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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Bayer panel unveils strategies for addressing the changing needs of cancer patients

Health Industry Hub | March 22, 2024 |

Pharma News: Bayer declared its intention to emerge as one of the leading oncology companies globally as the ‘media day’ panel kicked off. Contributors to the discussion included Christine Roth, Head of Oncology Strategic Business Unit at Bayer Pharmaceuticals; Merel Hennink, a resilient patient advocate and Dominik Ruettinger, Senior Vice President and Head of Research & Early Development for Oncology at Bayer Pharmaceuticals.

Ms Roth elaborated on Bayer’s strategic roadmap, emphasising the enhancement of existing therapies and the pursuit of novel treatment combinations. The company is developing both efficacious and “kinder” oncology medicines that are more tolerable for chronic use.

“We seek to expand today’s toolkit,” she explained, “by exploring better ways to deliver traditional therapies like antibodies, radiation therapy, and immuno-oncology. But it’s not just about innovation in drugs; we’re also focused on novel ways to screen patients and enhance companion diagnostics.”

She added “We are focusing on tumour types with the highest unmet medical need, with a keen focus on GI cancers like colon cancer, GU cancers like prostate cancer, and also lung cancer.”

The heart of the discussion lay in the lived experience shared by Ms Hennink who was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer in her 40s.

“To have a diagnosis at a young age, it’s devastating,” Ms Hennink shared with raw honesty. “But precision medicine has kept me alive for nearly 10 years. Now, it’s about living with cancer, not just surviving.”

Mr Ruettinger echoed Ms Hennink’s sentiments, emphasising Bayer’s commitment to patient-centric innovation.

“We’re listening to patients like Merel,” he affirmed. “We’re witnessing a shift in patient demographics, with more early-onset cancers. Our focus is on breakthroughs, not just incremental benefits.”

The discussion delved deeper into Bayer’s research initiatives, with Mr Ruettinger highlighting the importance of collaborative partnerships and strategic alliances.

“Our portfolio is built on academic collaborations, platform innovations, and strategic business partnerships, including with Vividion, Aignostics, Broad Institute of MIT/Harvard” he explained. “Together, we’re driving oncology research forward.”

Ms Roth highlighted Bayer’s commitment to global access, stating, “All of this innovation means nothing if it can’t reach patients. From candidate selection to regulatory engagement, we’re ensuring equitable access to breakthrough treatments.

“Last year, we were recognised by Access to Medicines Index with the ranking in the top 10 for the efforts we put into access to medicines.”

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