Anita Gandhi

Daily Discoveries. Dr. Anita Gandhi has worked at Celgene since 2002. In her current role, Dr. Gandhi is a translational scientist and develops drugs in the early stages of development and assesses which patients would benefit the most from them. Dr. Gandhi specializes in blood cancers such as Multiple Myeloma and Lymphoma.

The Driving Force. Transitioning from the field of academia at Johns Hopkins University to the pharmaceutical industry taught Dr. Gandhi the importance of coordination and co-operation in the health care ecosystem. “Those of us that work in the pharmaceutical industry recognize that academia has many, many subject-matter experts, and that it is beneficial to tap into them and their research to help inform some of our work.” Dr. Gandhi says the need for dialogue is essential. “The relationship between academia and the industry is very critical. Innovation happens all over the place, and it’s good to have that connection.”

Challenges, Chances and Looking Forward. Dr. Gandhi describes one challenge of her work as the competitive relationship in the development of new medicines. “There are so many great drugs, especially in the blood cancer space, that make it very competitive, and there are segments of unmet medical needs. To provide the value proposition of a new drug, you need to show that you’re better than the existing standard of care.”

Make no mistake, this competitive nature has led to positive innovations such as patient selection for targeted drug therapies, and advances in technology innovation.

Dr. Gandhi is excited for what the future brings, especially as more women are entering the male dominated field, but notes there is still work to be done. “When you look at the industry, especially the upper echelons, you see a drastic drop off in the number of women represented. It is important to have mentoring programs that encourage women to enter the field, and for companies to be aware of hiring practices – understanding why women are needed and what diversity brings to the table. Diversity is not just limited to race or gender, but diversity in thought.”