A Message from the President and CEO:
Our guest columnist this month is Robert J. Hugin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the biopharmaceutical company Celgene Corporation. Celgene is the first-ever national sponsor of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s PurpleStride events.
Though the company is known for pioneering scientific progress through research, clinical trials and new treatment options for pancreatic cancer patients, their commitment clearly extends far beyond the laboratory. I can’t say enough about the commitment that Celgene has made to the pancreatic cancer community.
We are extremely grateful.
Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA
President and CEO
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
Here at Celgene, we’ve long admired the work of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in supporting patients, caregivers, researchers and all those who have been touched by pancreatic cancer. Our goals and vision for the future of pancreatic cancer are deeply aligned: We, too, are fully committed to your Vision of Progress goal to double survival for pancreatic cancer by 2020.
When we took on pancreatic cancer and the development of the Abraxane® compound that eventually won FDA approval, we knew it was a bold and ambitious challenge. Conducting a trial that would show significant survival benefit in advanced pancreatic cancer had only been accomplished three times in the last 23 years.
But we live and breathe a culture of innovation and determination. Energy and passion. We don’t back down in the face of tough odds. We know that research and the development of more effective treatments for patients call for novel approaches, bold science and a strong vision.
This mentality is also deeply embedded at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, an organization that continues to blaze new trails and work hard to overcome the extraordinary challenge of pancreatic cancer. That’s why we support the cause and have continued to become more involved.
Having the opportunity to sponsor PurpleStride events across the country as the first national sponsor of the program makes us proud. These events are gaining great momentum: Each year, thousands more take to the race route to do their part to beat back pancreatic cancer. We’re honored to be able to build on our involvement with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in this way.
I had the pleasure of speaking at the organization’s Advocacy Day in 2013, and I was touched by the stories I heard about people’s motivation for attending. Several of my Celgene colleagues commented to me that they, too, experienced life-changing moments as stories and experiences were shared. In fact, many employees have continued to become more involved with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, attending PurpleStride events and raising funds and awareness to fight the disease. Giving back is fundamental to our Celgene values, which begin with passion for the patient and culminate with a promise to always put patients first.
My own connection to pancreatic cancer is, unfortunately, very personal, having lost people close to me to this devastating disease. When a close friend of mine heard the words, “You have pancreatic cancer,” his life was forever changed. He has continued to stay strong in the face of the disease, and every day, I think of him as I go about my day at Celgene. It really underscores the urgent need for new treatments, advancements in research and improved survival rates.
Today Celgene is conducting two additional pancreatic cancer clinical trials, and seeking to apply what we have learned into research for new therapies, proving that we don’t stop just because a new treatment has been approved. And we intend to stay on the front lines alongside the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in making continued progress against the disease.
This cause is gaining momentum and traction, but we need more feet in the fight. We need more companies to step in and join us. I encourage any company to learn more about how to make an impact in the fight. Every bit helps.
Meanwhile, at Celgene, we’ll continue to look for new ways to improve the lives of people living with pancreatic cancer.
And, like the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, we will never give up.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer