Meet Ovation: Hana Dembe


Hana Dembe, Head of Marketing at Ovation, discusses how her commitment to impact global health has driven her professional journey from early experiences in rural health clinics to her commercial roles in pharmaceutical drug launches, real-world data go-to-market strategies, and now – scaled genomic data.

Through my work, I’ve always been committed to improving health outcomes for large groups of individuals. In fact, this is one of the primary reasons I pursued a career in healthcare and public health: to better understand causal factors and trends in disease and outcomes across populations. 

Early in my career, I spent two years in the Peace Corps, where I worked on health education in rural health clinics located in a remote corner of Cameroon. This experience provided many valuable insights and sharpened my awareness that as an individual with limited resources, I simply couldn’t have the impact of a larger, established, and well-resourced institution. While my day-to-day work in Cameroon impacted health outcomes for hundreds of people in a small region, it was during my participation in polio vaccine campaigns that I witnessed the profound impact that one pharmaceutical could have in improving the lives of millions worldwide. That’s when I knew I wanted to be involved in efforts that have a larger-scale impact! 

After studying the statistical nature of controlled trials and observational data through an Epidemiology degree program at Columbia, I joined a consulting team at Pfizer where I gained invaluable exposure to the inner workings of multinational businesses. During my tenure at Pfizer, I worked on digital innovation projects, clinical trial improvements and joined a commercial development team that prepared the launch of a sickle cell disease drug as well as a patient support program for Pfizer’s Oncology portfolio. 

These diverse experiences gave me a broad perspective across the pharma industry. I was intrigued by the idea that, although clinical trials will always be the core of drug development, we could be learning so much more from the data collected during routine care in health clinics and centers. This led me to explore roles at real world data (RWD) companies, ultimately leading me to join Flatiron Health, one of the leaders in Oncology RWD. 

At Flatiron, I was able to combine my experiences and passions into one role. I enjoyed working on the data and evidence side of pharma in therapeutic areas (TAs) that had substantial unmet needs across global populations. I spearheaded marketing projects, creating value propositions and differentiation strategies for our data to effectively commercialize products for research teams. I also worked on the launch of a new clinical research business and built out a stellar product marketing team, while meeting and working with so many talented colleagues and stakeholders. 

Over my years at Flatiron, I saw the use of real world evidence (RWE) mature across tumor types, and watched in real time as the FDA evolved its thinking on acceptability of RWE and real world outcomes for use in regulatory applications and submissions. The immense potential of RWE to make clinical research and development more effective and efficient across all stages—from early discovery to post marketing—is rewarding and inspiring. I was thrilled to be involved in this evolution first hand. 

Ovation was a natural next step for me, expanding on my role at Flatiron. I had always been intrigued by the promise of deeper genomics, transcriptomics and multi-omics within therapeutic areas that are less explored, such as autoimmune disease, cardiometabolic conditions, and neurological disorders. The scale of impact on these larger populations is many times that of oncology, yet as an industry, we’ve made limited progress in tailoring therapies to patients’ genomic profiles or biomarkers. 

Ovation’s mission—to advance precision medicine by making scaled genomic and multi-omic data accessible to life sciences—resonates deeply with me. It represents the perfect combination of cutting-edge technology and population health. I love working in this complex and uncharted space at this inflection point when sequencing costs are making scaled genomic data a reality. I’m also passionate about the potential impact that accelerating trials would have for patients globally, and making therapies more effective for patient sub-populations.

From my perspective, scaled genomic data is at the stage where RWD stood about five to seven years ago. While the value proposition is clear to many in the industry, we have yet to fully operationalize access across research teams or TAs. Ovation is working to change that and I’m excited to be along for the ride!

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