News Column

Innovators in Patient Engagement, Industry and Regulation to Lead DIA 2014 50th Annual Meeting

May 29, 2014



HORSHAM, Pa., May 29 -- The Drug Information Association issued the following news release:

Global innovators in pioneering drug devel+opment and access will lead the DIA 2014 50th Annual Meeting (http://www.diahome.org/en/Flagship-Meetings/DIA2014.aspx) in San Diego from June 15 to 19. Freda C. Lewis-Hall, executive vice president and chief medical officer of Pfizer Inc., and Sandra Kweder, deputy director of the Office of New Drugs for the Food and Drug Administration's(FDA) Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, will co-chair the meeting to drive dialogue and collaboration on therapeutic innovation.

Kicking off the annual meeting will be a keynote address, delivered by patient engagement and research advocate Jamie Heywood, on June 16 at 2:30 p.m.

"DIA is honored to host these worldwide leaders who are dedicated to strengthening collaboration across all arenas of medical products development," said Barbara Lopez Kunz, DIA's Global Chief Executive. "These pioneers in patient engagement, industry and regulatory affairs will share their valuable expertise at our milestone meeting with thousands of professionals who can advance health care solutions."

Lewis-Hall leads Pfizer Medical, the division devoted to ensuring the safe, effective and appropriate use of products across the world. Prior to joining Pfizer, she was a leader in medical affairs and biomedical product development with Vertex, Pharmacia, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly and Co. In 2010, Lewis-Hall was appointed to the inaugural board of governors for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, which directs a range of research programs to improve the quality of health care in the U.S. She was named Woman of the Year by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association in 2011.

With a career spanning decades in public service and medical advancements, Kweder directs drug and therapeutic biologics as the deputy director of the Office of New Drugs--a position she has held since 2002. She also oversees special programs such as Pediatric and Maternal Health, the development of patient-reported outcome tools and their qualification as endpoints for clinical trials. Commissioned into the U.S. Public Health Service in 1980 by the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Kweder's career at the FDA began in the division of antiviral drugs to help spearhead the emergent field of HIV drug development.

Heywood's work on behalf of patients worldwide, driven by his brother Stephen's diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), has been critical to therapeutic innovation. He co-founded PatientsLikeMe, (http://www.patientslikeme.com/) a groundbreaking online platform where hundreds of thousands of patients connect to track their experiences with diseases and provide vital data that the medical community can use. Heywood trained as an engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and launched the ALS Therapy Development Institute (http://www.als.net/) to spearhead research to develop effective therapies that slow and stop ALS.

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