the Gold Standard remains an accreditation and not an award. “An accreditation is earned and must be maintained. Therefore, you can be assured that a Gold Standard company still has the practices and policies in place even with a change in leadership,” Crighton said.
He announced the Gold Standard is being expanded to include well-being.
"The definition of well-being is how people think, feel and function on a personal and social level and how they evaluate life. Organizations can have a positive or negative impact on an individual’s well-being. Individuals with a strong sense of well-being are better able to withstand critical issues such as a cancer diagnosis so it is important that we build this into our Gold Standard to help companies move forward."
- Dr. K. Andrew Crighton, Chief Executive Officer, CEO Roundtable on Cancer
MaryLisabeth Rich, CEO Roundtable on Cancer President, congratulated Bristol Myers Squibb for its Global Gold Standard achievement and welcomed newly Gold Standard accredited organizations Anne Arundel Medical Center, High Point University, Huntsman Cancer Institute, and Memorial Hermann Health System.
She said the Gold Standard update includes an important focus on health equity, which will be incorporated in each pillar. This focus has inspired a new initiative to launch in early 2021 that looks to partner Gold Standard companies with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to accelerate our mission and extend accreditation benefits to communities experiencing cancer disparities. Since the meeting, the scope of the project has expanded to include Hispanic-serving institutions.
“We want to make the Gold Standard Pillars active and living in the HBCU setting so they are not just applicable to HBCU employees but to students and communities. The cancer belt in the US overlaps with the strongest geographic concentration of HBCUs. CEOs are equipped to do this because of the Gold Standard framework, because corporations have high impact and care about the communities where they live and work and because health is a priority for each and every one of our members."
- MaryLisbeth Rich, President, CEO Roundtable on Cancer
Crighton said another CEO Roundtable initiative, Project Data Sphere, is making great strides in delivering research results and data access. He said that in 2021 we “need to broaden the view of how we look at data and be able to incorporate new data with restricted access for a short period of time but then continue to look to put it into the open platform.”
Bill Louv, President of Project Data Sphere, agreed that his team is making steady progress getting more data on the platform. He said usage of that information is increasing and a reflection of productivity, the number of peer-reviewed journal articles based on platform data, is up to 87.
“That is dramatic evidence demonstrating that open sharing is a very effective model,” Louv said. But he warned that, “there are some headwinds here with increased concern about privacy, about IP, about cost of deidentifying data sets. We see some of our data providers becoming more reticent about sharing patient level data.”
He said PDS will take a leadership position in advocating for more sharing and reuse of clinical trial data.
“We provide patient level data in an open science platform. That is unique. The other platforms have accomplished great transparency and discoverability by bringing together meta data for most of the clinical trials that are sponsored in this country. There’s quite a path from discoverability via meta data to actually acquiring or getting permission to use the patient level data.”
- Dr. William Louv, President, Project Data Sphere
Louv also gave an update on the five PDS research programs that leverage data from the platform.
The meeting was followed by a series of shorter sessions focused on well-being, health disparities, data sharing and AI applied to measuring tumor progression. In a general session, Roundtable Founding CEO Bob Ingram shared about the work he is doing as a member of the President’s Cancer Panel.
Welcome to our newest member, Alphanumeric Systems, and their Chief Executive Officer Randy Trice!
Alphanumeric helps life science companies improve the HCP, patient, and employee experience with a digital transformation of the Healthcare Professional (HCP) & patient experience, global contact centers powered by AI and talent, omni-channel strategy, localization efforts, and more. It is a multinational company with offices in five countries.
Trice started at Alphanumeric Systems Inc. in a consulting capacity to develop its sales and market growth strategies. In January of 2018, he became CEO of Alphanumeric, and has restructured the company to focus on client expansion and to pursue a platform that emphasizes Life Sciences and Artificial Intelligence.
He began his career on Wall Street with Donaldson, Lufkin, and Jenrette. Trice then served as Managing Director at Refco Inc., where he ran the risk management group in oil and gas derivatives and served on the Natural Gas Advisory Board for the New York Mercantile Exchange. After leaving New York City, he was the President of several companies in Texas, including Contego Solutions and Source Inc., that specialized in information technology, IT outsourcing and unified communications.
Alphanumeric Systems and Randy Trice, Chief Executive Officer. Alphanumeric helps life science companies remove the friction from the HCP, patient, and employee experience. We do this by adding a digital transformation of the Healthcare Professional (HCP) & patient experience, global contact centers powered by AI and talent, omni-channel strategy, localization efforts, and more. Whether you are focused on clinical trials, acquisition, or adherence, Alphanumeric can help. We believe that no matter how great your vision, it is the people who will make that vision a reality.
The CEO Roundtable on Cancer started 2020 with a new leadership team and a new vision to take the Roundtable and its programs to the next level.
K. Andrew Crighton, M.D. has joined as Chief Executive Officer of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer and Project Data Sphere®. He succeeds founding CEO, Martin J. Murphy, DMedSc, PhD, who will remain with the organization as a member of the board of directors and chief executive of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer-China.
MaryLisabeth Rich arrived in mid-January as CEORT - President Gold Standard and Member Engagement.
Betty Whichard moved to the role of Chief Financial Officer, a position that Ken Lee held for many years pro-bono. We will continue to rely on Ken as a strategic advisor in the future.
The team is talking with Roundtable members, supporters and potential members to learn more about the latest challenges employers face in building a healthy workforce.
“One of the gaps we’ve placed as a high priority is health disparities,” Andy said. “CEOs through their personal visibility and their corporate profile have the opportunity to improve the health and well-being for their community as well as employees but we need to pivot from the approach we have taken in the past.”
Andy has 20 years of experience engaging business leaders to develop measures that identify the impact of the work environment on well-being at individual and organizational levels. He recently retired as chief medical officer at Prudential Financial, where he oversaw the health and well-being, safety and medical business consulting worldwide and led a strategic transformation of the business towards a more holistic view of health, including physical, emotional, social, spiritual, financial and cognitive well-being.
MaryLisabeth previously was Senior Vice President Development for the American Cancer Society Global Headquarters in Atlanta. During almost 15 years with the ACS and its foundation over two stints, she has been a catalyst for building relationships, forging partnerships, executive engagement, mustering resources and advancing investments across the organization’s portfolio.
She also spent nine years in Higher Education Philanthropy, playing an integral part in three capital campaigns totaling $600 million, and was the executive director for Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC). While at SRC, she developed and implemented communication and marketing in support of a $100 million annual research allocation operation among other accomplishments.
Betty joined the Roundtable and PDS in August 2018. Before that, she served as Vice President of Finance and Administration for The Medical Foundation of North Carolina, where she managed assets totaling approximately $315 million. She previously was Financial Manager of Foundations & the Alumni Association at East Carolina University. She also spent nine years as Chief Financial Officer, ERM and Operations Manager for 102 store locations for Trade Oil Co.
After Trade Oil Co. merged with WilcoHess in 2005, Betty served as the Director of Finance and Enterprise Risk Management. She also served as the General Financial and Administrative Manager for the Greenville, NC, divisional office. Betty has spent more than 17 years in public accounting serving a diverse clientele.
Robert A. Ingram, Founding Chairman of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, has been appointed to the President’s Cancer Panel, which advises the nation’s chief executive about barriers to progress in reducing the burden of cancer.
He will be part of a fireside chat at the CEO Roundtable on Cancer Annual Meeting on Sept. 21-22 in Cary, NC., to update us on the Panel’s work and gather input from us. The Panel, which was established by law in 1971, forms recommendations and presents them to President Donald J. Trump.
Mr. Ingram, a general partner at Hatteras Venture Partners, formed and chaired the CEO Roundtable on Cancer at the request of President George H.W. Bush in 2001.
Previously, Mr. Ingram was Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Glaxo Wellcome where he co-led the merger and integration that formed GlaxoSmithKline. Upon reaching mandatory retirement age of 60, Mr. Ingram served as the Vice Chairman, Pharmaceuticals at GSK, before becoming Strategic Advisor to the CEO of GlaxoSmithKline Plc.
Mr. Ingram is Chairman of the boards of BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Novan, a late-stage pharmaceutical company focused on dermatology, and Viamet Pharmaceuticals, a private company focused on anti-infective research. He also serves as the Lead Director on the board of Cree.
At the request of President Trump, Mr. Ingram will fill the remainder of a three-year term expiring Feb. 20, 2022.
There were 2 other appointments by President Trump to the Panel:
- John P. Williams, a breast cancer surgeon and medical director of the Breast Cancer School for Patients, and a clinical professor at the Institute for Biohealth Innovation, George Mason University.
- Edith P. Mitchell, a clinical professor of medicine and medical oncology in the Department of Medical Oncology, director of the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities, and associate director of diversity affairs at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University.
BeiGene and John V. Oyler, Chairman, Co-Founder and CEO. BeiGene started in Beijing and has expanded to be a global company. Its focus is discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative, molecularly-targeted, and immuno-oncology drugs for the treatment of cancer.
Daiichi Sankyo Inc. and Ken Keller, President and CEO. Daiichi Sankyo is a global pharmaceutical company with corporate origins in Japan. It provides innovative products and services in more than 20 countries around the world. With more than 100 years of scientific expertise, the company draws upon a rich legacy of innovation and a robust pipeline of promising new medicines to help patients.
Foundation Medicine Inc. and Brian Alexander, Chief Medical Officer. Foundation Medicine is a molecular information company dedicated to a transformation in cancer care in which treatment is informed by a deep understanding of the genomic changes that contribute to each patient's unique cancer. The company offers a full suite of comprehensive genomic profiling assays to identify the molecular alterations in a patient’s cancer and match them with relevant targeted therapies, immunotherapies and clinical trials. Foundation Medicine’s molecular information platform aims to improve day-to-day care for patients by serving the needs of clinicians, academic researchers and drug developers to help advance the science of molecular medicine in cancer.
The Menarini Group and CEO Elcin Barker Ergun. Menarini Group, the leading Italian pharmaceutical company in the world, has 17,640 employees in 136 countries, including the US in San Diego and Philadelphia.
COVID-19 immediately affected the conduct of ongoing clinical trials but it equally changed the way they will be conducted in the future, said speakers at the CEO Roundtable on Cancer online conference April 24 on “Maintaining Oncology Clinical Trial Integrity during the Covid-19 Pandemic.”
“Oncology trials represent an important subset of clinical trials,” said Dr. Mace Rothenberg, panel moderator and Chief Medical Officer, Pfizer. “There is the serious and life-threatening nature of the disease; the fact that a clinical trial may represent the best or only option for some patients with few or no other therapeutic options; they require special expertise in administration, monitoring, and management of acute adverse events or hypersensitivity reactions; and the use of advanced technology processing samples that cannot be easily performed outside of trial sites.”
There were three primary areas of discussion about trials amid the pandemic: managing patients in studies, managing data from studies, and interpreting trials with missing data and other challenges.
Speakers included clinical trial experts from industry, academia, and the US Food and Drug Administration who shared recent experiences. The audience was invited to pose questions and more than a dozen FDA staff attended the 90-minute panel to gather input and learn more about what’s happening on the front lines of research.
Within the US there have been wide geographic disparities in severity of COVID-19 and response to the virus, which makes trial operations challenging. But many shared accounts of positive results with telemedicine that will become a standard trial feature going forward.
“If there is a silver lining, it is that we are running a grand experiment concerning decentralized trials,” said Dr. Paul Kluetz, Deputy Director, Oncology Center of Excellence, FDA. “We have been interested in this for a long time, because they can show us efficiencies and can be quite patient friendly.”
Other speakers expressed frustration that regulatory agencies around the world do not agree on what trial modifications are permitted.
“Most of our recommendations at the moment have been based on internally coordinating across centers and within FDA and less of a coordination externally with the other regulatory bodies,” said Dr. Patricia Keegan, Associate Director for Policy, Oncology Center for Excellence, FDA. “That’s why I was particularly interested in comments about differences across regulatory agencies that are posing particular problems.”
Panelists agreed that some of the most pressing questions that remain include:
- How should missing trial data be handled? What statistical techniques should be used to address this?
- How do we assess the impact of geographic disparities because of the varying intensity and duration of the pandemic?
- How will we share information about tools and technologies that have been effective for remote monitoring and data collection?
- How should we view the so-called “period” effect related to the time before, during and after COVID?
- What should be site-level protocol deviations versus protocol amendments? Safety measures are being implemented without approval leading to compliance concerns.
- How do we always keep in mind the benefit to patients as well as their safety?
“We are in the middle of a grand experiment. What we don’t know yet is the result of that experiment,” Dr. Dave Reese, Executive Vice President, R&D, Amgen, said in summing up the conference. “What are the conclusions of the experiment? I believe it’s incumbent on all of us to really ask fundamental deep questions of what do we change permanently? There are many things that we must learn from this experiment.”
Most of the attendees represented pharma and biotech industries but government agencies, academia and others, including non-profits, also made up a substantial part of the audience.
Post-event surveys reflected that participants found the content important and they would likely attend a future virtual meeting hosted by the CEO Roundtable on Cancer. Discussion is ongoing about future topics for similar events.