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Using Centralized Real-World Data to Improve Patient Outcomes With Marisa Co and David Anstatt


Real-world data plays a vital role in the pharmaceutical industry, and it can immensely support clinical research and drug development. However, a centralized and coordinated data strategy could make a more significant impact.

In this episode of the Real World Talk podcast, our host Miruna Sasu welcomes Marisa Co, Head of R&D Business Insights and Analytics, and David Anstatt, Vice President of Real-world Analytics & Data Science, at Bristol-Myers Squibb. They talk about the value of centralized real-world data, why data is an asset for enterprises, and the importance of collaboration in the pharma space.


  • [00:57] Introduction of the guests — In this episode, we’re going to hear from Marisa Co, Head of R&D Business Insights and Analytics, and David Anstatt, Vice President of Real-world Analytics & Data Science, at Bristol-Myers Squibb.
  • [03:12] The importance of centralized real-world data and strategy — Marisa and David share their thoughts on why having good real-world data is so critical. They agree that it has immense value on patient outcomes.
  • [06:09] Data is an enterprise asset— We need to approach data as an important enterprise asset and an investment. Marisa explains, “We started back in 2018 when we had a very decentralized approach to data, and it wasn’t until our leaders — specifically our CEO — agreed to the fact that data is no different than any other asset that the company has. In fact, it is an enterprise asset, and we wanted to treat it as such, and as an enterprise asset, we needed to have an enterprise mindset to data.”
  • [08:12] The benefits of treating data as an investment — Marisa goes on to explain the incredible value of treating data as an asset. One of the biggest benefits is being able to do more with less. She says, “We have the same data budget, but instead, we now are covering a lot more disease areas with the same amount of money, which means we were able to flex those dollars to do more with less.” Another value is being able to think ahead. David adds, “To Marisa’s point, I guess it’s a little ahead of the curve. Those things have definitely been very valuable to the organization from a discovery and development perspective — being able to look across broader ranges of patients and deeper data about those patients and get information faster.”
  • [13:45] The opportunities to bring more data — David and Marisa discuss the opportunities to leverage data more in the future. They both agree there’s a lot of momentum and that we’re certainly expanding how we think about data.
  • [17:32] The importance of the right mentality in the pharmaceutical industry — The pharmaceutical industry is notorious for not being able to adopt a different mentality. However, that needs to change, and the shift needs to happen at the leadership level. There needs to be collaboration to make a difference with real-world data.
  • [20:35] We need to work with the FDA on regulatory work and framework— With an increasing number of policy changes, there needs to be a team effort to prepare pharma companies for the future.
  • [32:04] How can technology change clinical research and drug development? — It’s safe to say that technology has a significant impact on the clinical field. But how can we use it to change for the better? David says, “I think we need to have a perspective and be ready to express and actually actively experiment with our own approaches.” Marisa adds, “It will force us, all of us, to think about how we do our jobs.”
  • [34:46] How will the ecosystem look in the future? — Marisa and David share their visions for the future of data and both firmly agree that the potential is enormous.
  • [42:00] Invest in yourself, and be open to opportunities  — David shares some advice for people just starting out in the clinical research space. He says, “Plan it, do make the effort, invest in yourself, but also be ready for those unexpected opportunities when they come up.”
  • [43:42] Having a mentor is priceless — Marisa says that mentors are extremely valuable. She explains, “That requires that somebody actually saw what you’d like, what you were made for, and actually took the time to discuss opportunities and open your eyes to what the potential will be.”

Key Points

  • The value of centralized real-world data and strategy. Centralized real-world data helps us better understand and improve patient outcomes. Marisa explains, “We really had a centralized — truly centralized — data asset with which we could really understand patient outcome, but not only understand patient outcome, advocate for those patients, way back when we did have the opportunity to work with the healthcare providers.”
  • Data is an investment. Data touches every aspect of a company, so it’s vital to treat it as an enterprise asset. There’s an unbelievable value in treating data as an investment. It allows companies to be cost-effective and innovative.
  • Collaboration is key. Marisa says, “I think as we overlay other AIs and regenerative medicine, we need to continue to work with the FDA to get them comfortable with what we’re trying to do. And I think the idea of improving the maturity of the data life cycle over time and working with the FDA is going to be a condition to be successful in the new world.”