In 2011, Tomoe Kamata faced a national and personal tragedy that led her to contemplate her priorities in life. An earthquake – the largest in Japan’s history – hit her hometown, killing her younger brother, his wife and two children.
“It was a very tough period for me,” she said. “After the experience, I thought, ‘Life is short.’ So I considered my career and life deeply, and decided I should do what I want to do.”
In 2014, Tomoe, a trained electrical engineer turned marketer, decided to enroll in business school in the Netherlands.
“I already had experience in marketing for more than 10 years, but I never studied marketing, finance or business in school,” she said. “I wanted to study marketing academically.”
Tomoe switched from engineering to marketing early in her career after realizing that she prefers working with people over equipment – and that she has a knack for it.
When I face a challenge, I feel great enthusiasm. I enjoy taking an idea, making a plan and implementing it to accomplish a goal.
Soon after receiving her MBA in 2015, she accepted a position as a Special Project Manager at Novocure in Japan. She chose Novocure because of its proprietary platform technology being developed to treat cancer – the technology itself and the challenge of bringing a unique therapy to market.
“I like challenge,” she said. “When I face a challenge, I feel great enthusiasm. I enjoy taking an idea, making a plan and implementing it to accomplish a goal.”
In her role at Novocure, she created and maintains the company’s Japanese website, and develops marketing materials geared toward physicians in Japan. Tomoe spent much of 2017 supporting the company’s effort to obtain national reimbursement of Novocure’s cancer therapy in Japan for the treatment of newly diagnosed glioblastoma (GBM). She collaborated with Novocure leaders and physicians to prepare the reimbursement application and respond to questions from the Japanese government throughout the application process. Novocure received the reimbursement approval of its GBM treatment in Japan in December.
“Without national reimbursement, it is almost impossible to introduce such a technology to the Japanese market,” she said. “We now have a great opportunity to increase awareness and adoption of our therapy in Japan.”
In Japan, companies communicate to patients via physicians rather than marketing directly to patients. Tomoe’s main goal in 2018 is to create effective strategies of communicating the benefits of Novocure’s cancer treatment to physicians. She launched an online training for physicians and she also plans to interact with physicians in person at medical conferences.
Tomoe finds purpose in the work she does at Novocure and feels committed to Novocure’s patient-forward mission.
“I want to increase awareness of Novocure’s cancer treatment in the Japanese market,” Tomoe said. “That is my mission at Novocure.”