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Meet Marty, Medical Therapeutic Area Lead Personalised Healthcare at Roche

Can you tell me something about yourself?

I graduated from Freiburg University in Germany with a degree in biotechnology and shortly after left for the U.S., where I completed my medical research training with the class of 2007 at Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as a Department of Defense scholar. I lived in the U.S. for almost 10 years, in Japan for 5 years, and worked for a number of leading pharmaceutical companies. I have been wanting to work for Roche since 2004, when my dad was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Back then, a Roche product had just been approved by the FDA but was not available in Germany. I distinctly remember arguing with the team of oncologists that we should try this new drug (remember, this was 2004) but it was already too late. So finally, in 2018, my dream came true and I am super excited to work for Roche – the company that is synonymous with “innovation”.

Please tell me more about your main project at the moment or in the near future – what is it about and what is your role in this project?

The project that currently consumes most of my time is the Shining Tower initiative and the implementation of the Roche SMART disease registry. The Shining Tower initiative aims to address current limitations in the German healthcare system, in particular when it comes to providing the best possible personalised care for cancer patients. We are facing infrastructure hurdles, data privacy hurdles, access hurdles, reimbursement hurdles, regulatory hurdles. With global support, the Shining Tower team is delivering crucial impulses in discussions with policymakers, payers, societies and regulators. I am contributing the medical perspective in these multi-disciplinary teams and, for the Shining Tower, I was instrumental in getting Germany on the shortlist of 10 countries that were selected for further investment.

How is this project / your contribution working towards our Personalised Healthcare (PHC) strategy?

This project is really big. And it’s a holistic approach. When we think PHC, we usually refer to the identification of predictive or prognostic markers, maybe combination therapies, or comprehensive genomic profiling. But PHC is much bigger than that. It’s about establishing a solid health-economic basis for the best possible patient care, from diagnostic technology to therapeutic intervention. And the Shining Tower project is exactly that. It’s about identifying the data gaps, the evidence gaps, the policy gaps and then systematically working on them. 

Why are you passionate about PHC?

The patient is really at the centre of the PHC vision. I like that. PHC has so many facets; it is highly complex and cross-functional and it requires expertise from all kinds of areas within the company. You can’t do it alone. It has regulatory aspects, medical aspects, legal aspects, access aspects… the entire company has to come together to make it work.

What would you tell people, why they should become part of the Roche PHC journey?

In my personal opinion, there is nothing more purposeful than making sure patients get the care that is right for them. Technology is constantly shifting the boundaries and what seemed impossible yesterday is within our grasp today. The Roche PHC journey is about pushing the envelope, and that’s what we do every day. I feel extremely privileged that I have the opportunity to be part of this… and I am sure you will feel the same.

Roche as an employer is…

…giving you all you need to fulfil your ambitions and achieve your dreams

…helping you build your strengths, fix your weaknesses

…making sure, you start your day with a sense of purpose and feel appreciated

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Looking back at the employees I have mentored over the course of my professional life, it is very gratifying to see that they all went on to have stellar careers.

What has been your biggest opportunity to date within Roche?

Briefing the German Federal Minister of Health on the electronic medical record and the potential of data from routine clinical care.

How would you describe working at Roche in three words?

Amazing, amazing, amazing

Interested in learning more about PHC at Roche? Click here for more information.

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