PhD Position in Framework for Value Driven Market Access of Gene Therapy
Catholic University of Leuven

The unit Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy and the Healthcare Management Centre at Vlerick Business School is looking for a PhD researcher to investigate how patient access to innovative medicines can be facilitated. We are a vibrant unit at the Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences with a motivated team of researchers involved in several projects on both regulatory and market access level. This project will give you the opportunity to engage with both KU Leuven and Vlerick researchers and to collaborate with several external partners such as representatives from the government agencies and pharmaceutical industry.


Drug development today is increasingly focused on the development of biological products, including advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs). However, market uptake of these therapies has been limited in Europe due to difficulties in obtaining reimbursement. Governments experience decision-uncertainty due to persisting uncertainties caused by shortcomings in clinical trial design and the unavailability of long-term data on efficacy and safety. Furthermore, the sustainability of the healthcare budget is threatened by having to absorb potential peaks of treatment prices of €320,000 for CAR-Tcell therapies up to €1,900,000 for gene therapy treating spinal muscular atrophy.

The selected PhD student will contribute to developing new methods to facilitate the reimbursement of innovative therapies and subsequently aid patients in gaining access to these transformative therapies.This research project will aim to tackle the most important challenges that ATMPs face when trying to obtain market access:

  1. Study the possibility of using new payment structures for the reimbursement of innovative therapies focusing on overcoming challenges to enable real-life implementation in the healthcare system.
  2. Investigate how the value of these innovative therapies can be correctly evaluated by healthcare payers.

The PhD project will require a highly collaborative approach to formulate solutions acceptable to all relevant stakeholders.Therefore, the PhD student will have to build durable relationships with governmental agencies, pharmaceutical industry, patient organisations and healthcare providers. The research will include quantitative studies (literature reviews, surveys, analysis of data) and qualitative studies (semi-structure dinterviews, focus group discussions, expert panels, workshops).

Description of function

  • You perform research in the described research domain. You are involved in the design, set-up and execution of the research, and you report on the results in scientific publications. This research has the intention to lead to a PhD degree.
  • You are motivated to collaborate with external stakeholders to formulate widely supported solutions.
  • You follow the ‘patient related and public health research’ programme of the Doctoral School of Biomedical Sciences.
  • You coach master students carrying out their master thesis.


  • Master in pharmaceutical sciences, master in drug development, master in biomedical sciences, master in medicine, master in bioengineering, master in law, master in bioethics, or master in social sciences with outspoken interest in market access, regulatory sciences and health economics.
  • Candidates with a Master’s degree in another field may apply if they can demonstrate their expertise and interest in market access of medicines.
  • You will engage yourself with enthusiasm and perseverance to a four-year research project.
  • You are ambitious, dynamic, flexible and take an open attitude towards problems and evolutions.
  • You are directed towards innovation, including health economics and patient access.
  • You are able to work independently and take decisions.
  • You have excellent social and communication skills to deal with all stakeholders in this field. You are able to work in an international multidisciplinary team and cooperate with other team members. You can speak fluently Dutch (French is a plus) and have good written and oral knowledge of English.
  • You have good didactic skills and you can coach and motivate other persons.


A full time position within a highly motivated research group with relevant experience and expertise. For this job, a contract of 1 year is offered that, after a positive evaluation, can be extended yearly to a period of 4 years.


More information available via prof. dr. Isabelle Huys, tel.: +32 16 33 04 09 (

Your solicitation is expected before Dec 9th 2020. Interviews take place in Dec2020.

If later, contact prof. Isabelle Huys.

KU Leuven adopts a policy of equal opportunities and diversity.

You can apply for this job no later than December 09, 2020 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: December 9, 2020
  • Tags: Farmaceutische en Farmacologische Wetenschappen

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Medicinoxy


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