As we work to find new and less-toxic treatments for pediatric cancers, we know that smarter research funding is just one part of the solution. Long-term solutions require a seismic shift in the existing pediatric drug development process. This change demands the strategic collaboration of all the players in the pediatric cancer ecosystem, including science, academia, regulatory, funding and, importantly, pharmaceutical industry leaders.
One of the unique ways we ensure all critical voices are heard is through our Industry Advisory Council (IAC). This distinctive 15-member panel of volunteer leaders from global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and clinical research organizations champion CureSearch and pediatric cancer programs within the drug development industry. IAC members also review potential research projects, offering unique insight and guidance around the needs and potential pitfalls emerging treatments might face in the drug development process.
“As the drug makers, the members of the Industry Advisory Council are a vital part of the conversation – their input, perspective and guidance strengthens our laser focus on drug development,” said Kelli Wright, CureSearch National Director of Strategic Initiatives. “Just like doctors and nurses on the front line in the hospital, our IAC members are the people fighting for our kids within the industry. We would be even further behind in finding new drugs for kids without them.”
We are grateful to our IAC members for their leadership and passion as they work to accelerate the pace of pediatric drug development. This National Volunteer Week, we’re proud to spotlight two incredible IAC members, Dr. Elly Barry and Dr. Jeffrey Skolnik, both pediatric oncologists by training who now, in industry, bring their critical perspectives directly into the drug development process.
Elly Barry, MD MSSc, Senior Medical Director, Global Clinical Lead for Pediatric Oncology and Xtandi, Pfizer, Inc.
“I oversee the development of our drugs for pediatric oncology indications. I get to work across our entire drug portfolio to determine which drugs have the most promise in children with cancer, and to work with the academic research and regulatory communities to bring these studies and treatments to pediatric patients,” said Dr. Barry.
“CureSearch helps to bring relevant stakeholders together to discuss the barriers that exist in pediatric oncology drug development, and come up with potential solutions. It is important for industry to engage the academic research and patient advocacy community to understand where the areas of greatest need are, and to learn how we can work together to bring our drugs to the patients who need them most.”
Jeffrey Skolnik, MD, Vice President, Clinical Development, Inovio Pharmaceuticals
“Working in the clinic, I had the opportunity to influence one child at a time. In the industry, I have the chance to help scores of children at once. We get too few new drugs to children with cancer, in too long a time, and it is my job to make sure we bring novel, promising medicines to kids with cancer as fast as we can, safely and ethically,” said Dr. Skolnik.
“The first step in bringing new medicines to children with cancer is to bridge the unnecessary divide between major pharmaceutical companies and pediatric oncology academics,” he said. “What I hope is that in the near future, children with cancer are treated with the same respect, attention, expediency, and most importantly, promising medicines with which their adult colleagues are currently treated, and given the same priority from our industry with respect to the importance of cure.
Thank you to Dr. Barry, Dr. Skolnik, and the entire CureSearch Industry Advisory Council for your leadership and dedication to accelerating the pace of pediatric drug development!
IAC members include leaders from pharmaceutical companies including Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Novartis and Bayer, biotechs including Day One Biopharmaceuticals, and clinical research organizations including PRA Health Services. To learn more about our IAC members, click here.