Marco Boeri, who recently joined OPEN Health as Director Preference Research, has been interviewed by James King, Patient Writer at OPEN Health.
Can you tell me about your career journey?
After completing my PhD in environmental economics, I took up a lecturer position at Queen's University Belfast. That role helped me to develop my expertise in preference research, from survey design to data analysis, and gave me the privilege of meeting many leading scholars in discrete choice modelling.
I wanted to broaden my experience beyond academia, because I wanted to move beyond theoretical research and start to apply the principles of choice modelling to real life in a way that would help people. I started to look for opportunities in industry and soon joined a team working with great, very smart and expert colleagues. During this time, I gained experience in problem solving and leadership that I can take forward in my career.
I was also accepted as an Honorary Professor of Practice in Health Economics by Queen’s University Belfast, where I had the opportunity to supervise PhD students and continue publishing. Also after joining OPEN Health, I will maintain my academic role because it provides me with great insights into the latest evidence and trends in research.
What motivated you to choose OPEN Health?
I was thrilled to be offered the role of Director of Preference Research at OPEN Health, and I’m so excited to be able to offer my knowledge to help grow the preference research team within the already established Patient Centered Outcomes (PCO) group.
A growing team has the opportunity to take risks and try new things that more established teams can’t. Our research team, with experts in India, China, Europe and the US, will take the rigorous preference analysis approach demanded by the US FDA and European health technology assessment bodies and generate high-quality evidence from underserved patient communities around the world. We’ll be breaking new ground and providing our clients with insights that nobody else can offer.
During the interview process, I had the privilege to see the team's energy first-hand and I loved the opportunity to talk with the senior leadership team about the opportunities for the future that I can deliver.
What unique value do you think you will bring to OPEN Health?
I think my greatest asset is my diverse background and experience: I’ve been an academic, I’ve been a researcher on the ground, and I’ve been in industry.
I have conducted global projects in health, transport, and environmental science, helping clients answer their research questions, and have published over 50 peer-reviewed papers in top journals such as Pharmacoeconomics, Journal of Health Economics, and Health Economics.
My passion is designing survey instruments for – and analyzing data from – multiple stated preference methodologies, developed across a range of fields of applications. Regulators are increasingly expecting pharma companies to perform these analyses, and with my help OPEN Health will have the expertise to support them.
Overall, I hope I can bring a unique set of skills and experience that can contribute greatly to OPEN Health.
What motivates you in the field of preference research? Can you share some of your key interests and thoughts on future direction?
Preference research unlocks the voice of the patient. Too often, I’ve seen that voice limited to small focus groups or even a single patient representative. Preference research helps us understand the whole population using solid scientific evidence.
I love the idea that my research is contributing to improving the lives of patients and caregivers, and helps to focus drug development on patients’ actual needs.
I am passionate about the analysis of stated preferences, in particular exploring how people with the same condition can have totally different experiences.
OPEN Health aims to improve health outcomes and patient wellbeing; how do you see this in action in your role at OPEN Health?
I want to see the OPEN Health preference research team become thought leaders in Pharma and health economics, and for our analytical approach to be recognized as the standard practice to secure the best outcomes for patients.
An evidence-based approach to understanding patient preferences can help sponsors to develop drugs and devices that better meet their needs. My ultimate goal – and the goal of OPEN Health – is to achieve better patient wellbeing.