Meet Tom, Principal Outcomes Research Scientist, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR), Neuroscience and Rare Disease

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Tell us a bit about yourself!

My journey to Roche has been a diverse one. I originally studied sports science at Durham University before training to be a physiotherapist in Manchester, working at Manchester United FC along the way. I was then lucky enough to get a scholarship to complete a PhD in Health Psychology where I focused on developing and validating patient-reporting outcome measures (PROs). After working in academia both as a researcher and lecturer, I spent several years working as a consultant to the pharmaceutical industry, specializing in patient-centered outcomes research. Having worked with Roche as a client, I had always admired the commitment to patient-centered drug development and jumped at the opportunity to join the PCOR group in 2016. I joined Roche as a Senior Scientist and became a Principal Scientist in 2017.

In which Roche location do you currently work and what can you tell us about that location as a work environment?

I work in the Welyn Garden City office in Hertfordshire, just north of London. The office offers a very pleasant work environment and is light and airy. I often make use of many of the great facilities including the restaurant, gym and library. Being a new dad, I also appreciate the sleep pods and have been known to grab forty winks every so often. Welwyn is also well connected; it is only a 25 minute train ride into central London so I often meet friends after work in the city.

Why did you decide to join Roche and why at this location?

I decided to join Roche because of its commitment to developing life-changing medicines and its industry-leading pipeline. I had also met many of the PCOR team at conferences and knew that it would be a good fit. I wanted to live in the London area to be close to family and friends and the Welwyn office offers the best of both worlds; it is well-positioned for London but has the benefit of being close to the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside. It is also close to many international airports making it a great hub for travel.

What is your current position at Roche?

I am currently a Principal Outcomes Research Scientist in the Neuroscience and Rare Disease group. In my role I act as the lead PCOR scientist on several early- and late-phase molecules to develop patient-centered, holistic measurement strategies for our clinical trials. The molecules I support have clinical outcome assessments (COAs) as primary or secondary endpoints so I work with our clinical, regulatory and commercial teams to validate endpoints and generate evidence to support regulatory approval and market access. It is a global role, so I frequently travel to interact with colleagues from across the globe to ensure that our measurement strategies meet the needs of our international stakeholders. In my role as a Principal Scientist I have lots of opportunities to lead internal and external initiatives as well as mentor other scientists in the team. I genuinely love my job; each day is different and it is always exciting working in an evolving space, particularly in new neuroscience indications where we have an opportunity to lead the science.

How would you describe Roche as an employer?

Roche is an ethical employer that values its staff and encourages a good work-life balance. The company is quick to recognize individuals for their contributions and provides competitive compensation packages. Our open-plan office spaces inspire collaboration and we are encouraged to challenge and speak up; I believe this ethos is the reason that so many employees stay at the company for many years.

How would you describe the people working here?

Our PCOR team is friendly, diverse and highly collaborative. While we all have different backgrounds (a mix of psychologists, statisticians and biologists), we have a strong team ethos that allows us to support each other, share and challenge ideas, and maximize the value we bring to the company and patients. The culture is one of trust and openness and we are encouraged to speak up and challenge. We are also encouraged to be thought leaders and the team are actively involved in many external initiatives including ISOQOL, ISPOR and the C-Path PRO Consortium. We try and eat lunch together every day so it is easy to get to know each other on a personal level too.

How is your job connected to “doing now what patients need next”?

Our role in PCOR has a strong connection with “doing now what patients need next”. By developing holistic and patient-centered measurement strategies we are always considering what experiences are most important to patients (and their families) and how best to measure these in our clinical trials. We develop conceptual models of diseases through collaboration with patients, caregivers and clinicians and identify and validate outcome measures that best capture these concepts. Our work also requires us to interpret what the differences observed in clinical trials mean to patients in the real-world and what ‘value’ new therapies have to patients and society. I believe our role is critical to helping internal and external stakeholders unlock the value of our treatments.

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