Sitting at the intersection of data, technology and health care is what excites me the most, especially working at a company like Merck, where we are tackling some very difficult problems in medicine.”
This moniker refers to all of the bits and pieces of electronic information floating around in the stratosphere, from Twitter posts to medical records to just about any information given off in the electronic realm. Businesses, academic institutions, and governments the world over are currently trying to harness that information in order to work smarter.
For Merck, that’s where CORE (Center for Observational and Real World Evidence) comes into play. CORE is the arm of our company that harnesses “real-world” data to provide the best available information on the value of our medicines and the products that we bring to the market.
The application of data science into our business ushers in a new era for the biopharmaceutical industry, one that CORE hopes will help more and more patients.
And Arnaub Chatterjee is up for the challenge.
As the director of Data Science and Insights of CORE, Arnaub is tasked with leading Merck in developing data and technology partnerships and applying novel, data-driven methodologies in our company. (For the uninitiated, data science is the field that focuses on dissecting big data by combining statistics and computer science in order to process, manipulate and extract insights from all of this information.) “What data allows us to do is think about patients more holistically,” he notes. “We want to know what their behaviors and characteristics look like. This allows us to ask more refined research questions to get to the underlying characteristics of disease.”
Chatterjee is no stranger to the world of data. In addition to his duties at Merck, he is also a teaching associate at Harvard Medical School, where he teaches a class on health policy, and a lecturer at Cornell University, where he teaches a class on data in health care. Previously, he worked for the Obama administration serving as an advisor to former Chief Technology Officers Todd Park and Bryan Sivak at the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.
“I come from a nontraditional pharma background,” he notes. “I spent a number of years working in government. I hadn't considered a career in the pharmaceutical industry until I looked at Merck a little bit more closely. Then I saw there are about 125 years of science behind our company. The fact that Merck was creating CORE, which would be dedicated to looking at data in a rigorous way, excited me. So I decided to make the leap and haven't looked back.”
Chatterjee sees incredible potential for creating a data-driven culture at Merck. “Because of big data, we’re now seeing a whole different way of capturing how many patients are going in and out of the health care system, and our goal is to identify opportunities to treat them more effectively,” he says. “It opens the door for personalized care: getting patients to the right care, to the right treatment, at the right time.”