Chris Boone of Pfizer on being a data hippie


This week Harry talks with Chris Boone, a leader of Pfizer’s effort to use new types of real-world data on patients—from insurance claims to lab tests to molecular profiles to data from wearable health sensor—to speed up drug discovery, development, and testing.


Dr. Chris Boone, vice president and lead for global medical epidemiology and big data analysis at Pfizer, is a health futurist, social entrepreneurs, executive, professor, patient advocate, and self-proclaimed “data hippie.” He says he long aimed to be CEO of a health system, but eventually embraced his “true self” as a student of informatics, business intelligence, and big data analytics.

“I come into the world of pharma not as a conventional or traditional pharma guy but as someone who cut his teeth in the provider world,” he says. “It’s just something that came naturally to me. There was always an intellectual curiosity about how we can do things better, and how we could ultimately disrupt the way that we currently treat patients, and ultimately transform the system for the betterment of patients.”

In the pharma business, he believes that big data analytics can disrupt clinical research and development and ultimately the commercialization of therapies for patients. He’s an advocate for the use of real-world data and evidence, AI, and machine learning to accelerate the process of proving a drug’s effectiveness, ultimately curbing the rising costs of drug development.

That real-world data can include clinical data, EHR data, lab test results, claims data, molecular profiling, data from wearable health-monitoring devices, environmental factors, and patient diaries. “We’re trying to create alternative ways to generate evidence that are acceptable to regulators,” Boone says.

This episode is part of a special series featuring speakers from the AI Applications Summit, produced in Boston by Corey Lane Partners. Check out the full show notes and other MoneyBall Medicine episodes at our website.

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