Roche: Cancer Innovation

Roche

3. Good Health and Well-Being

Overview

Roche has been dedicated to helping patients all over the world through their state-of-the-art medicines and tests. The company’s commitment to innovation has been demonstrated over the years through their consistent investments in Research and Development. Roche is dedicated to innovation for patients, providing a great workplace, and helping the environment and has even been recognized as a leader in sustainability by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices. Roche’s determination to find and develop new solutions for cancer patients supports the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal #3 - Good Health & Wellbeing.

Author

Shilpa Prasad

Shilpa Prasad

School

Loyola Marymount University

Loyola Marymount University

Professor

Jeff Thies

Jeff Thies

Innovation

Roche has been a frontrunner in research for years and the developments made in for cancer treatment options have been particularly impactful. The Pharma Research and Early Development Oncology (pRED) has focused on developing innovations for cancers that have limited treatment choices or none at all. The two main areas of focus are cancer immunotherapy and molecular targeted therapy. Roche’s innovation and development of personalized medicine in healthcare and particularly cancer treatments has been revolutionary. The goal with personalized medicine is to identify the needs of patients so that individualized and tailored solutions can be developed and deliver the maximum benefit to patients.

Personalized care is crucial for cancer patients. Hence, Roche has been developing a Companion Diagnostics Division in order to facilitate clinical trials in conjunction with pharmaceuticals and produce targeted chemotherapy for cancer treatment. The companion diagnostic test will accurately detect a biomarker and helps to differentiate patients who will benefit from a particular pharmaceutical drug from those who would not benefit. This differentiation is especially crucial for cancer patients, who typically have to suffer through various treatment types that may not even be beneficial. Roche’s collaboration with pharmaceutical companies in order to develop innovate predictive diagnostics has been key to boosting diagnostic confidence and making better decisions for patients. This venture also involves investing in highly scalable digital technology, which can provide access to pathologists and laboratory scientists worldwide to assess and analyze human cancer tissue for diagnosis.

Roche: Cancer Innovation

Inspiration

There has always been a drive to develop more cancer treatments. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy have been the backbone and basis of cancer treatments but as medical technology has developed over the years, the pursuit of better treatment options and a deeper understanding of cancer’s behavior began. The one-size-fits-all approach to cancer treatment has now shifted towards personalized care through the evolution of molecular and genomic sciences over the years. The curiosity to understand the complexities of cancer and improving the quality of life for patients have been the great inspirations for Roche’s technical and medical innovations such as combining targeted therapies with immunotherapy.

Roche recognizes the importance of investing in their research and developing strategies that are scalable. According to Himanshu Parikh, VP of Operations, Tissue Diagnostics, and Sequencing Unit, “Roche invests significantly in R & D year over year. In addition, our manufacturing and supply chain networks are set up to scale up production and distribute products globally.” Apart from this drive for discovery, there is also a strong sense of purpose and responsibility amongst the leaders at Roche.

Overall impact

Cancer immunotherapy is crucial as it allows us to understand the immune system better, particularly how it interacts with a tumor. Understanding this interaction will allow medical professionals to find ways that patients can fight the cancer better. Furthermore, molecular targeted therapy is the next step when it comes to increasing responses in patients who do not reap the benefits of immunotherapy since the new class of molecular targeted agents would target the cancer cells directly. Roche’s dedication and innovation extends beyond the benefits of these therapies. Roche has been handling the COVID-19 crisis in an innovative way as well, and have also demonstrated how much they truly care for their patients. “We always bring a cancer patient who has gone through treatment using our products to all employee meetings. They share their journey and it is great to see how our products are helping patients across the globe and how we are making a difference. Our vision is to help all patients afflicted with cancer. These are our high point experiences”, says Himanshu Parikh. Cancer patients are immunocompromised, making the contraction of COVID-19 even riskier for them and earlier detection crucial. Understanding that time plays such a key part in this, Roche went above and beyond during the pandemic to ensure that effective care could be given to the cancer patients regardless of what was happening out in the world. Dr. Anil Ramarao at Roche has said, “Despite the undue hardships of supply chain disruption, reagent shortage and workplace restrictions due to the pandemic, I was proud of how I was able to motivate my team, they continued to work overtime. We put in place “out of the box” strategies to meet hospital demands for cancer testing equipment and diagnostic reagents despite shut down by suppliers of raw materials by discovering alternative “home brewed” materials to manufacture less expensive and equally effective cancer diagnostic reagents”. It is clear that these methods and the motivation of the Roche employees to go above what is expected will inevitably creating a long-term impact on the lives of their patients.

Business benefit

The cancer innovations have benefitted the business greatly as the company is expanding the clinical trials and pharmaceuticals as well as the research team.

Social and environmental benefit

Understanding cancer better has a world-wide impact as with new therapies and treatment innovations, the cancer patients can benefit greatly. The personalized medicine innovation helps patients can treatment that is more fine-tuned for them and this concept can also be applied in other aspects of healthcare.

Interview

Anil Ramarao, Project Manager

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Roche

Roche

US

Business Website: https://roche.com

Year Founded: 1896

Number of Employees: 10000+

Roche is a research-intensive healthcare company that is dedicated to developing innovative diagnostic methods and therapeutic products in order to provide the best care for patients. It is the world's largest bio-tech company and world leader in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics.