Looking back on 2020 – a year no one predicted
December 17, 2020

There’s not much that can be said about 2020 that hasn’t already been said. Unpredictable, unprecedented, unparalleled, 2020 will be remembered for a lot of things.

But as we look towards 2021, we’re seeing hope like we haven’t seen in many months. With vaccines getting approved from Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna, we’re starting to see them roll out to the most vulnerable and the most deserving populations.

For Medlior, 2020 was a year of growth and reflection. Like so many others, we transitioned to working from home and while that introduced new challenges, it also brought us closer together as we collectively worked with our children, pets, and families “in the office”.

2020 has also been a year of successes including:

Tara Cowling named Top 100 female entrepreneurs in Canada

Our founder and CEO, Tara Cowling, was named one of the Top 100 female entrepreneurs in Canada presented by The Total Inc,  Scotia Bank Women Initiative, and Visa Canada.“As a female founder of a scientific company, focused on data analytics, I hope to be an example for other women looking to succeed as leaders of STEM businesses” – Tara Cowling.

We welcomed new team members

This year we are fortunate and excited to have added new team members including Principal Suzanne McMullen, Research Lead Erin Graves, Biostatistician Lead John Paul Ekwaru and Research Associates Rhiannon Campden and Patrick Berrigan.

We worked on exciting research studies in 2020

This year we had the opportunity to work on some truly exciting projects including our recently released CADTH Horizon Scan Report on virus-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.

Other highlights from our projects this year included:

  1. Conducting a landmark systematic literature review on therapies for haemophilia A in collaboration with BioMarin and presented at the 2020 European Association for Haemophilia and Allied Disorders (EAHAD) conference
  2. Presenting analyses from our atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) in Alberta RWE study on healthcare utilization and costs at 2020 Canadian Cardiovascular Conference, in collaboration with Amgen and the University of Calgary
  3. Presenting novel data on SMA from our patient and caregiver survey and Alberta health system data analysis, in collaboration with Roche, at the World Muscle Society conference
  4. Updating our systematic literature review and network meta-analysis on first-line therapy for advanced EGFR-positive non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), including subgroup analyses of Japanese patients, published in Future Oncology, in collaboration with Pfizer
  5. Investigating work and productivity loss among patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) as a rapid review in collaboration with Pfizer and presented at the virtual 2020 European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplant
  6. Presenting our student-led poster on machine learning and AI for structured laboratory data in the management of multiple myeloma at the 2020 CADTH symposium

Predictions for 2020 – How’d we do?

It’s safe to say we could never have predicted where we’d be now a year ago, but as far as the health outcomes industry, let’s see how our predictions turned out?

At the beginning of the year we predicted:

  • Increase use of AI and machine learning for big data projects
  • Increase in utilization of Real World Evidence
  • Increase in quality standards for Real World Evidence
  • Increase in market access for gene therapies
  • Expanding indications for diverse populations not included in clinical trials
  • Increase in patient support programs for patient-centric outcomes

As it turns out, all of these predictions came to pass and most of them are in some stage of development.

Interestingly, one area of growing interest in 2020 is the generation of Real-World Evidence for patients with rare diseases. Clinical trials are faced with unique challenges in recruitment for clinical trials, which results in uncertainty for healthcare decision-making. Real-World Evidence is increasingly looked toward for addressing the uncertainty and increasing access to novel therapies for rare disease populations, who oftentimes do not have any treatments available.

Looking forward

The Medlior team is excited to launch into 2021 and continue our collaborative research studies that will positively impact patient care worldwide.

From our team to yours, we wish you a healthy holiday season and a vaccinated new year!