Message about my personal Vision:
While I have worked in academics and currently work in industry, I always remember that the patient is my ultimate stakeholder. Everything I do in my professional career is to make the lives of patients better. I start with the simple yet profound questions that patients used to ask me when I practiced clinical medicine:
To answer these questions, I have been involved in a number of projects that deploy cutting-edge genetic, genomic, informatic, and clinical technologies in both academics and industry (e.g., whole genome sequencing mining electronic medical records, computational modeling of genomic data, genetic-driven drug discovery, next-generation clinical trials). In every experiment or clinical study, I ask: How will this help discover new medicines to treat disease or new diagnostic tests to predict outcomes? For that is my ultimate goal: to improve the lives of people.
In my current role at Celgene (Vice President, Translational Development, Research & Early Development and Head, Inflammation & Immunology Thematic Center of Excellence), I work with a team of scientists and entrepreneurs who develop medicines to treat patients with immune-mediated diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and psoriasis. Our team uses the latest human genetic and genomic data to formulate novel therapeutic hypotheses, develop therapeutic molecules against those targets & pathways, and advance these molecules into humans to test clinical proof-of-concept.
In addition to delivering medicines that matter, I also believe strongly that the biopharma ecosystem needs to evolve to address a fundamental challenge: more than 90% of the compounds that enter clinical trials fail to demonstrate sufficient safety and efficacy to gain regulatory approval. Moreover, most medicines that are approved fail to deliver value in the real world, which leads to escalating health care costs. As a consequence, drug R&D is too expensive and new medicines often fail to reduce health care costs. Today, it is not enough to make new medicines; the biopharma R&D system needs to become much more efficient at making medicines that deliver unambiguous value in the real world (see Science Translational Medicine article here).
Please join me in this conversation, as together, we can help improve the lives of family members, friends and patients in our wonderful world.
Robert Plenge (May 2017)