The Promise of Personalized Medicine

Advances in diagnostics, genetic sequencing and biotechnology have increased our ability to target therapies to patients’ underlying biology, making possible a shift from traditional one-sized-fits-all drugs to more personalized treatments. This shift holds the potential for tremendous clinical benefits for patients, particularly those with historically hard to treat diseases, but also poses a number of challenges to the ways in which we finance innovation and pay for treatments. To tackle this complex and fascinating topic, we are bringing together speakers from the biopharma as well as payer spheres to talk about how drug pricing and access should adapt in a world of personalized therapies and shifting priorities and modes of payment.


ARthur holden, KSM ‘81 (moderator)

CEO and chairman, genomics resources consortium


Mr. Holden is the Founder and Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Biomedical Research Consortium [PBRC]. The PBRC is a 501 C3, which serves to advance the field of medicine through the development and implementation of high quality “pre-competitive” biomedical research consortia, across the pharmaceutical industry and academia. As of March 2016, he has led the organization the Genomic Resources Consortium (GRC) to assemble a diverse network of large-scale EHR-linked bio-banks to enable biomedical researchers to more effectively apply genetics to understand existing and identify new targets for drug discovery and development.

Until October 2007, Mr. Holden concurrently held the position of SVP of Corporate and Market Development at Illumina. He previously served as the principal founder of First Genetic Trust, a venture capital backed development stage biotechnology/informatics firm, as Chairman and CEO of the SNP Consortium, and CEO and Director of Celsis International PLC, an international biotechnology company. Mr. Holden spent the majority of his career at Baxter International, working on the development of their global renal business. Mr. Holden earned his MBA with honors in 1981 from Northwestern’ s J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management and is a 1977 magna cum laude graduate of Union College with a BS degree in science.


Stacey dacosta byfield, phd

Vice President health economics and outcomes research, optum


As the Vice President of Research for HEOR, Dr. DaCosta Byfield oversees the researcher teams responsible for conducting observational research studies using administrative claims, EHR/medical record data and other secondary data sources, as well as studies utilizing primary data collection methodologies. Dr. DaCosta Byfield has been with HEOR since 2009 and previously led the HEOR Oncology and Immunology researcher teams where she provided oversight of opportunities and studies in these areas. Prior to joining Optum, she worked in the Department of Drug Use Policy and Pharmacoeconomics at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center as a Pharmacoeconomics Research Specialist. In this capacity, her main responsibilities included developing research designs to evaluate clinical, economic and humanistic outcomes of pharmaceutical products and services.

Dr. DaCosta Byfield holds a PhD in Tumor Biology from Georgetown University and completed a basic science fellowship at the National Cancer Institute, where her work focused on identifying targets of pharmaceutical intervention for metastatic breast cancer. She also received her MPH with a concentration in clinical effectiveness from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and has completed the Program in Cancer Outcomes Research Training (PCORT) Fellowship, a jointly sponsored program by the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Dana-Farber Harvard Cancer Center in Boston, Massachusetts.


Steve miller, MD

Chief Clinical officer, cigna

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Dr. Steve Miller, a nationally recognized advocate for greater access, affordability and excellence in healthcare, leads all of the company’s clinical policy, quality and performance efforts. He was appointed Chief Clinical Officer for Cigna when the company acquired Express Scripts in December 2018.

He formerly served as Express Scripts’ Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, supporting government relations, leading the Pharmacy & Therapeutics committee, managing the Medical Affairs team, leading Government Affairs and interfacing with client groups. During his 12 years in that position, Dr. Miller focused on improving health outcomes and value through e-prescribing initiatives, specialty solutions and overall product development.

His expertise represents years as a medical researcher, clinician and administrator, and spans numerous healthcare subjects.

He previously was the vice president and chief medical officer at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Steve received his medical degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He trained in the Pathology and Research fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He was the William J. and Dorothy Fish Kerr Fellow in Cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco. Steve also did Internal Medicine training at the University of Colorado and Nephrology and Transplantation at Washington University in St. Louis. He earned his MBA at the Olin School of Business at Washington University.


Sarah Pitluck

head of global pricing and reimbursement, spark therapeutics

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Ms. Pitluck is the Head of Global Pricing & Reimbursement (P&R) at Spark Therapeutics, Inc., a fully integrated gene therapy company committed to meeting the needs of patients living with genetic diseases. In her current role, Ms. Pitluck priced the first US Food and Drug Administration-approved gene therapy for a genetic disease, LUXTURNA® (voretigene neparvovec-rzyl). She is now working to ensure market access for all US patients in need of LUXTURNA including completing the first Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) demonstration project to provide alternate payment options and value-based arrangements for single-administration therapies like LUXTURNA.

Prior to joining Spark, Ms. Pitluck was the Executive Director for Global P&R at Alexion Pharmaceuticals, leading all global P&R efforts, including dossier preparation and negotiations for Alexion globally.Ms. Pitluck was formerly the Director of Genentech’s Coverage & Reimbursement Policy and responsible for all US public payer policy and reimbursement issues for Genentech’s products.She also worked at healthcare consulting companies including Avalere Health and Covance Health Economics and Outcomes Services Inc., focusing on policy and reimbursement analyses for a variety of pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device products related to care settings and disease areas. Ms. Pitluck received her Masters of Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science.


jeff walsh, KSM ‘93

chief financial and strategy officer, bluebird bio

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Jeff Walsh has served as chief financial and strategy officer of bluebird bio since May 2011. Jeff has 25 years of experience in executive leadership positions with responsibility for finance, business development, commercial and business operations, strategic planning and legal functions with established and emerging public and private life sciences companies. From November 2008 to February 2011, Jeff served as chief business officer of Taligen Therapeutics, Inc. where he played a key role in the growth of the company and the ultimate sale of Taligen Therapeutics, Inc. to Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in January 2011.

Jeff started his career at SmithKline Beecham Corporation in finance and worldwide business development roles. He subsequently held senior business development, finance, sales and operations roles at PathoGenesis Corp. (PGNS acquired by Chiron Corporation), Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc., EXACT Sciences Corporation and Inotek Pharmaceuticals Corp. Jeff received his B.A. in sociology and economics from Yale University and his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.