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Using Real World Data to Transform the Oncology Space With Miruna Sasu


Real world data and real-world evidence are powerful tools for scientific researchers, and they have an enormous potential to transform the healthcare space, especially oncology.

But, we need to educate the entire ecosystem on the importance of real-world data to be able to reap its full benefits.

In this episode of the Real World Talk podcast, we introduce our new CEO – Miruna Sasu. She talks about her plans for COTA, the role of real-world data in clinical trials and drug development, and much more.


  • [00:31] Introduction — The new CEO of COTA, Miruna Sasu, introduces herself. She has so much to look forward to in this role, but she’s most excited about being a part of COTA’s unique and valuable mission — to make a difference in oncology patient care.
  • [01:34] Making a difference to oncology patients and the industry as a whole — Miruna shares a personal story about how her grandfather got diagnosed with lung cancer; luckily, he went into remission after intense treatment. She says that that experience shaped her and explains, “When that happened, I had a revolution in my mind. I said to myself, ‘I really want to make that happen for other people. I want to be part of this incredible industry that is saving people’s lives. It happened for me, and I’d like to do it for others as well.’”
  • [03:02] From food safety to life sciences — Miruna has a doctorate degree in biology and statistics. She worked in food safety because she’s passionate about health. So, how did she end up in life sciences and at COTA? She explains, “And then after that, I started really thinking about how we can use patient data to help and push the drug development process along in a much faster way to not only reduce the burden on clinical trial patients but also to use databases instead of patients to be able to push these drugs to the market faster. And that is when I started working with companies like COTA.”
  • [05:17] We need to use real-world data in clinical trials — When Miruna was the Head of Clinical Trial Feasibility and Data Science at Johnson & Johnson, her main focus was on clinical trials. She says real-world data plays a significant role in accelerating trials and making them more diverse.
  • [06:09] Miruna is often referred to as a “pioneer” in the oncology space — Because of her role in making real-world data a part of drug development, Miruna is often referred to as a “pioneer” in this field. She says, “When I was working within the life science industry, I felt that I was just doing my part to push clinical trials and using real-world data in discovery, clinical trial management and development as well as commercialization. I felt that that was just a part of what we all should be doing.”
  • [08:46] Education comes first — Miruna says that COTA has a vital role to play in educating the entire ecosystem on the power of real-world data. She talks about how we can use real-world evidence to improve the process of drug development. She says, “I would like COTA to continue doing what we’re doing in that space and amplifying that message and developing more data products and more flexible products and curating even better data and more data to make those records available for research that we just talked about.”
  • [10:20] COTA aims to become a partner across the ecosystem — Miruna shares her goals for COTA as a new CEO. “COTA can continue to educate and also build products and build flexibility in our services to become an even better partner and a true partner, an extension of the arm of these great organizations that are doing this great work.”
  • [11:46] Automation is the future — Miruna thinks automation should be the future of cancer care and real-world data. She explains, “Everything should be automated in terms of using real-world data, clinical trial data, and other types of data that surround the patient. I think all of this should be in a system. For example, on the drug developer’s side, it can be interrogated at a moment’s notice to always be using all the data at our fingertips to figure out which drugs to develop for specific biomarkers for this specific patient and how to develop those drugs.”
  • [13:12] We need to surround medical professionals with information — Miruna hopes that medical professionals will have easier and faster access to necessary information. She says, “The ideal would be that in, say, ten years, the doctors and the clinical professionals would have access to a very easy way to understand the patient and the population and the analytics around them and be able to ask questions in real time.”

Key Points

  • Real-world data can make a difference for oncology patients. Real-world data can be a powerful tool for transforming cancer care, diversifying clinical trials, and improving the drug development process. In this episode, Miruna talks about the importance of real-world data in the oncology space as well as COTA’s role in this transformation.
  • The role of real-world data in drug development and clinical trials. With the right real-world data and real-world evidence, the drug development process can become even more seamless. Miruna shares how COTA aims to support the industry and become an even better partner to the ecosystem. “These are parts of what I think COTA can do — essentially, educate, continue to educate, and also build products and build flexibility in our services to become an even better partner and a true partner, an extension of the arm of these great organizations that are doing this great work.”
  • We need to educate. Miruna is excited to be the new CEO of COTA, and she shares her goals and plans for the company’s future. For instance, she not only plans to educate the ecosystem on the power of real-world data but also to provide medical professionals with easier access to vital information.