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COTA to Accelerate Life Sciences Impact With Addition of Christine Kawiecki from IBM Watson Health

With more than 25 years of healthcare experience, Christine Kawiecki joins the COTA, Inc. team to support business growth as life sciences companies are increasingly turning to real-world data to accelerate drug development in a post-pandemic world.

COTA leveraged the first half of the year to build out a talented team of professionals who understand the unique needs of and solutions for life sciences companies – including key hires such as Miruna Sasu, Paige Whitney, and Shariq Alavi.

Prior to COTA, Christine worked at IBM Watson Health, Life Sciences, where she collaborated with customers to address their pressing real-world data and analytics needs. Before that, she held a business development role at PREMIER Healthcare Solutions where she focused on advancing real-world outcomes research studies, healthcare reform collaboration for life sciences organizations, and collaborations with hospitals and health systems.

At COTA, Christine will serve as Vice President of Life Sciences and will be focused on increasing the impact of COTA’s life sciences partnerships and accelerating the adoption of COTA’s RWD products and analytics. Learn more about Christine below… 

What made you decide to make the jump from an established corporation like IBM to COTA, an emerging leader in oncology real-world data?

COTA is actually the third high growth company I’ve been part of throughout my career, including my previous role at IBM Watson Health and the Explorys team I joined when I was hired six years ago.   I love the entrepreneurial spirit where everyone just digs in to do whatever it takes to ‘get the job done’.

With more than 25 years of experience in healthcare, what are some of the biggest and most surprising industry changes that you’ve seen?

Far and away, the most surprising change I’ve seen is the speed with which the COVID-19 vaccination was developed and approved.  I now want to apply that innovation and acceleration to Oncology drug development and COTA can be the catalyst to drive this growth!

How do you see the role of oncology real-world data evolving over the next decade?

This is why I chose to join COTA!  The real-world data that is necessary for Oncology research are often not readily available from traditional sources such as the medical record including biomarkers, genomics, tumor staging, lines of treatment and outcomes like progression free survival.  COTA’s combined approach of ‘technology enabled human abstraction’ enables deeper and more targeted data capture.  Furthermore, Real-word data is in the midst of a significant transformation as it is being used earlier in the drug development life cycle as we’re seeing with External Control Arms.  This can lead to better understanding of outcomes, more targeted treatment such as immunotherapy and potential label expansion.  Additionally, the types of Oncology RWD we’re seeing continue to expand to include genetic, environmental and lifestyle data that can be used to identify risk factors and who may be predisposed to develop cancer.

What lesson learned from the COVID-era are you adopting moving forward?

Greater appreciation for human interaction and touch – and embrace the slower pace!

Tell us your favorite hobby you’ve picked up during the pandemic.

As my husband and I transitioned to being ‘empty nesters’ with our three kids in college last fall, I combined my love of cooking and supporting food insecurity.  I volunteer with several homeless shelters and other programs that send healthy meals to those in need and each month I provide anything from a home cooked lasagna for a local family to individually prepare meals for ~50 homeless people being housed in local hotels.