Patient-First R&D: Why the patient experience should be at the center of clinical trial design

Cutting-edge research, innovative collaborations and new technology have catalyzed a truly transformative time in R&D pipelines. However, in their quest to yield data-driven insights, many organizations may overlook one of their most important stakeholders: the patient. Endpoints’ Arsalan Arif joins Dr. Roula Qaqish (Vice President, U.S. Medical Affairs, Oncology), a pharmacist by training, and Dr. George Cole (Senior Medical Director, Oncology), a surgical oncologist – to hear how AbbVie takes a patient-centered approach to R&D and why understanding the cancer patient experience is so important. They will also discuss how AbbVie continues to grow as a leading treatment provider and researcher in blood cancers globally, with a new state-of-the art facility soon to open in the heart of America’s biotech industry in South San Francisco.

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George Cole

George Cole

Senior Medical Director, Oncology, AbbVie

Dr. George Cole is senior medical director, oncology clinical development. His primary area of focus is the solid tumor program. Dr. Cole held similar positions at American- and European-based biopharmaceutical companies prior to joining AbbVie in 2015.

His surgical career spans many years with experience in academic and military medicine. He completed his general surgery residency at the Department of Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine and a surgical oncology fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute. Dr. Cole served as Assistant Regimental Surgeon, Executive Officer of Medical Company in the U.S. Marine Corps.

His diverse professional background has afforded Dr. Cole the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from physicians in other countries, under many different practices and medical settings. He is a firm believer in the philosophy, “See One, Do One, Teach One”. Throughout his career, he has enjoyed teaching and watching students grow as they develop their knowledge and skillsets.

For recreation, Dr. Cole is an avid alpine skier, and he enjoys cooking.

Roula Qaqish

Roula Qaqish

VP, U.S. Medical Affairs, Oncology, AbbVie

Roula Qaqish is the Vice President of U.S. Medical Affairs, Oncology, who oversees the entirety of AbbVie’s oncology portfolio and leads a team of more than 100 employees. In collaboration with clinical development and commercial organizations, Roula manages a broad oncology pipeline and commercial portfolio, understanding the interconnection between clinical development, lifecycle management, medical and commercial objectives, and regulatory requirements. Roula has been with AbbVie/Abbott for the past 17 years in various roles in Medical Affairs and Clinical Development. Notably, Roula successfully built the Medical Affairs organization at Pharmacyclics, now an AbbVie company, for its flagship ibrutinib program.

Prior to her role at Pharmacyclics, Roula led AbbVie’s clinical program for the first-generation therapy for the treatment of genotype 4 chronic hepatitis C virus infection (GT4 HCV). She has extensive expertise in strategy and tactical execution in both the US and Global Medical Affairs. In her time at AbbVie, Roula and her team have received multiple company awards for efforts across the GT4 HCV and ibrutinib programs.

Roula was an Assistant Professor of Pharmacy at St. Louis College of Pharmacy and a Medical Instructor at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, MO.

Roula earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Northeastern University and completed Post Doctoral Residency Training at UNC Chapel Hill with her Fellowship at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Arsalan Arif

arsalan arif

Founder & CEO, Endpoints News

Arsalan Arif is a news media entrepreneur who set out in 2015 to build his vision of an independent biotech news company at Endpoints News.