careers and recruitment Achieving better healthcare through diverse lead...
careers and recruitment in a collegial environment, it happens organi- ...
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Preveen Nature Biotech Interview

Interviewed by Nature Biotechnology regarding my work in personalized medicine and molecular diagnostics
Published on: Mar 4, 2016

Transcripts - Preveen Nature Biotech Interview

  • 1. careers and recruitment Achieving better healthcare through diverse leadership Mari Paul Meeting the challenges of the new healthcare landscape requires new ways of thinking. A s the impact of healthcare reform legis- lation in the United States begins to be felt, the questions now being asked are: How therapeutics, where my lab was literally across a bridge from little outfit in an academic/medical-entrepre- neurial setting in personalized medicine and diagnostics. There were numerous occasions do we achieve better health for all under the cancer patients at the that I thought that this was near impossible new policies? How do we maintain progress Greenville Hospital and I should continue in the biotech industry.© 2011 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved. and maximize results in our current environ- System. This firmed However, I didn’t give up and continued to ment? How do we attain the best benchmarks, up my desire to dream until I visited National Jewish Health. information and experience for the future? continue to work The next big surprise was when I was invited Whatever the strategy developed in in a translational to join the faculty. I had given up on being Congress, executing it well and efficiently is research setting. My a professor when I joined industry and here more than half of the battle. Similar to the post-doc­ oral fel- t I am! chef who focuses on being opportunistic with Preveen Ramamoorthy lowship in genomics says his stint in the ingredients and streamlines kitchen systems at the Walter Reed MP: What success have you had so far? biotech industry taught and processes to produce a meal of great value him how to be creative, Army Institute of PR: Since our lab’s establishment in the first no matter what’s on the menu, drug develop- entrepreneurial, Research gave me a quarter of 2008, we’ve launched about 13 ers and healthcare providers bring varied product-driven and glimpse of the power high-complexity molecular diagnostic tests skill sets, superior critical paths and diverse deadline-driven, all at of using gene chips spanning pathogen diagnostics, genetic tests, experiences to communicate effectively the same time. to diagnose illnesses prognostic testing, companion diagnostics with a broader spectrum of coworkers and with a genomic and environmental monitoring. I also take advance the standard of treatment and care stethoscope. My interest in translating pride in the fact that we’ve established numer- for all patients. Increasingly, skills learned in research findings into tangible products led ous partnerships with diagnostics companies the biotech industry are being put to good use me to MedImmune. As I be­ ame involved c in custom assay development, product devel- in academic and translational research set- in developing vaccines and biologic drugs I opment, technology development, validation tings. One such chef who is pioneering new wanted to apply biomarkers in characteriz- and clinical trials. And most importantly, my connections between cure and care is Preveen ing and stratifying patients in clinical trials entrepreneurial dream of establishing a self- Ramamoorthy, director of the molecular but was disappointed that the resources for sufficient operation that contributes to the diagnostics laboratory and assistant profes- drug development far exceeded the resources bottom line of National Jewish Health has sor in the department of medicine at National to work on diagnostic markers. Missing the been achieved as well. All in all, my dream Jewish Health (Denver, CO, USA). feel of interacting with patients and physi- of making personalized medicine accessible, cians and feeling a call to work for a nonprofit implementable and useful to patients through Mari Paul: You transitioned from a biotech with a social entrepreneurial mission landed molecular diagnostics has had a good begin- company to a research and teaching hospital. me at National Jewish Health. The institu- ning. How did that come about? tion’s unique translational research ecosystem Preveen Ramamoorthy: Ever since I was and the passion to implement personalized MP: What attributes did you develop in bio- in high school I had dreamt of becoming a medicine into routine clinical practice led me tech that helped? medical researcher and working with patients to believe that this was the place to carry out PR: I learned how to be creative, entrepre- as well. As my education progressed into my vision of being a social entrepreneur in neurial, quick on my feet, product-driven and my Master’s in medical microbiology I was personalized medicine. deadline-driven—all at the same time! already in a translational research environ- ment, studying and working with MDs. I MP: Were there surprises along the way in MP: So you’ve been at it for a couple of years found that to be very satisfying and engag- your career path? now. Can you tell yet if the ‘bench-to-clinic’ ing, and continued on to my PhD in cancer PR: My career path was predictably progress- transition really happens? ing until I reached MedImmune. My stay in PR: In an environment such as National Mari Paul is at Life Science Leaders, the Bay Area inspired me to think out of Jewish Health where bench and clinical San Francisco, California, USA. the box, follow my heart and take chances. researchers, physician-scientists and diagnos- e-mail: During this time, I dreamt of starting my own tics folks like me co-mingle and collaborate nature biotechnology volume 29 number 7 july 2011 665
  • 2. careers and recruitment in a collegial environment, it happens organi- more resources towards further research and be tackled by innovations in rapid pathogen cally. The key is to establish a translational innovation. diagnosis, early detection and prognosis of research environment such as ours with a disease and companion diagnostic tests to robust patient population, top-notch basic MP: As you build your group inside a research stratify patients for toxicity and efficacy. and clinical researchers, a biorepository and institute, what types of people would you All of these innovations must be driven by all of the cutting-edge diagnostics facilities— look for from biotech (at what level, in what out-of-the-box business models like public- imaging and minimally invasive diagnosis, functions, etc.) and how would you train and private partnerships. In my view, institutions advanced clinical diagnostics capabilities, advise them? such as National Jewish Health bring to the genomics, proteomics and metabolomics PR: Most of the people that I hire from biotech table the clinical and disease expertise and discovery capabilities. already get it and need very little training. It’s patient samples that no technology, diag- more an issue of passion and commitment nostic or drug development company has, MP: Could you shed some more light on any than training individuals for this role. I look but we don’t have the regulatory expertise, shift in thinking you’ve experienced: parts that for people who share the vision of translat- diagnostic technologies or drug molecules. fit and those that didn’t; any new drivers you ing research into tangible products such as Hence, a synergistic collaborative model will have adopted; as well as what skills you brought molecular diagnostic tests, who are interested contribute enormously to lowering the cost from biotech that have been effective? in constantly innovating, and who crave serv- of innovation; all of which will lead to cost PR: The skills that I brought from biotech ing patients. avoidance and lowering of healthcare costs would be innovation, product development while providing value to the patients and the and experience in an FDA-regulated environ- MP: Where do you hope this will lead in entire healthcare ecosystem. ment, but I’ve always seen harmony between addressing future needs in medical care?© 2011 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved. translational research, medicine and busi- PR: The age of genomic medicine has dawned MP: Thank you, Preveen. That sounds like a ness. I believe innovating and creating value and molecular diagnostics is going to need good goal for all of us to pursue. for my customers (physicians, patients and plenty of bioinformatics integration. I’m in health maintenance organizations) are driv- the process of building that capability in our COMPETING FINANCIAL INTERESTS ers to financial success, which in turn drives institution. Rising healthcare costs can only The author declares no competing financial interests. 666 volume 29 number 7 july 2011 nature biotechnology

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