COTA Expands Life Sciences Team By Bringing On Key Hire, Shariq Alavi

Shariq AlaviIn our ongoing mission to bring clarity to cancer care, COTA is proud to share a new addition to our growing team — Shariq Alavi. He joins COTA as a new Vice President of Life Sciences. 

As COTA continues to expand our real-world data partnerships and research with life sciences organizations, Shariq will play a critical role in ensuring broader adoption of the highest caliber real-world data in order to accelerate drug development and bring new products to the cancer patients who need them most.

Prior to COTA, Shariq served in a variety of roles in the life sciences and technology sectors. Most recently, he spent more than a decade leading business development at Cytel, the largest provider of statistical software and advanced analytics for clinical trial design and execution. With more than 20 years of experience and deep knowledge of clinical development, genomics, biostatistics, and data sciences, Shariq brings a well-rounded background that will further empower COTA to continue its growth trajectory in 2021.

Shariq earned a master’s in public health from San Diego State University, and a bachelor’s in biology and history from the University of Minnesota. Learn more about Shariq Alavi below. 

What excites you about joining COTA?

My genuine interest in COTA is that the use of innovative techniques and medical expertise is being applied to certain histologies. The group seems open to new ideas, and applying ethical approaches to ensure strong clinical real-world data to accelerate our client’s drug development and approval path. In sum, a group that really wants to improve patient care.

How will you uniquely help bring clarity to cancer care in your new position?

There are various uses for real-world data in the drug development process. Understanding the diversity of real-world data and how best it can be utilized today is important so that we can exceed client expectations. If I can work with our talented team and illuminate how our product and data sources with analytical insights can assist our client’s clinical development paths, that will be fulfilling. 

With a fresh year ahead of us, what are you most excited for in 2021 as it relates to real-world data (RWD) and oncology-specific innovation?

There is a lot of potential to use RWD in cancer clinical trials. The number of papers that are being published and studies that are being conducted are growing year to year, and this clearly means there is a need to use external data to ensure these studies are positioned for success. Global regulatory agencies, from FDA to CDMA, are open to using supportive data for cancer studies. If we continue to focus our strengths at COTA in data quality and analytics, we will be well positioned to support leading life sciences and provider partners in driving clarity in cancer care and treatment.

What are some of the major trends in oncology clinical development and RWD you foresee in 2021 and beyond?  

There are interesting abstracting methods being used on various sources such as wearables, electronic health record, claims data, genomics and labs. A major trend is moving to decentralized trials and patient-reported outcomes for clinical trials due largely to the pandemic. Patient enrollment and keeping patients in a study will be a challenge. This makes real-world electronic health record data and assays from various sources far more valuable in that we can really help understand the longitudinal outcome of a patient.

And finally, we know you’re in a band. Tell us what you play.

I play bass guitar and love to collaborate with musicians. It’s cosmic when ideas come together and get a tune out that is relatable for listeners. I have a band that I think we are going to rename, here in San Jose, and practice in a dingy garage! Hopefully I will be back at it again playing local bars and farmers’ markets in the months to come.