special project manager
Our proprietary platform technology — Tumor Treating Fields — is based upon a unique mechanism of action that utilizes electric fields tuned to specific frequencies to disrupt cancer cell division. In our preclinical and clinical research to date, Tumor Treating Fields has shown a consistent anti-mitotic effect. We have unprecedented five-year survival results in newly diagnosed GBM, promising phase 2 pilot data in non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and ovarian cancer, and pre-clinical evidence in 18 different cancer cell lines.
We own all commercialization rights to Tumor Treating Fields in oncology. Our robust global patent and intellectual property portfolio consists of over 140 issued patents, with a number of additional patent applications pending worldwide. We believe we will maintain exclusive rights to market Tumor Treating Fields for all solid tumor indications in our key markets through the life of our patents.
We have near-term opportunities to increase penetration and average reimbursement per patient within our six currently active markets for the treatment of GBM. Medium-term, our goal is to strategically expand into additional markets for GBM. Our 2017 national reimbursement decisions in Japan and Austria demonstrate our commitment to expand access to Optune globally. For each new market we enter, we first evaluate a potential pathway to reimbursement and then, once defined, work to increase adoption. Also in the medium-term, we will work to progress mesothelioma toward commercialization.
Long-term, we believe that our proprietary platform technology may be applicable to multiple additional solid tumor indications that may provide significant market opportunities. Despite meaningful advances in cancer treatment, we believe a critical unmet need remains to improve survival and quality of live for patients. The five-year survival rates for many of the most common cancers today are simply unacceptable. We believe that, in time, Tumor Treating Fields will sit side by side with the other cancer treatment modalities of surgery, radiation therapy and pharmacology.
With more than $180 million of cash on hand to invest in our future growth, we remain focused on the prudent allocation of capital in order to realize the potential of our platform technology. Novocure enters 2018 poised to both improve the lives of cancer patients around the globe and to build long-term value for our stakeholders.
Medical advancements have led to dramatic improvements in cancer survival in the last 50 years. In the United States, five-year survival for all cancers rose from 49 percent in the 1970s to 69 percent in this decade. However, increases in long-term survival are not universal across cancer type. People diagnosed with some of the most aggressive forms of cancer are significantly less likely to life five years or longer. For many people diagnosed with such cancers, traditional treatments aren’t enough.
In 2011, Tomoe Kamata faced a national and personal tragedy that led her to contemplate her priorities in life. An earthquake – the largest in Japan’s history – hit her hometown, killing her younger brother, his wife and two children.
“It was a very tough period for me,” she said. “After the experience, I thought, ‘Life is short.’ So I considered my career and life deeply, and decided I should do what I want to do.”
In 2014, Tomoe, an academically trained electrical engineer turned marketer, decided to enroll in business school in the Netherlands.
“I already had experience in marketing for more than 10 years, but I never studied marketing, finance or business in school,” she said. “I wanted to study marketing academically.”
Tomoe switched from engineering to marketing early in her career after realizing that she prefers working with people over equipment – and that she has a knack for it.
Soon after receiving her MBA in 2015, she accepted a position as a Special Project Manager at Novocure in Japan. She chose Novocure because of its proprietary platform technology being developed to treat solid tumor cancers. She appreciated the technology itself and the challenge of bringing a unique therapy to market.
“I like challenge,” she said. “When I face a challenge, I feel great enthusiasm. I enjoy taking an idea, making a plan and implementing it to accomplish a goal.”
In her role at Novocure, she created and maintains the company’s Japanese website, and develops marketing materials geared toward physicians in Japan. Tomoe spent much of 2017 supporting the company’s efforts to obtain national reimbursement of Optune in Japan for the treatment of newly diagnosed GBM. She collaborated with Novocure leaders and physicians to prepare the reimbursement application and respond to questions from the Japanese government throughout the application process. Novocure received the reimbursement approval of Optune in Japan in December.
“Without national reimbursement, it is almost impossible to introduce such a technology to the Japanese market,” she said. “We now have a great opportunity to increase awareness and adoption of our therapy in Japan.”
Tomoe’s main goal in 2018 is to create effective strategies of communicating the benefits of Optune to physicians. She launched an online training for physicians and she also plans to interact with physicians in person at medical conferences.
Tomoe finds purpose in the work she does at Novocure and feels committed to Novocure’s patient-forward mission.
“I want to increase awareness of Optune in the Japanese market,” Tomoe said. “That is my mission at Novocure.”
New York, United States
In 2012, Pritesh Shah, with more than a decade of experience in the biotechnology industry, joined Novocure for the chance to do something completely different.
His background was not in physics, nor had he worked on a medical device before. However, he felt drawn toward working in an area of high unmet need for a company that had the potential to make a meaningful impact. He took on the role of leading global marketing at Novocure to provide strategic direction, structure and a vision for Novocure’s GBM treatment.
“I saw the opportunity to take a blank piece of paper and turn it into a plan, and to introduce a brand new modality to the marketplace,” he said of his early days at Novocure. “I felt excited thinking about what Tumor Treating Fields could mean for cancer care.”
Pritesh also has led the U.S. sales team and acted as U.S. General Manager. Now as Senior Vice President of the Americas, Pritesh supports Novocure’s growing business in the U.S. and plans for the expansion of Novocure’s business into Canada and other parts of the Americas.
“Our focus – first and foremost – is to ensure that patients have access to our therapy. Second, once they are on therapy, we aim to ensure that they are supported so they can achieve their goals,” he said.
Pritesh, who completed his PharmD training and has a master’s degree in communication and strategic leadership, decided early in his career that he wanted to use his academic training to influence the business side of oncology because he felt he could make a broader impact than if he practiced pharmacy.
“I’ve always had a desire to couple my professional experiences with the oath that I took to help patients achieve clinical outcomes,” he said. “I believe that everything we do at Novocure ultimately impacts the patient and their caregivers. Partnering with the medical community in keeping the patient at the heart of what we do allows us to never lose sight of our goal to improve patient lives.”