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Title: VP, Engineering
Company: eClinical Solutions
Education: Engineering, Ain Shams University
Family: Wife, Inas Dawoud, who has been with him every step of the way; parents, whose hard work helped him to become the person he is today
Hobbies: Photography, playing soccer, swimming
Bucket List: Contribute to finding cures for untreated diseases; travel the world; travel to outer space (and hopefully make it back)
In Pursuit of Excellence
Whether he’s building innovative technical solutions or providing customer service, Sam Anwar goes above and beyond what’s expected.
A brilliant technologist with excellent software engineering and problem-solving skills, Mr. Anwar has been integral to the success of several innovative solutions that eClinical Solutions has delivered to help clients get insights into their data and make better decisions. His views on visual learning and how information is analyzed and used have made him a recognized leader in data visualization and analytic development.
Throughout his career, Mr. Anwar has left positive footprints. During his first job in the early 1990s, he invented a copy protection mechanism that prevented software distributed on floppy disks from being pirated, which saved his company a significant amount of money in lost revenue.
Later in his career, he built the complete suite of core software applications required to operate a clinical research organization and helped grow the company six-fold.
In his current position as VP, engineering at eClinical, Mr. Anwar has been the key resource behind the implementation and success of the company’s clinical data repository, elluminate. The platform allows clients to aggregate, standardize, and visualize clinical data, which enables them to quickly and thoroughly understand clinical data to hasten the submission process.
Mr. Anwar’s innovative approach is based on research that shows an improvement in the insights gained when people look at data visually as opposed to the traditional data listing. The brain identifies issues and anomalies in seconds compared with minutes/hours in the traditional method. The software he is responsible for designing aggregates clinical and operational data, across trials, and presents it visually to users.
There are no excuses any longer for the key asset, a sponsor’s data, not to be available at the fingertips of clinical researchers.
The key to elluminate lies in Mr. Anwar’s passion for going above and beyond to achieve breakthroughs and his innovative drive that spurs him to find simple solutions to complex problems.
Mr. Anwar is devoted to constantly improving the elluminate product and in supporting sponsor companies in their use of this analytic tool. His goal is to keep exploring and learning new technologies, and apply those technologies to advance the life sciences and continually improve the quality of human life.
Mr. Anwar is driven by a desire to help people in the life sciences do their jobs more effectively through technology and the use of their clinical data. If a client feels that a new feature or program is needed and valuable, he will build it and make it happen. In fact, it’s not uncommon for Mr. Anwar to stay up all night to achieve client goals in the pursuit of perfection.
“I love the people I work with and I love what I do,” he says. “I enjoy seeing the result of my work, whether it’s allowing a data manager to be more productive by providing him with an intuitive tool, or helping drug makers bring their product to market faster, it feels great. It makes the work day even more enjoyable.”
To Mr. Anwar, true success lies in working hard and looking beyond oneself to benefit others. He constantly keeps the patient in mind and has a selfless approach to everything.
He has an extraordinary relationship with his team where he serves as mentor, teacher, leader, and friend — a combination that is hard to find and achieve.
He helps each person he works with be more effective in their work with the end result of bringing much needed medicines to the market. He mentors junior staff on all aspects of how to deliver exceptional data service to clients, as well as assisting the most seasoned veterans in the industry with what works the best and how to improve efficiency and deliver the finest data service on even the most difficult projects.
He is a true craftsman who takes pride in his work, expects a high level of quality from his team, and helps them to achieve. The result is a group that constantly exceeds the expectations of clients.
“No innovation can grow in an unhealthy work environment,” he says.
Title: VP, Emerging Media
Education: MBA, Philadelphia University
Family: Wife, Sanny; son, Jake
Hobbies: Amateur BBQer, pulls a mean rack of ribs and pulled pork; golf; video games
Bucket List: Travel the globe, including Asia — Japan, Cambodia, Thailand; Spain, Italy; attend an Arsenal home game in London; win a BBQ cook off/competition
Awards/Honors: PPC Hero – No. 7 Most Influential Paid Search Expert, 2013 Employee of The Year, CMI/Compas
The Search for New Frontiers
A guru in the search space, Justin Freid has put CMI/Compas on the map for its search services, led the company’s expansion into emerging and social media capabilities, and played a major role in the continued growth and success of the organization.
CMI/Compas manages more healthcare practice-targeted paid search campaigns than any other agency — a tribute to Mr. Freid’s technology expertise and the team he has built, fostered, and retained to support that growing business. He has built CMI/Compas’ search engine marketing practice from three to 30 people in just a few years.
Throughout that journey he has guided countless clients big and small on how to navigate the tricky SEM landscape given the pharma regulatory environment.
He has been committed to uncovering emerging media opportunities, explaining them, and applying them to the business units. He empowers his colleagues to look like rock stars, and helps to take the agency to the next level.
Mr. Freid has shaped the company’s and its clients’ stance on paid social media, social listening, content marketing, video syndication, and many more channels and tactics as they pertain to brand promotion in the pharmaceutical space.
He is not content to rely on previous successes as in the digital world because things change every day and he says if you are not innovating or adapting, you won’t be at the top for long.
“I love working in this industry because I am constantly challenged by the changes occurring,” he says. “There is never a dull moment; I always have a new mountain to climb.”
The digital industry is about innovation, he says, and as consumer needs change and new technology becomes available companies must either innovate or are left behind.
“Companies must continue to adapt and understand consumers behaviors and the tools we have at our fingertips to affect their behavior,” he says.
He uses his natural charm to build strong partnerships with Google and other leading media companies to further benefit clients.
Mr. Freid rose in the search industry quite quickly and by 25 he was helping to lead a company from a print-based product to a digital product and managing a group of individuals significantly older than him. Proving himself and molding them into digitally focused individuals took a lot of extra work, he says.
A career highlight for Mr. Freid was being selected to speak at industry events. He is now a frequent speaker at SMX, the largest search and social conference in the United States.
His goal at CMI/Compas is to continue to build and bring out the best talent in the search and social space.
“Our emerging media team has grown more 300% in the past three years due to the great service we deliver, and we are just getting started,” he says.
In the long term, he wants to innovate and drive the agency through all of the technology, legal, and other outside factors that get in the way of success.
An excellent team leader, Mr. Freid is respected by all. He bolsters morale by providing close support for his team members while enabling them to work independently. He galvanizes his entire organization in a way that elevates everyone’s work — even those not directly on his search/social team. His drive, passion, and leadership are contagious and he inspires the team to push the boundaries every day.
He inspires others by letting them know he will continue to help them develop and grow, and they will always have a new challenge to face.
At a global healthcare level, Mr. Freid says the use of video technology for sick individuals to see specialists is changing the quality of life in many developing countries. He’s equally intrigued with how the start-up and technology community has embraced healthcare.
“Having a community of innovators and entrepreneurs will help increase the speed of change in the industry,” he says.
Title: President, Data Solutions
Education: BS, High Honors and High Distinction, University of Michigan; MBA, The Wharton School
Family: Husband Steve, twin sons, Max and Alex, 15
Hobbies: Traveling with family
Bucket List: Travel to all the countries she hasn’t been to yet
Awards/Honors: PharmaVOICE 100
Associations: Drug Information Association, SCRS
Driving Platforms for Clinical Collaboration
A lot of people talk about what needs to be done to effect change in the industry — Elisa Cascade is actually doing it. For the past 20 years, Ms.
Cascade has been a global force for finding new ways for the pharmaceutical industry to do more clinical trials and get more new drugs to patients. She is an architect of the growing movement toward industrywide collaboration, standardization, and embracing new technologies and processes.
An internationally recognized expert in the capture, analysis, and integration of complex healthcare data, Ms. Cascade’s experience spans clinical research strategy, market research, commercial strategy, and health economics.
She has a passion for creating new ways for pharma sponsors and CROs to work together to increase clinical trial efficiency and decrease investigator burden.
As president of DrugDev’s Data Solutions, her primary focus is on disrupting the way the industry conducts clinical trials by changing the way they think about sharing information. Her mission: get sponsors and CROs to standardize where possible, and to share and analyze information about sites and investigators globally to make evidence-based decisions, which ultimately reduces both sponsor and investigator administrative burden.
To that end, Ms. Cascade worked with her team to create a common identifier called the DrugDev Golden Number, which enables a shared view of data for people and facilities across different company’s clinical trial management systems and other data sources. The DrugDev Golden Number is facilitating data matching and mastering within individual pharmaceutical companies and CROs, and across companies through collaborations such as the Investigator Databank — a global collaboration between Janssen, Lilly, Merck, Pfizer, and Novartis to share investigator information — and TransCelerate’s Investigator Registry and Shared Investigator Platform. It also is reducing the manual effort required for sponsors to work with individual CROs and to aggregate information produced across CROs and by third-party data sources.
Having nine of top 14 sponsors of clinical trials using the DrugDev Golden Number and sharing data through the technology platform with more companies signing up has been a career highlight for Ms. Cascade.
She has played an integral role in helping the innovators of these platforms work together to bring efficiencies to company processes and to the investigators and sites with which they work.
She led the development and oversees customers’ use of the portion of the groundbreaking DrugDev platform that standardizes, integrates, and masters data hosted in the cloud.
Problem-solving inspires Ms. Cascade, who is excited at the prospect of figuring out what else can be done to bring standardization, collaboration, and beautiful technology to the industry.
Ms. Cascade envisions a world in which a sponsor or CRO can select an investigator or site anywhere in the world and instantly have direct access to a unified master record with reliable insights from a number of different sources. Sponsors and CROs would have a comprehensive picture of the pool of investigators with the background and experience needed to work on a particular clinical trial. Sponsors, CROs, and investigators would be able to communicate and truly understand each other and their goals for the trial.
She is not only a master of data, but she also has the business acumen and insight to interpret that data and share with her clients and colleagues the beauty and significance of the information so they can make smart decisions.
To foster innovation, it’s important to have trust and an open dialogue with customers and the internal staff to continue to evolve DrugDev’s products and services.
While Ms. Cascade is excited to be part of the movement to improve the clinical trial process she is frustrated with how long it takes to drive adoption.
She inspires others by sharing the vision, being transparent with her team and customers about the vision and goals, and by working alongside her team to meet project deadlines. She gives her well-qualified team the space to do what they do best.
She mentors others, especially women in traditionally male dominated positions, recognizing that it can be tough finding your voice and building confidence in your abilities.
“I’ve learned many life lessons and I am happy to share these to help others in their personal and professional pursuits,” she says. (PV)