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Market access strategy in healthcare


Maude Champagne is a 2012 JMU Alumna of 'Master of Business Integration'. She works as an associate-director of market access strategy in Washington D.C. for the California-based company Illumina.

Maude Champagne Headshot, Photo: Private
Photo: Private (Image: ©Nicholas Barrett, All Rights Reserved)

Ms. Champagne, how would you describe your work to a non-professional?  

In market access, my goal is to gain coverage and reimbursement for innovative medical procedures. Each health system has unique sets of paths to get the value of a new technology recognized. My role is to create a global strategy to increase patient’s access and work with in-country teams to engage with public and private health systems and highlight the value of recent medical breakthroughs.

Illumina creates equipment and chemistry that allows scientists and medical professionals to read the DNA sequence, identify mistakes, and extract meaning. This can be used in a wide range of applications, from agriculture to forensic, to sequencing the covid-19 virus that is now affecting us. My expertise is in oncology: reading the DNA sequence of a cancer patient’s tumor to identify unique genetic mutations that can be targeted for treatment with a selective drug. This personalized medicine is more effective and less toxic than standard chemotherapy. Sequencing the tumor helps predict patient’s response to cancer treatment, avoids wasting precious months and resources to improve outcomes.

Why did you choose your branch of work?  

Genomics has been one of the fastest developing scientific fields in the last 20 years. Our technical capability to extract information on the building blocks of life and understand their meaning has increased exponentially. Being at the forefront of this evolution of such a dynamic field is incredibly stimulating. I am a pharmacologist by training - so mixing molecular biology with genomics and drugs development makes for the perfect combination!

What do you like the most about your job?  

Unfortunately cancer touches all of us, either directly or through a loved one. In the USA, half of cancer survivors are bankrupt because of high medical costs and lack of comprehensive insurance coverage. In countries where healthcare is centralized, innovative technologies may take years before they are made available to patients. New medical treatments only bring value if they are accessible. I see a huge gap in access to innovation, even in rich countries. Helping to democratize access improves lives of patients around the world – this is the best reward!

What is your biggest challenge?  

Since the field of genomic sequencing is so new, I often lack historical examples that I can use to predict outcomes. It makes it challenging to create a successful strategy, since it introduces risks, known and unknown. I have to be creative in looking at different scenarios and angles. While it is the biggest challenge, it is also an aspectof my work that I really enjoy.

Why did you chose Wuerzburg for your MBA and at would you describe as the best memory of your time in Wuerzburg?

My employer at the time, a German company name QIAGEN, nominated me to participate in the JMU eMBA in Würzburg. It was an opportunity offered to selected employees across the globe. It allowed me to refine my business acumen, better predict the company-wide impacts of strategic decisions and build systematic incremental innovation into processes.

Beyond the high quality academic curriculum, this experience brought me better cultural awareness and helped me build a network of friends around the globe. I cherish the memories of our time in Würzburg, especially enjoying a glass of Steinwein by the river after a day of learning!