This article is sponsored by Daiichi Sankyo and AstraZeneca.
Nowhere is this more true than for those of us who work in healthcare. Intricately connected to a multitude of factors, including societal demographics and economics, addressing the challenges of population health requires input and effort from across the healthcare ecosystem. This includes the field of oncology, where social deprivation, obesity, ageing, and healthcare expenditure, among other factors, play a major role in determining population-level cancer outcomes.
The scientific and clinical community, including the pharmaceutical industry, plays a major role in creating new opportunities for progress in healthcare. Looking specifically at oncology, we have seen astronomical advances in our understanding of the biology of cancer, leading to the advent of personalised and immune therapies – achieved through collaboration across the public and private sectors. This was clearly evident at this year’s ASCO Congress, which was brimming with the fruits of collaboration in oncology research.
Pictured: Markus Kosch (left), head of oncology Europe and Canada at Daiichi Sankyo, and Greg Rossi (right), senior vice president, oncology, Europe and Canada at AstraZeneca.
Daiichi Sankyo and AstraZeneca entered into a major partnership in 2019 with the goal of combining their collective expertise to push the boundaries of what is possible in cancer care, based on a shared commitment to address high unmet patient needs. Speaking about the importance of collaboration to achieve advances in oncology, Markus Kosch, head of oncology Europe and Canada at Daiichi Sankyo, said:
However, despite significant advances in care, deaths caused by cancer continue to increase and it remains the leading cause of death in people aged under 65 in the European Union. Cancer touches all of us, with every second person estimated to develop cancer throughout their lives. Greg Rossi, head of oncology for Europe and Canada at AstraZeneca, explained:
Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan provides an important framework for the region to leverage significant opportunities to improve cancer outcomes. Launched by the European Commission in 2021, it outlines current factors limiting cancer care improvement across Europe, focusing on four key areas: prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, and quality of life of cancer patients and survivors. Addressing inequity is a major theme throughout – there is a significant difference in the five-year cancer survival rate across Europe, ranging from the lowest at 74%-77% in Estonia and Lithuania through to 89% in Sweden and Finland, and there are several influential factors associated with this.
According to Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, 25 EU Member States have included population-based screening programmes in their National Cancer Control Plans; however, many programmes have not yet been fully implemented, and inequalities in access to screening persist both within and between countries. For example, coverage of the target population for breast cancer screening ranges from 6% to 90% across Europe. Rossi says there are many factors at play:
New EU cancer screening recommendations published in December 2022 reaffirm the goal to ensure that 90% of the EU population who qualify for breast, cervical, and colorectal screenings have access to a screening programme by 2025, and recommend screenings are extended to include other forms of cancer in a stepwise approach. It is critical that this goal is met to ensure patients have an equal opportunity to detect their cancer early.
With more than 100 years of scientific expertise Daiichi Sankyo (DS) is dedicated to creating new modalities and innovative medicines by leveraging our world-class science and technology. DS is primarily focused on developing novel therapies for people with cancer, as well as other diseases with high unmet medical needs. With a presence in more than 20 countries, DS and its 16,000 employees around the world draw upon a rich legacy of innovation to realise the 2030 Vision to become an “Innovative Global Healthcare Company Contributing to the Sustainable Development of Society.” For more information, please visit www.daiichi-sankyo.eu.
AstraZeneca (AZ) is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialisation of prescription medicines in oncology, rare diseases, and biopharmaceuticals. In oncology, the company’s ambition is to provide cures for cancer in every form, by following the science to understand cancer and all its complexities to develop and deliver life-changing medicines to patients. AZ operates in over 100 countries and its medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information, please visit www.astrazeneca.com.
Markus Kosch is the head of oncology Europe and Canada at Daiichi Sankyo. In his role, he leads the medical affairs, market access, and commercial organisation across Europe and Canada.
Kosch obtained his medical degree at the University of Münster, Germany. He has always been passionate about improving cancer care, driven by his personal experience of losing his father to colon cancer when he was 21 years old. Kosch has over 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and is a founding member of the “Vision Zero” cancer prevention initiative and think tank.
Greg Rossi is senior vice president, oncology, Europe and Canada at AstraZeneca. Through his role, he is responsible for leading the medical affairs, market access, and commercial teams for oncology across Europe and Canada.
Rossi received his doctorate in Biochemical Engineering from University College London and has since built a career in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. Over the last 25 years, Rossi has worked in national (US and UK), regional and global roles for Amgen, Genentech, Roche, and finally AstraZeneca.