In my role, I lead the company’s global research and development in breast cancer, a disease that despite many gains in recent years, remains the most common cancer in women around the world.

I joined AstraZeneca after nearly 20 years as a clinician and breast cancer researcher, serving as a principal investigator for many pivotal trials including a number of practice-changing Phase 3 trials. I am proud to be part of a company that is applying learnings from its long heritage in breast cancer to transform the future paradigm of treatment. With more than 10 potential new medicines in current studies and development for breast cancer and over 150 ongoing clinical trials across the world, AstraZeneca is deeply commitment to advancing treatments that could bring us a step closer to a cure.

We’re examining the role of key research platforms — DNA damage response, immuno-oncology, tumour drivers and resistance and antibody drug conjugates — that we believe show the greatest potential to yield effective medicines and to ensure each patient gets the treatment that is right for them.

In addition to the impact on clinical research and clinical care, I am proud of my role as a mentor to future breast cancer research pioneers. Over my career, I have mentored more than 100 residents and fellows, created innovative educational projects in oncology, and have won several teaching and mentoring awards. I have served as co-investigator or principal investigator for numerous clinical trials and have authored 125 peer-reviewed manuscripts. I have chaired, co-chaired or been a member of many regional and national health services cancer leadership committees in Canada and international cancer conference leadership committees.

After receiving a medical degree and postgraduate training in internal medicine and medical oncology at the University of Alberta in Canada, I earned a Masters in Medical Education at the University of Southern California. My training in breast cancer included a fellowship at the University of Toronto.

This is an exciting time in breast cancer research and treatment. Insights into the underlying biology of breast cancer are guiding our clinical strategy. We’re looking beyond the tumour site and exploring biology-driven scientific platforms—beyond the traditional breast cancer subtypes. We are leveraging these insights and the power of multiple scientific platforms to what could someday yield the next evolution in the treatment of breast cancer for patients.

Sunil Verma Vice President, Global Clinical Head, Breast Cancer and Head of Breast Cancer Research Strategy


Global Clinical Head of Breast Cancer and Head of Breast Cancer Research Strategy


Led the growth of the department and launched the build of the New Calgary Cancer Centre, one of the largest comprehensive cancer care facility in North America during term as Professor and Head of the Department of Oncology at the University of Calgary and Medical Director of the Tom Baker Cancer Centre


Served on the faculty at the University of Toronto, most recently as Associate Professor, Department of Medicine


Held several roles at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre including Medical Director of the Louise Temerty Breast Cancer Centre, and for the Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre served as the Head of the Breast Cancer Clinical Trials Unit; Staff Medical Oncologist - Clinical Educator, Division of Medical Oncology & Hematology; and Education Supervisor, Breast Fellowship Program

Overall Survival with Palbociclib and Fulvestrant in Advanced Breast Cancer

Turner NC, Slamon DJ, Ro J, Bondarenko I, Im SA, Masuda N, Colleoni M, DeMichele A, Loi S, Verma S, Iwata H. N Engl J Med. 2018 Nov 15;379(20):1926-36.

Palbociclib plus endocrine therapy in older women with HR+/HER2–advanced breast cancer: a pooled analysis of randomised PALOMA clinical studies

Rugo HS, Turner NC, Finn RS, Joy AA, Verma S, Harbeck N, Masuda N, Im SA, Huang X, Kim S, Sun W. Iyer S, Schnell P, Bartlett CH, Johnston S. Eur J Cancer. 2018 Sep 1;101:123-33.

Health-related quality of life of postmenopausal women with hormone receptor positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative advanced breast cancer treated with ribociclib + letrozole: results from MONALEESA-2

Verma S, O’Shaughnessy J, Burris HA, Campone M, Alba E, Chandiwana D, Dalal AA, Sutradhar S, Monaco M, Janni W. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2018 Aug1;170(3):535-45.

Trastuzumab emtansine versus capecitabine plus lapatinib in patients with previously treated HER2-positive advanced breast cancer (EMILIA): a descriptive analysis of final overall survival results from a randomised, open-label, phase 3 trial

Diéras V, Miles D, Verma S, Pegram M, Welslau M, Baselga J, Krop IE, Blackwell K, Hoersch S, Xu J, Green M, Gianni L. Lancet Oncol. 2017 Jun;18(6):732–742.

Palbociclib in Combination With Fulvestrant in Women With Hormone Receptor-Positive/HER2-Negative Advanced Metastatic Breast Cancer: Detailed Safety Analysis From a Multicenter, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Phase III Study (PALOMA-3)

Verma S, Bartlett CH, Schnell P, Demichele AM, Loi S, Ro J, Colleoni M, Iwata  H, Harbeck N, Cristofanilli M, Zhang K, Thielse A, Turner NC, Rugo HS. Oncologist. 2016 Oct;21(10):1165-75.

Trastuzumab Emtansine for HER2-Positive Advanced Breast Cancer

Verma S, Miles D, Gianni L, Krop IE, Welslau M, Baselga J, Pegram M, Oh DY, Diéras V, Guardino E, Fang L, Lu MW, Olsen S, Blackwell K, EMILIA Study Group, N Engl J Med. 2012 Nov 8;367(19):1783-91.

Emerging trends in the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer in Canada: a survey

Verma S, Provencher L, Dent R, Curr Oncol. 2011 Aug 03;18(4):180-90.


Patient adherence to aromatase inhibitor treatment in the adjuvant setting

Verma S, Madarnas Y, Sehdev S, Martin G, Bajcar J. Curr Oncol. 2011 May;18 Suppl 1:S3-9.

Is cardiotoxicity being adequately assessed in current trials of cytotoxic and targeted agents in breast cancer?

Verma S, Ewer MS. Ann Oncol. 2011 May;22(5):1011-8.