(Pictured: Georgia sharing her story with her father at IQVIA’s 2019 European strategy and value conference)

IQVIA’s European strategy and value conference 2019, offered the ideal forum in which health experts and life science professionals discussed developments across the sector. 

Bringing together expert speakers and industry delegates, the day was focused on key challenges for life-science companies to optimise the value of their innovation and explore options to adapt for continued success.

Patient-centricity, and how it is evolving across the life sciences sector, was the driving theme behind the conference. 

Patient centricity is officially defined as the process of designing treatment around the patient. Commenting on why this concept was especially relevant for this year’s conference, Tim Sheppard, SVP & General Manager, North Europe, said: “We are at a point of inflection and change in industry through the way medicines are becoming much more personalised. Events like this one bring together industry, patients, clinicians and IQVIA to discuss the value of medicines and the strategies to get those medicines to patients as quickly as possible.”

The conference opened with a keynote presentation from Professor Joanne Hackett, Chief Commercial Officer at Genomics England. Throughout her speech, Joanne heralded the 100,000 Genomes Projects as a huge milestone project, one that has already significantly strengthened the UK’s reputation as a world leader in genomics. “The genomic revolution is happening in the UK and across the globe, we are proud to be at the forefront of it, but we wouldn’t be able to do it without our collaboration with IQVIA,” she added. By combining Genomics England’s detailed genomic and clinical data with IQVIA ‘s experience of data analytics and clinical data management, the collaboration, launched in 2018, aims at supporting faster diagnosis and better treatments, accelerating personalised medicines. 

Keeping the patient at the heart of decisions                                                         

In a moving moment, a seven-year-old patient named Georgia (pictured above) took the stage. Georgia is participating in a clinical trial for polycystic kidney disease (PKD) treatment. PKD patients are not simply passive recipients of treatment but are active participants of their kidney disease management. Georgia’s story proved to be a powerful reminder to pharma and regulatory attendees that a large part of a patient’s experiences with the disease happens outside of the doctor’s office.

Georgia’s inspiring story, of her bravery in growing up with PKD, was shared along with Dr Larissa Kerecuk, Rare Disease Lead at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. The clinician, one of Georgia’s doctors, spoke passionately about the importance of delivering better outcomes for thousands of other children like Georgia.

During the session, Tess Harris, a PKD patient herself and CEO of PKD Charity, stressed the importance of collaboration between providers, charities and pharmaceutical companies to ensure that lifesaving treatments reach patients.

An ever-shifting landscape

Another key session of the conference focused on how the pharma and biopharma world is changing, and how this means better outcomes for patients. Delivered by Andy Pollpeter, Senior Principal, Consulting services, at IQVIA, the session touched upon the importance of human data science as an emerging discipline that, “integrates the study of human science with breakthroughs in data science and technology.” The aim of which, according to Andy, is to ultimately advance our understanding of human health, enabling all key stakeholders to make more insightful decisions.

Other topics covered throughout the day included: gene therapy, real-world data to support single-arm trails and access to innovative medicines in emerging markets.  The second half of the conference was split into three separate tracks:

  • Addressing evidence gaps with innovation, which explore use cases of genomic data in drug development and launch, the potential of real world evidence for oncology with simulated data and DATA-CAN, the UK’s new Health Data Research Hub for Cancer
  • Translating innovative evidence to value, which focussed on new approaches to translating innovative evidence to value that are needed to demonstrate and align with healthcare providers and payers on the value of innovative treatments
  • Revolutionising customer engagement, which explored the challenges and opportunities that new technologies present in the evolving life sciences environment

Reflecting on the key takeaways of the conference, one industry delegate was eager to emphasise the importance of innovation and patient-centricity, saying that, “we need to think differently on how we are engaging with clinicians, payers, patients to continue to make a difference to people’s lives.”

For most delegates, this will not have been their first conference that discusses the importance of ‘patient centricity’ and will certainly not be their last. It is all well and good talking about keeping the patient at the centre of treatment, no one would object to that. But is essential that these events have meaning to them and, with examples such as young Georgia’s heroic struggle with PKD, this year’s strategy conference certainly had that in abundance. Unlike many conferences on the circuit, IQVIA’s succeeded in connecting the patient voice with industry delegates.