A way forward

Together, we can go further, faster

At Roche, our purpose is to advance science, and to also do all we can to ensure our innovative science and medicines reach the patients who need them. This is only possible by partnering with the brightest minds in science and healthcare across public, not-for-profit and private sectors. 


Theby the Federal Government of Canada to increase healthcare funding to provinces and territories over the next 10 years comes with the expectation of transparent data sharing and clear measures of the impact of the funding. It’s a prime example of the importance of partnership and collaboration to learn, through data and insights, where there is the greatest need, what is working and what isn’t, and what next steps for the future of healthcare should look like. 


In this third blog of a four-part series, we ask Brigitte Nolet, President & CEO of Roche Canada Pharma, to share insight about Roche’s approach to partnerships and collaboration with stakeholders, both in Canada and globally. She also reflects on how Roche’s data sharing efforts are making significant inroads in providing precision healthcare for Canadian patients, and that Roche would be pleased to collaborate with any government seeking data and insights to inform the future of healthcare. 


Q. What does partnering mean to Roche?


The story behind many of Roche’s most successful medicines began with a successful partnership. More than 35% of our pharmaceutical sales come from partnered therapeutics and nearly half of the new medicines in our pipeline stem from external collaborations.


We know that partnering with other research-driven institutions at every stage is critical to advancing science today and well into the future. Take, for example, our partnership with(in Quebec), a precision oncology company, or our partnerships with(in Alberta),(in Quebec) and the(in Ontario) to drive artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare forward. No matter the organization we represent, we have a united goal of improving the health and lives of Canadians.  


We also believe that partnering goes beyond developing medicines and diagnostics — it’s about being a partner in the healthcare system more broadly and maximizing the impact innovations in medical science can have on patients.


Q. How does Roche show up as a true partner within our healthcare systems?


A great example of Roche partnering within our healthcare system is our work and partnership in health data through the PREDiCT project. PREDiCT (Precision Oncology Evidence Development in Cancer Treatment) is a collaboration between BC Cancer, the Canadian Personalized Healthcare Innovation Network (CPHIN) and Roche Canada to create a framework that will drive the use of real-world data and real-world evidence (RWE) to inform healthcare decision making. We are working toward better, more affordable cancer care for patients who require personalized cancer treatments. Real-world data will be the basis for using the right diagnostic tool and providing the right treatment, to the right patient, at the right time. 


Governments are also leveraging RWE in their assessment of healthcare technologies and we expect to see reliance on data and evidence even more as a result of this most recent healthcare funding announcement. Roche Canada would like to bring our knowledge forward to share our learning where we can.


Q.  Why is partnering critical to driving innovation in Canada?


Canada has a long history of being at the forefront of innovations, whether it be in food and agriculture, or science and medicine. We have the potential to create a meaningful, lasting impact on the lives of people who live in Canada, and on our economy.  


But given the issues facing our healthcare systems in this country, we have no choice but to work together. There is no one province or jurisdiction, corporation or industry that can solve these issues in isolation.


We saw during the pandemic that the world only required one year to develop and approve the use COVID-19 vaccines. But it takes an average of 12 years to bring effective cancer drugs from discovery to approval. During this time, tens of thousands of years of life are lost worldwide for every year of delay in drug approval and access. And the very same drugs are reaching patients in other countries around the world much, much faster.


There are also new innovations on the horizon - such as gene therapy and cell therapy - that have the potential to revolutionize not only how we diagnose disease, but also how we target and treat it. But for the innovation of today and of the future to make its way to Canadians, we need to change our processes, regulations and approaches to assessing their effectiveness and cost.


As a member of theRoche Canada and other leaders from the pharmaceutical industry, research, and patient groups across the public, private, and non-profit sectors are focusing on two fundamental goals: optimizing the use of healthcare data to better-inform health care decisions; and, expanding and accelerating patient access to innovative health technologies – from vaccines and diagnostics to therapeutics and medical devices. The Coalition would welcome sharing its insights with governments so, together, we are building a system that is better for governments, providers and researchers, and most importantly, better for patients.


We believe we can get there, if we all work together.


Q: Why would a pharmaceutical company, and really anyone in our industry, want to become an active partner within our healthcare systems? 


Just look at what was achieved by all sectors - public and private - working together during the pandemic. COVID-19 taught us about what is possible when we work towards a common goal. During the pandemic Roche partnered with other companies to bring forward innovation that detects and treats COVID-19 patients. Our own diagnostics division launched, in record-time, numerous solutions including molecular PCR tests and rapid antigen tests to detect the virus, as well as serological tests to determine the immune response. And we continue to pursue research to understand the potential that some of our existing medicines may have - in isolation or when partnered with other pharmaceutical companies - in investigational treatment options.


Pharma has a critical role to play in our broader healthcare systems. As a private sector organization, we recognize our role and our responsibility to use our scale, expertise, network, and innovative technology to have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of patients. For us, success isn’t only measured on a balance sheet - it’s measured by the lives we touch in our pursuit of science. Our innovation is only meaningful if it reaches the people who need it the most. 




In our final sit-down with Brigitte in this series, we take a closer look at how Roche - by leveraging our unique expertise and experience across medicines and diagnostics - aims to ensure that we’re not only delivering innovation, but that we are part of the solutions that ensure access to the Canadians who need them most. 

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