INSIGHT

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Social-Digital Discourse

Introduction: Why social-digital now?

Every day, over 1,500 people in the US and an estimated 20,000 people around the world – just like you and me – will hear the news that they have been diagnosed with cancer. Thousands of them will be in the indication of melanoma or another lethal form of cancer. Those diagnosed with late stage cancer that has metastasized (spread to other parts of the body) will have to face the difficult fact that there is less than 50% chance that they will survive more than 5 years with this disease. With limited treatment options, these patients are in need of solutions now.  These are not just statistics; I am constantly reminded of the urgency underlying our efforts at OncoSec. We are focusing on developing novel therapies for the treatment of cancer: to be successful, we are aware that we must be novel in our approach and to take advantage of tools that might not otherwise be traditionally used by companies in our space.

The emergence of digital-based social media has revolutionized our world. Like the internet in the mid-1990’s and even the telephone and television before that, social media has changed the way we communicate and disseminate information. Today, information is abundant and people are starved to not only obtain but also pass on this information to others. Because of this craving and its convergence with social media, we now think, see and react to events at a speed never before imagined. This has affected all facets of our lives, including health and medicine. Now, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, advocacy groups, and patients have their own Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and blogs. A patient can post a question on a chat room about their disease and can expect an answer within hours – in some cases, even minutes – from a doctor or another patient from the other side of the world. Information fuels innovation and, as a company dedicated to being leaders in innovative ideas to treat cancer, we are obligated to take part in this social media revolution.

I’ve started this blog as a way to highlight areas of importance within the biotech industry, as well as to make note of some of the areas of my life that I am constantly working towards. Before we started OncoSec, my work as the VP of Finance and Operations for Inovio immersed me in the biotech and life sciences world. It allowed me to develop a keen sense for where the industries are heading: a future I feel very passionate about.

As President and CEO of OncoSec, I have the privilege of speaking with the leaders in the field of medical oncology on a daily basis. However, with the advent of social media and it’s complete integration into our daily lives, I realize that, although I have access to the state-of-the-art information as it pertains to medical oncology, it is only the tip of the iceberg. There is more to learn and gain from those waging the war against this terrible disease at the ground level; namely the doctors, patients and family members directly affected by cancer.

The blog will include stories about OncoSec, the biotech industry, business and professional best practices and personal milestones, along with other different activities in my life. Personally, I find the business professionals that I look up to the most are the people who are the most well-rounded: the tech entrepreneur philanthropist, the head of finance public speaker or the family driven, multinational CEO health blogger. I think those people who play multiple roles and have their own creative outlets are truly inspiring. As the CEO of OncoSec, a husband, father and avid triathlete and marathoner, I try to also strive for a comprehensive lifestyle and that is what I hope to portray here.

From time to time, you may see milestones pop up that relate to OncoSec, a marathon I’m competing in, a family event or otherwise. All of these things are very close to me and I think the true heart of a story is in showing all the angles. Through this blog and my updates via twitter I would like to achieve a community willing to share their thoughts, insights, stories and beliefs about the urgency to mobilize the community at large to conquer cancer. My purpose is to gain access to the information in the ever-growing social-digital environment with the hope that I can help to build OncoSec into a stronger, innovative and socially conscious organization.

If you’d like to make a comment about the blog, ask me about a topic or even inquire about me writing on a specific theme, you can find me on Twitter at @PunitDhillon.

Glad to have you here with us for the ride.