COTA Adds New Life Sciences Leadership to Support Growth in Demand for Oncology Real-World Data

As we head into the second quarter of 2021, interest related to the use of real-world data to improve cancer care and treatment is on the rise. This uptick in interest and adoption of real-world data by life sciences companies and providers will be mission critical as findings show that delays of cancer screenings and treatments due to the pandemic are likely to increase the number of patients diagnosed with cancer and the severity of their diagnoses’ as well.

To support growing demand for oncology real-world data, COTA is honored to announce a new addition to the team – Paige Whitney. Paige will serve as Vice President of Life Sciences at COTA. She brings more than 20 years of business development experience, all of which has been specific to the
healthcare industry.

Prior to COTA, Paige spearheaded business development at Aetion for five years, and she is well-versed in both the value and complexities of real-world data and evidence generation. Before Aetion, Paige spent more than a decade at Premier where she also had the opportunity to focus on real-world data to improve patient care. Paige’s breadth of experience coupled with her deep knowledge of healthcare data will allow her to drive forward COTA’s vision to bring clarity to cancer care for all patients.

Learn more about COTA’s latest leadership hire, Paige Whitney, below… 

What excites you about joining COTA?

Hands down it is the chance to contribute towards COTA’s mission. The idea that I can bring forth a solution to our partners to accelerate drug development – and help ensure that cancer patients are getting the optimal care –  is pretty cool. 

Is there anything unique about COTA’s approach to real-world data that surprised you?

Coming from Aetion, where “regulatory-grade” is paramount, I appreciate the fact that COTA pays a great deal of attention to the provenance of the data, ensuring that the dataset is fit for the purpose of the research question(s) at-hand and minimizes any introduction of bias. I was aware that COTA has a strategic partnership with the FDA, but I was surprised to learn that COTA’s data has been used in a successful regulatory submission to the FDA, thereby validating its high quality and regulatory-grade status.

What are the top three ways you see real-world data improving cancer care and treatment in next five years?

First – and perhaps the most widely discussed – is in contextualizing single arm trials. As acceptance of real-world evidence by regulatory bodies continues to increase, use of real-world data for external control arms will play an expanding role with accelerating access to treatment. This is especially important in oncology where it is often not ethical to have a standard placebo arm.

The second is in precision medicine – going from the very rigid inclusion/exclusion criteria of the clinical trial to being able to ascertain how treatments are affecting patients in the real world – as well as how targeted subpopulations are faring, and how outcomes differ by biomarkers and tumor genome.

Lastly, and this is a topic that COTA’s head of life sciences Viraj Narayanan has spoken about in this recently published article, is the ability for real-world data to ensure inclusivity in clinical trials and to allow insight into how treatments are actually working in underrepresented populations.  

What is your favorite COVID-era activity you have enjoyed in your free time?  

Although I was an avid tennis player in high school, I hadn’t picked up a racket in 20 years until this past summer.  It has been a much-needed outlet that has brought me so much joy (fresh air, exercise, and new friends!). Now my USTA team is hopeful to make it to states, and perhaps I can re-live my high school state champion glory days!