Podcast with Kristen Coletto (WG ’06) | Aetion

The hot take: Kristen is a shining example of how Wharton grads can dive straight into industry after B-school and have an outstanding career. After Wharton she turned down consulting and offers in NYC and SF to instead head up to Hartford, CT to work at Aetna. She’s had some incredible, hands-on experiences and now manages partnerships for a very hot, Wharton-led startup called Aetion, based in NYC.

Outlined below are the different sections of the 35 min podcast with summary bullets.

How Kristen got to Aetion (0:00–4:30):

  • Consulting prior to Wharton but it lacked the impact she wanted
  • After Wharton went to Aetna and stayed there for 9 years, corporate strategy then Aetna International, and lastly at Healthagen leading incubation efforts for new products
  • Worked at Change Healthcare for 3 years (a la former podcast guest Adam Sinensky)
  • Started talking to Aetion right after the Series A, and kept in touch with them for a year before coming on board — now is on the Strategic Partnerships team

Summary of Aetion (4:30–8:00):

  • In line with the focus on outcomes and value in healthcare, the right information and analysis is needed to determine which drugs work for whom and when
  • Aetion does this by analyzing Real World Evidence at scale
  • They went to market only in 2015 but already have 120 employees, HQ in NYC with offices in Boston and LA as well
  • Aetion Evidence Platform (AEP) — is used by biopharma and Payers who run their own analyses and studies to answer high-stakes questions in health care
  • Also provide analytic solutions using the AEP, project based, through an in-house team of scientists
  • 8 of largest 15 biopharma companies use AEP

Setting the stage for why Aetion needs to exist (9:00–17:00):

  • Decisions around drug delivery used to be made from information from clinical trials — now we are also able to use Real World Evidence to provide a broader view of patients
  • Real World Evidence (RWE or RWD) — information that can inform a patient’s health status, can include data such as claims, EHR data, patient-reported, mobile and medical device data…data around when patient gets care and the clinical outcomes they are seeing
  • 21st Century Cures act pushes the FDA to start to determine frameworks for how RWE will be used and in what scenarios
  • FDA has chosen Aetion for a 3 year (currently ongoing) project to recreate clinical trials, but now use RWE, and determine whether the same regulatory decisions would have been made
  • Aetion can be the independent 3rd party that brings BioPharma and regulatory decision-makers together

Kristen’s role at Aetion (17:30–20:00):

  • Member of Aetion’s Strategic Partnerships Team
  • Aetion is data-agnostic, so Kristen has been working on brokering different data arrangements so that customers can access additional data to run analyses

How is the data landscape shifting (20:00–23:00):

  • There are more consortiums around data, Europe seems to be more open to sharing with appropriate privacy protocols in place
  • Addressing underlying public health issues seems to be a driver for increased sharing
  • Aetion’s platform, and the power of what they are doing, is fairly eye-opening in the industry

Aetion emphasizes bringing women on-board (23:00–26:00):

  • 37% of senior leadership is female (up from 28% last year)
  • CEO Carolyn Magill is member of Parity.org — company commits to interviewing one qualified women for every senior level role, VP and above

Aetion has a lot of Wharton touchpoints (26:00–28:00):

  • CEO Carolyn is a Wharton healthcare alumn, there are three additional Wharton MBA alumns including Kristen
  • Participated in Wharton Digital Health Trek in late Fall 2018
  • Sponsoring a FAP project this year
  • Sponsor the Flare Scholars Program
  • Carolyn comes back to campus often to speak in classrooms and conferences

Hiring landscape at Aetion (28:00–29:30):

  • Partnerships team, Delivery (implementation and working with clients) are definitely hiring and looking to grow with MBAs
  • Very open to internships (full disclosure: author of this post, Rohan Siddhanti, is doing a Spring 2019 remote internship with Aetion)

Last thoughts (29:30–35:00):

  • When it comes to career decisions, you don’t need to have everything so planned and mapped out, meandering for a bit is OK
  • Kristen had a consulting offer and gave it up to go work in industry (Aetna at the time) in Hartford, CT, even though she was looking at jobs in NY and SF
  • Doing an internship other than consulting might give you the exposure you need
  • Has had six roles since B school, but only two did she apply for formally!
  • Writing your own job descriptions is a good thing, don’t shy away from something that you’re interested in that doesn’t exist yet