Roche Malaysia's Pharmaceutical Division Organized Its First Healthcare Hackathon

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Recently, Roche (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd, the pharmaceutical division, organized its first Hackathon, where staff came together during the CMCO to brainstorm realistic, innovative healthcare solutions for Malaysian cancer patients.


Themed ‘Reimagine Healthcare’, this 3-day event was co-organised with
MaGIC (The Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre) and was participated by employees from the Roche group in Malaysia, comprising the pharmaceutical, diagnostic and shared service centre. They were guided by a trainer, mentors and validators, with the aim of finding ideas that can potentially deliver real and potential impact to Malaysia’s healthcare system and cancer patients.



A hackathon is an event (usually hosted by a technology company or organization) where programmers gather for a short period of time to collaborate on a project. The participants normally work rapidly and often work without sleep to achieve their task, as the events generally last between 24 hours to a few days. 

“Hackathons have rapidly evolved and have become more flexible in recent years, and are now widely used in different industries,” said Lance Duan, the General Manager of Roche Malaysia. “Thus, I am pleased to see Hackathon evolving into the healthcare industry, as these proposed solutions may change the paradigm for patients and the healthcare ecosystem.”

Lance Duan, General Manager of Roche Malaysia

This 3-day event was co-organised with MaGIC, who helped bring in the mentors for the Hackathon. “Through this Hackathon journey, I believe the participants benefited from the insights and guidance from the diverse stakeholders, as not only were they from the healthcare community, but also from the digital and technology arena,” said Dzuleira Abu Bakar, CEO of MaGIC. 

Dzuleira Abu Bakar, CEO of MaGIC


Prior to the 3-day Hackathon event in November, there were 2 ‘ignition’ sessions for all Roche colleagues to join, whereby external speakers from various industries shared and discussed their innovation journey and how it had transformed their organisations to deliver a bigger and better impact within their industries.

When the Healthcare Hackathon kick-started on the first day, Roche staff were divided into 6 teams' and were introduced to the problem statement - How best to enable cancer patients to receive the best treatment for their specific condition. Through-out the first and the second day, the teams used design thinking to ideate and propose prototype solutions, while investigating different methodologies for their concept.

At the end of the third day, the 6 teams pitched against each other, when they presented their concept to the judges, who were Lance and several healthcare professionals. The judges looked for ideas that demonstrated a true commitment to innovation and digital utilization that delivered real, measurable impact and a realistic adoption of their concept. 

Dr. Benjamin Cheah, a Consultant Rheumatologist, who was one of the validators and judges, said, “I was privileged enough to witness an innovative event organised by Roche Malaysia. I am always inspired by the passion and enthusiasm of individuals. It was an honour to see the embrace of new ideas and the commitment to sustainable and positive innovation in healthcare.”

Dr. Benjamin Cheah, Consultant Rheumatologist

Lance also added, “As one of the judges, I was impressed with the 6 teams’ presentations, given the limited period to share innovative solutions for cancer patients. To me, all the ideas generated expressed a genuine desire to deliver meaningful change for Malaysian patients. By working together across different divisions, this enabled the OneRoche experience, which also helped the teams stay motivated as we deliver better outcomes to more patients faster. I thank the trainer, mentors and validators for their time and effort through-out, as well as my fellow judges for their hard work in reviewing the presentations with me”.

Two winners were announced - one in early childhood cancer education and the second an application on breast cancer. In the next few months, the winning teams will be provided with sponsors, mentors and sounding boards to make their ideas come to life. 

“I see the potential of Hackathons, in promoting out-of-the-box approaches to creating realistic solutions, and I look forward to more creative, disruptive ways, like our Healthcare Hackathon as this promotes innovation and radical collaboration in our bid to do more for Malaysian patients,” Lance added. 

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