ESMO Virtual Data Briefing Biographies

A man carries a little girl on his shoulders.



Since joining Bayer in 2017, Dr. Scott Z. Fields has held the position of Senior Vice President and Head of Oncology Development at Bayer’s Pharmaceutical Division. In his current role, Dr. Fields is dedicated to driving the research and development that broadens Bayer’s innovative pipeline and maximizes the impact of existing treatments for patients in need.


With more than 14 years of experience working in the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Fields has become an expert in global product development. Prior to joining Bayer, he led clinical development divisions at Vertex, Arno Therapeutics, Eisai and Amgen. Previously, he served as an Assistant Professor of Medicine, Co-Director of Bone Marrow Transplant and Head of Intramural Research at SUNY Upstate Medical Center and as a Faculty Member of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Methods in Clinical Cancer Research Workshop. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center where he has taught since 2003.


Dr. Fields received his medical degree from SUNY Downstate and completed his Internal Medicine and Hematology/Oncology training at Columbia University Medical Center.


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Robert LaCaze began his position in February 2017 as a Member of the Executive Committee of Bayer AG’s Pharmaceuticals Division and Head of the Oncology Strategic Business Unit (SBU), which was developed to support the company’s growing oncology portfolio at Bayer. His focus lies in cross-functional management of the SBU, Bayer’s approved therapies, as well as other early- and late-stage development candidates.


Prior to joining Bayer in 2015, Mr. LaCaze was at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he held the position of Senior Vice President, Head of Product and Portfolio Strategy in Princeton, New Jersey. Prior to this role, he held other senior oncology-focused managerial roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb.


Throughout his career, Mr. LaCaze has spent a great amount of time in executive roles in the pharmaceutical industry. His career has particularly been focused on global strategy, operations, and global product launches including small molecules, biologics, and immuno-oncology.


Mr. LaCaze received a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Louisiana Tech University, where he currently serves on the Advisory Board for the College of Business.


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Dr. Theodore Laetsch is a pediatric oncologist and leads both the Developmental Therapeutics Program (DVL) and the Very Rare Malignant Tumors Program (VRMTP) at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, as well as holding national leadership roles in each of these areas within the Children’s Oncology Group (COG).


In the DVL program, Dr. Laetsch conducts early phase clinical trials of new treatments for children with difficult to treat cancers, with a particular area of focus including molecularly targeted therapies that are designed to block specific genetic mutations identified in patients' tumors. In particular, Dr. Laetsch leads the pediatric development of TRK inhibitors for children with NTRK gene fusions, and now leads a COG nationwide clinical trial studying the ability to use TRK inhibitors instead of chemotherapy for children with one of these gene fusions.


While individually very uncommon, together very rare malignant tumors comprise over 10% of childhood cancers. Given the rarity of each individual diagnosis, these cancers have been poorly studied and for many patients there are not standard, defined treatments. As the chair of the Rare Tumors Committee for the Children’s Oncology Group, Dr. Laetsch is working to advance the study of these tumors and define new ways to treat patients. Dr. Laetsch is hopeful that we can advance the care of patients with these tumors by using cancer genomics to identify targetable mutations as well as studying immunotherapy, which has revolutionized the care of many of these cancers in adult patients.


Finally, Dr. Laetsch is a member of the cellular therapy / chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell team at the Children’s Hospital. Prior to joining the Children’s Hospital in 2020, Dr. Laetsch led the pediatric CAR T-cell program at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.


In each of these areas, Dr. Laetsch provides clinical care and conducts research, with an overarching goal of improving treatment options for children with difficult to treat cancers.


Ray McDermott


Professor Ray McDermott commenced his training in Medical Oncology at the Mater Hospital, Dublin during which time he completed an MBA in Health Services Management. From there, he went to the Institut Curie, Paris where he earned a PhD in Tumour Immunology. He subsequently completed his clinical training at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, where he furthered an interest in Genito-Urinary Oncology. He took up a post as Consultant Medical Oncologist at the Adelaide and Meath, incl. National Children’s Hospital (AMNCH), Tallaght in 2004.


In 2006, Professor McDermott was instrumental in establishing Ireland as a main member of the Eastern Co-Operative Group (ECOG), a multidisciplinary, membership-based scientific organization that designs and conducts biomarker-driven cancer research involving adults who have or are at risk of developing cancer. Professor McDermott is the Principal Investigator for Ireland in this initiative.


In 2009, Professor McDermott became Vice Clinical Lead of the Irish Clinical Oncology Research Group (rebranded as Cancer Trials Ireland in 2016). In 2012, he took over as Clinical Lead and facilitated an organisational restructure with appointment of an independent Board of Directors and development of a strategic vision for cancer trials in Ireland.


Under the auspices of the National Cancer Control Programme and the establishment of “Centres of Excellence”, Professor McDermott’s public hospital commitment was split between AMNCH and St Vincent’s University Hospital, where he pursues his interest in genito-urinary and gastro-intestinal cancers.


Professor McDermott is the National Cancer Control Programme leader in guideline development for prostate cancer and sits on the new drug evaluation committee across all diseases. He is the clinical lead of the All Ireland Clinical Oncology Research Group and Chair of the Genito-Urinary Disease Specific Sub-Group.


In 2016, he was appointed Clinical Professor in Medical Oncology by University College Dublin. He is committed to improving outcomes for Irish patients with cancer through clinical and translational research.