Baxalta puts rare cancers in front of the lens with new photo exhibit


Baxalta is working to bolster its cancer footprint--and now, it’s working to bolster cancer awareness, too.

The Illinois pharma is teaming up with photographer Rick Guidotti on a new photo project designed to illustrate the perspectives of rare cancer patients, it said Tuesday. The exhibit--titled Rare Cancer Illuminated: a View From Within--will debut in Chicago just ahead of this year’s annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

The goal of the initiative, according to Baxalta oncology president David Meek, is to “unite the community to drive action” surrounding rare cancers, which make up fewer than 15 per 100,000 of U.S. cases per year. Rare cancer communities face “unique challenges,” according to the company, and it’s looking to foster collaboration that can “achieve more efficient diagnoses, treatment, access, and support.”

Baxalta has been turning more attention to the oncology field ever since news broke that it would be spinning off from parent company Baxter. Shortly after that announcement last spring, Baxter agreed to purchase leukemia treatment Oncaspar from Italy’s Sigma-Tau Finanziaria, and it hasn’t looked back. In January, it unveiled a $1.6 billion deal with Copenhagen’s Symphogen to collaborate on a new pipeline of checkpoint cancer therapies, and the following month, it signed a $1.6 billion deal with North Carolina’s Precision BioSciences to team up on 6 CAR-T projects.

The extra focus on cancer meds was important for the new company, which currently generates most of its revenue in an increasingly competitive hemophilia arena. Now, though, Baxalta won’t have to worry about its solo prospects, as it’s on its way to an already-agreed-upon merger with Ireland’s Shire.

Meanwhile, Rare Cancer Illuminated isn’t the first foray into pharma photography for Guidotti, founder of diversity-focused non-profit Positive Exposure. Last year, Novartis tapped him to help raise awareness of a pair of skin conditions with the Skin Impressions campaign, aimed at capturing the spirit of those living with chronic hives and skin plaques.

- read the release

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