PatientsLikeMe lures Hall from FDA to expand use of real-world evidence

FDA headquarters, Silver Spring, MD

PatientsLikeMe has lured Marni Hall away from the FDA. Hall, who until recently worked on data analysis and management at the FDA, will now drive forward PatientsLikeMe’s ongoing effort to turn its growing repository of patient-reported data into tools that improve research and health outcomes.

The appointment gives PatientsLikeMe access to someone well versed in extracting insights from large data sets. At the FDA, Hall held the title of director of regulatory science at the Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology, a position that gave her a central role in the agency’s attempts to gather and use data from an array of sources. Notably, Hall was involved in the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System, the Sentinel Initiative and programs to turn observational data into knowledge about the safety and efficacy of a drug.

Hall will now apply this experience to the data set of patient-reported outcomes PatientsLikeMe has built over the past 12 years. “PatientsLikeMe has been a critical force in documenting and analyzing real-life patient experiences and evolving the role of real-world evidence in clinical and public health research,” Hall said in a statement. “My goal is to extend its impact, so that the patient experience drives a future where healthcare is able to emphasize individual needs and preferences.” Prior to joining the FDA in 2008, Hall was a program director at Pfizer’s ($PFE) external medical affairs group.

PatientsLikeMe sees this experience helping it at a time when it is trying to position its data as an enabler of precision medicine and drug research. The patient network is allied with organizations such as Assurex Health and M2Gen that are explicitly focused on delivering more personalized drug regimens, and it also received some of the money handed out by the National Institutes of Health as part of the White House's Precision Medicine Initiative.

The alliances and projects have advanced in parallel to the expansion of PatientsLikeMe’s involvement with drug developers. PatientsLikeMe now lists more than 15 biopharma companies as its partners. AstraZeneca ($AZN), Roche’s ($RHHBY) Genentech and Sanofi ($SNY) are among the big name drugmakers to work with PatientsLikeMe. Hall’s former employer, the FDA, also signed up to work with PatientsLikeMe last year.

In persuading Hall to swap the FDA for PatientsLikeMe, the patient network has added another person with experience working at its clients to its ranks. PatientsLikeMe pulled off a similar trick last summer, when Jason Johnson walked away from Merck ($MRK) after 14 years to head up R&D at the patient network.

- read the release

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