Welcome back to the #V3Podcast.

This is The Vision, the Voice & the Value of Medical Affairs.

On today’s episode, we discuss Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain technology and the future of global Medical Affairs. Is biopharma lagging behind compared to other industries? And what’s the reason? Who is really pushing for change? And how can the C-Suite catch up and catch the wave before it’s too late?

The number one medical affairs podcast tackles new ground in this episode as Biopharma global executive veteran, Dr. Anne Arvizu, interviews Medical Affairs influencer and frontrunner, Dr. Sotirios Stergiopoulos, President & CEO at A2A Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Stergiopoulos is an awarded physician executive and oncology thought leader. He’s also been recipient of the prestigious lifetime achievement award, by the American Cancer Society, for his long-standing dedication to fighting cancer. He serves on the Board of Governors for the Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs. Previously, at Ipsen he was Chief Medical Officer, SVP and Head of Global Medical Affairs. Sotirios has held numerous other leadership positions in the pharmaceutical industry with companies including Novartis, Bayer, and Celgene. Dr. Stergiopoulos holds a B.S. from Stony Brook University, an M.D. from Poznan University of Medical Sciences, and an M.B.E.E. from the Johns Hopkins University; and has trained at the National Institutes of Health, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Harvard University.

As the conversation starts, Dr. Stergiopoulos reveals his thoughts on the future of global medical affairs. Artificial intelligence can have significant value and be one of the greatest assets for the biotech industry. Plus, the team discusses how blockchain will drastically alter patient anonymity and privacy reports. Crypto machinery will protect the interest of our patients by keeping their data safe. Anne highlights how the medical affairs segment of the biotech industry is not using AI as much as other industries like entertainment, telecommunications, technology, and professional services. Dr. Stergiopoulos thinks the medical sector is pressure tested – they are first waiting to see if AI is a fad or something that is going to be ubiquitous in society.

With such a daunting task ahead, Anne theorizes asks how the biotech industry might become knowledgeable enough in the technology to utilize it daily. Dr. Stergiopoulos insists that ‘middle management’ and the technologically savvy people, are the new content experts. They’re the ones that keep pushing corporate heads to find and adopt new and relevant technologies. Many people don’t even realize they are already using AI, and they don’t even know how the technologies are rapidly evolving. One foundation is even giving out generous rewards to teams who can solve problems using AI. XPRIZE gives out millions of dollars to groups who can tackle big problem, i.e., find ways to ensure society has an indefinite supply of clean water. Then, Anne and Sotirios discuss what roles medical affairs need to focus on moving forward. Dr. Stergiopoulos reveals the top three are medical affairs services (such as medical information and medical communications), content expertise, and ensuring their MSLs are topnotch.

Later, Dr. Stergiopoulos reveals his feelings on patient-centricity. Currently those words are being used as a disturbing catchphrase. However, he believes we are moving in the right direction now. Dr. Stergiopoulos thinks we have some excellent patient-centricity officers out there, but both agree there is a need for more. The goal of the officer is to make sure that number one, most importantly, the company realizes that everything they do is all about the patients. In his previous role, the Chief Patient Centricity Officer reported directly to him, to advocate for the patient, with the number one goal to educate everybody within the company and to ensure people understand that the patient’s voice needs to be heard.

This power hour illuminates applications in AI as used in medical affairs and brings our minds up to the highest goal: seeing the potential cure for cancers in our lifetime via genetic therapies and other modalities. Keep ears perked up to hear Dr. Stergiopoulos reveal the new technologies we need to be on and what keeps his heart in the game.

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If you need more information regarding achieving value in medical affairs departments or learning more about Dr. Anne Arvizu then please visit the RxER Communications website here.

This show is being produced by the Pharmacy Podcast Network and is partner-sponsored by The Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs (ACMA) to help better serve the next generation of medical affairs leadership and adding value by supporting the medical experts and compliance leaders in our industry. You can find out more about ACMA here.

In this Episode:

  • The future of global medical affairs [ 4:30 ]
  • AI deficits in the medical industry [ 11:20 ]
  • Closing the skills and knowledge gap to implement new technology [ 16:30 ]
  • People don’t even know they are utilizing AI [ 22:15 ]
  • The roles medical affairs needs to focus on moving forward [ 25:00 ]
  • What is patient-centricity? [ 31:00 ]
  • What advice would you give for companies who want to identify as patient centric? [ 36:00 ]
  • Patient centricity example [ 37:45 ]
  • New technologies to look out for, and how we may see some cancers cured in our lifetime with genetic therapies [ 42:40 ]
  • What keeps your heart in the game? [ 45:15 ]

Quotes (Sotirios Stergiopoulos):

  • “People don’t even realize they are utilizing AI right now.”
  • “The last thing you want to do is be the last one at the table.”
  • “Seeing patients just kept giving me energy.”
  • “The ability to touch patients on a grander scale is a motivator.”
  • “Do what you’ll love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

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