Medical Device News Magazine Interview with CEO of CareDx, Peter Maag
MDNM: How has CareDx worked to address the challenges for transplant patients during the pandemic?
Peter Maag: During the current pandemic, CareDx has worked to bring the transplant community together by offering solutions that help patients manage their transplant while minimizing risk. CareDx launched RemoTraC, an at-home blood draw service for the routine transplant labs, and C19TxR, a COVID-19 registry for transplant patients with confirmed positive cases.
CareDx’s focus continues to be the health and well-being of transplant patients being served. In the last few months, the company has emphasized building out our testing and digital solutions – allowing the company to alter the ways transplant patients are cared for, even more so in a crisis.
MDNM: What solutions/services have the company developed to aid immune-compromised transplant patients?
Peter Maag: As you may know, transplant patients require frequent blood tests which normally require in-person visits to draw sites at labs or hospitals. In close coordination with transplant centers, CareDx announced the launch of RemoTraC in March 2020. RemoTraC stands for Remote Transplant Care, and is a home-based blood draw solution using mobile phlebotomy for AlloSure and AlloMap surveillance tests, as well as for other standard transplant tests. By reducing visits to busy labs and hospitals, immunosuppressed transplant patients at the highest risk during the COVID-19 pandemic can limit their potential exposure.
During this time of uncertainty, there is also limited data on the impact on immunosuppressed transplant recipients who acquire the disease. In response to this, In April 2020, CareDx proudly announced the COVID-19 Transplant Registry (C19TxR.org), to support the transplant community. The registry site is run on the Ottr platform, and is free to use, open access, and web-based, with a real-time analytics dashboard for users to quickly engage in best practices for COVID-positive transplant patient management. An international consortium has rapidly come together to centralize global data and insights on transplant patients with COVID-19.
MDNM: In what ways has CareDx experienced growth in the midst of COVID-19, while many other healthcare companies have been forced to scale back? AND/OR What are some of CareDx’s recent value acceleration cornerstones?
Peter Maag: CareDx is extremely resilient, putting patient care first in all decisions, especially through this current pandemic. We have adjusted quickly to the changing environment by launching new solutions like RemoTraC and C19TxR, and creating virtual engagements with clinicians and patients. With the largest transplant meetings, American Transplant Congress, the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplant, and the European Federation for Immunogenetics, all canceled or changed to virtual, CareDx ran virtual abstract sessions and symposiums.
MDNM: What initiatives or efforts has CareDx done to engage with the transplant community during this time?
Peter Maag: During this time, CareDx has been working to help elevate conversations and provide resources to the transplant community about the COVID-19 pandemic through a series of patient events, including the company’s recent webinar on Transplant Patient Travel with Oscar Munoz, the Chairman of United Airlines. CareDx has also partnered with the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), Transplant Recipients International Organization (TRIO), and the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) on virtual patient education events. Coming up on September 26, CareDx will be hosting the AlloCare Transplant Festival, an interactive virtual event for the transplant community.
While the world is experiencing unprecedented disruption to every facet of life, CareDx remains steadfast in our commitment to drive innovation for patient care and keep the transplant community connected – to foster conversations and provide additional insights for them as they navigate this new environment.
MDNM: What lies ahead for CareDx the rest of 2020?
CareDx continues to invest in innovation for transplant patient care.
Peter Maag: We are focusing on direct to patient solutions that enable individuals to better manage their transplant day in and day out. AlloCare, the transplant patient smartphone app, will launch this fall with the AlloCare Transplant Festival on September 26.
CareDx expands as the allo-transplant company with new solutions for stem cell transplant and engineered cell transplant patients. AlloHeme is a first of it’s kind solution to monitor recurrence after a stem cell transplant. AlloCare is a tool for cell therapy surveillance for patients who have received engineered cell transplants such as CAR-T therapies.
While 2020 has been an unpredictable year, CareDx will continue to flex in the face of change and bring new innovations forward to improve the lives of transplant patients around the world.
Dr. Maag has over 20 years of executive management experience in the pharmaceutical and diagnostic industry. Prior to joining CareDx, Peter was President of Novartis Diagnostics. He headed the expansion of the unit with worldwide growth in its blood screening business and established new ventures in molecular diagnostics. Peter also led one of Novartis’ key affiliates as Country President, Germany, and lived in a dynamically-growing and emerging market as Country President, Korea. At Novartis headquarters in Switzerland, he served as the Head of Strategy for Novartis Pharmaceuticals and helped launch the Infectious Diseases franchise. Prior to joining Novartis, Peter worked at McKinsey & Company in New Jersey and Germany, focusing on pharmaceuticals and globalization strategies. Besides supporting various healthcare and tech companies in their growth efforts, he holds a supervisory board position at Phoenix Pharma SE and serves on the board of the Personalized Medicine Coalition in Washington, DC. Peter studied pharmaceutical sciences in Heidelberg and London, and received his PhD from the University of Berlin, Germany.