The Cancer Drug Development Forum – CDDF is the platform for all stakeholders involved in the development of cancer drugs.

CDDF Live Webinar: Clinical Research in Central and Eastern Europe: Realising the opportunities

The Cancer Drug Development Forum (CDDF) held a live webinar on “Clinical Research in Central and Eastern Europe, Realising the opportunities” on Monday 12 February 2024 at 17:00 (CET) / 11:00 (EST).


This webinar gave a pre-view of the discussions that are going to take place during the hybrid CDDF Multi-stakeholder workshop on Clinical Research in Central and Eastern Europe “New Approaches for the Next Level of Development”, taking place on 15-16 April 2024 in Krakow, Poland.

Three high-level speakers covered the following topics during this webinar:


  • Dr Bhatti: The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) is developing a new clinical trials strategy to have smarter, faster, more patient-centered trials in Europe. EFPIA recently surveyed their members to understand where there are gaps in the current state of clinical research and identify any barriers limiting or reducing the number of European sites/countries participating in clinical trials. Dr Bhatti shared the top-level survey results and explained which actions EFPIA think are needed to bring more innovative trials to Europe and create a thriving clinical trial ecosystem that enables their conduct.
  • Prof Lawler presented some of the data intelligence that has been gathered on the impact of the war in Ukraine on cancer research and care and their implications. He will also highlight how lessons learnt can help to inform a reimagination of cancer research and care in post-conflict Ukraine and surrounding countries.
  • Mr. Janicki shared the background on AstraZeneca’s unique global clinical organization in Poland which over the last several years has grown from 60 employees to more than 1 500. Wiktor explored key questions around why would Poland be considered as a good place for a global clinical hub and what were the key success factors for its development at AstraZeneca. He also shared his perspective on the future of cancer clinical research in Poland.

Agenda: (CET time zone)

17:00 – 17:05     Introduction – Axel Glasmacher (University of Bonn & CDDF Board Member, DE)

17:05 – 17:15    What do we need to change to have smarter, faster, more patient centered trials in Europe – Susan Bhatti (Merck BV, NL)

17:15 – 17:25    Deploying data to understand cancer research challenges and opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe – Mark Lawler (Queen’s University Belfast; CDDF Board Member, UK)

17:25 – 17:40    Does Poland have the potential to become the next cancer research hub – Wiktor Janicki (AstraZeneca, PL)

17:40 – 18:00     Discussion – moderated by Axel Glasmacher (University of Bonn & CDDF Board Member, DE) and Susan Bhatti (Merck BV, NL)

Susan Bhatti

Susan Bhatti has been working in Regulatory Affairs in the pharmaceutical and clinical research industry for more than 25 years. At Merck BV she is Director EU Global Regulatory and Scientific Policy and is responsible for supporting the development of regulatory and scientific policies as well as responding to regulatory & legislative issues that impact product development. She is co-chair of the Clinical Research Expert Group at EFPIA and also co-leads a subgroup focussed on patient engagement.

Wiktor Janicki

President of the board at AstraZeneca Pharma Poland sp. z o.o., associated with the pharmaceutical industry for more than 17 years. Graduate of the Finance and Banking Faculty at the Warsaw School of Economics. He joined the pharmaceutical industry in 2003 as a financial analyst and held roles of increasing responsibility to become the finance director for Wyeth in Czech Republic and Slovakia. In 2010 he returned to Poland and joined Roche as a finance director to later take the office of the general manager of Roche Poland in 2015. As of May 2021, joined AstraZeneca Poland in his current role.
Wiktor strongly believes that values and true partnership drive sustainable business. Based on the motto that “the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers” he engages in activities aimed at development of future leaders and entrepreneurs. Wiktor is passionate about sustainability and agile ways of working, with the belief that these topics will shape our future as a society. In his spare time, he loves to hike in the Bieszczady mountains in his native Podkarpacie region.

Mark Lawler

Mark Lawler is an internationally renowned scientist with over 200 papers including key publications in the highest impact journals. His work has been recognised by numerous national and international awards. He is Associate Director of Health Data Research Wales-Northern Ireland which is driving innovative precision medicine and public health approaches through the use of Big Data. He is Scientific Director of DATA-CAN, the UK’s National Health Data Research Hub for Cancer. He is also Chair of the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership which deploys data intelligence to help underpin improved outcomes for cancer patients globally.
Mark has a strong commitment to patient-centred research/care and to addressing cancer inequalities. He was architect of the European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights, which he launched in the European Parliament with colleagues on World Cancer Day 2014. The Bill of Rights received the 2018 European Health Award, a prestigious award for partnerships that yield real health impact in Europe. Mark’s work on addressing inequalities and access issues in relation to cancer care formed the centrepiece in the development by the European Cancer Organisation of the European Code of Cancer Practice, which Mark launched (virtually) with EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides and colleagues in Brussels in September 2020
Mark’s work on Covid-19 and its impact on cancer services and cancer patients has received international attention and he co-chairs the European Cancer Organisation’s (E.C.O) Special Focussed Network on Covid-19 and cancer, which launched its 7-Point plan to Build Back Better (and smarter) from Covid. He presented recent data on Covid’s impact on cancer in Europe to the Europe Beating Cancer Committee in the European Parliament and launched E.C.Os pan European Time To Act Campaign to ensure that Covid-19 does not stop us from tackling cancer. The work on Covid-19 and cancer also received the prestigious Royal College of Physicians Excellence in Patient Care Award, which recognises the impressive work that doctors do to deliver patient-centred care through education, policy, clinical practice and research. Mark recently received the Irish Association for Cancer Research’s Outstanding Contribution to cancer research award, for his pioneering work on cancer research and cancer care on the island of Ireland.
In his spare time (if he has any!) Mark performs an acclaimed One Man Show on the Irish Writer James Joyce, which he does to raise money for charity.

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