Editor’s note: This story is part of our 2022 PharmaVoice 100 feature.
Our honoree: Dr. Jane Barlow
Position: Executive vice president, chief clinical officer, Real Endpoints
The company’s focus: Real Endpoints, a healthcare analysis and advisory firm, specializes in value-based contracts and drug pricing. Operating at the “critical intersection between payer, at-risk providers and medical product developers,” the company says it guides stakeholders through this complex marketplace using proprietary data-driven tools. Its bigger-picture mission is to drive patient-centric drug development and greater patient access to innovative treatments.
Barlow’s background: Barlow’s healthcare career spans more than two decades. After medical school, she served as a flight surgeon in the Air Force. Later, she moved to IBM, where she worked as head of the company’s health benefits.
“She was then recruited to Medco to head medical affairs, including her leadership of that company’s highly innovative pharmacogenomics testing program — the first of its kind to make sure patients’ genetics were taken into account in the prescriptions they got,” one of her nominators writes.
Following Medco’s acquisition by Express Scripts, Barlow joined CVS Health as associate chief medical officer, helping guide that company through the extraordinary launches of the new HCV medicines and the PCSK9is, experiences that helped prepare Barlow for her current role at Real Endpoints, which requires a deep knowledge of the pricing landscape and relationships between employers, payers and pharmacy benefit managers.
So has her work developing new reimbursement concepts for curative therapies as senior adviser to the NEWDIGS Initiative health system design lab at Tufts Medical Center. Colleagues say an increasing part of her work at Real Endpoints is with gene and cell therapy companies that are just now bringing their radical innovations to the market — and posing enormous challenges to a reimbursement system geared to chronic, not curative, therapies, costing thousands, not millions, of dollars.
Barlow’s biggest wins: At Real Endpoints, Barlow has steered clients through a variety of challenging issues. For example, she helped to dramatically expand access to an innovative genetic diagnostic technology through a wholly novel risk-sharing and real-world evidence program. And she developed one of the first true value-based agreements in oncology.
“[Barlow] foresaw the complications with value-based contracting years before others saw it. [She also] came up with a very clever solution,” one of her nominators writes. “With a disjointed insurance market, small and medium payers did not have the resources or market power to engage in meaningful negotiations with pharmaceutical companies on value-based contracting. [Barlow] thought of and has executed a market-based approach to combine multiple small and medium payers to increase the resources and market power to assist these payers in pursuing novel payment agreements with pharmaceutical companies. The project has obviously taken years to get off the ground, but the work is starting to make a difference.”
“I love to mentor the next generation of students interested in the life sciences, particularly those interested in or currently enrolled in medical or pharmacy training.”
Dr. Jane Barlow
Executive vice president, chief clinical officer, Real Endpoints
Colleagues say Barlow approaches access challenges with a creative flair and is achieving results with industrywide impact.
“We were struggling to define a pragmatic value-based agreement (VBA) for one of our targeted therapies for non-small cell lung cancer,” one of her nominators writes. “We engaged [Barlow] and she was able to refine our high-level concepts into a very meaningful and executable contract. This resulted in our organization entering two VBAs with prominent U.S. health plans, which had many follow-on implications.”
One of her nominators says that Barlow has helped “start a trend” that will broaden access to complex, expensive treatments for cancer patients.
“She is a pioneer in this space, and patients for generations to come will stand a better chance to receive innovative products that will treat or cure their disease,” one of her nominators says.
It’s no wonder that Barlow is a much sought-after board member — she is a director on three public company boards. “She’s quiet,” one of her nominator’s says. “But when she speaks, we all listen very carefully. She always gets right to the heart of the matter; her advice is invaluable.”
In her own words: “I had a life-threatening illness in the eighth grade that landed me in the hospital,” Barlow says. “I was grateful for the care I received and impressed by medicine as an interesting marriage of my interest in sciences and desire to help people.”