After finishing college at age 18, Edward (Eddy) Han-Burgess began his career in investment banking, where he spent much of his time examining the biopharmaceutical industry. In this role, Han-Burgess developed an in-depth knowledge of the various aspects of health care, including payment models, cutting-edge science, advocacy efforts and research and development pathways. This knowledge aided his shift from banking to the role he holds today at UCB, where he leverages data and mathematics to improve patient lives.
Epilepsy is a complex disease of the brain that causes recurrent, unprovoked seizures without a known cause. The type and intensity of these seizures vary, but they can be disruptive to a patient’s life, even impacting their ability to work or drive.
Although several medicines exist to treat epilepsy, each person responds to treatment differently, and it can take some patients years to find a solution that works for them. Han-Burgess and his team are using a mix of mathematical modeling, big data and artificial intelligence in hopes of more quickly identifying the unique characteristics of someone’s condition, so they can be connected to experts sooner and ultimately help predict the appropriate individualized treatment.
The Driving Force
“When you walk into the lab at UCB, you see a giant poster of a local patient in Atlanta whose story inspires us,” says Han-Burgess. “[The patient] had her first seizure in a grocery store with her daughter. It took her two and a half years to find an epileptologist and then another two and a half years to find the right treatment that worked for her.”
Han-Burgess and the research teams at UCB are motivated by patients like this one to develop better ways to connect future patients with the most optimal treatments for them, faster.
Challenges and Collaboration
Han-Burgess notes the many factors impacting health, including economic, political and epidemiologic challenges, and the equal number of approaches that can be taken to improve health care outcomes.
“We’re all solving for the same thing, but differently,” he says about health care researchers. “A diversity of research approaches is enabling us to collide solutions together and bring about an improved, collaborative path forward.”
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