The advent of patient-focused drug development has underscored the priority of engaging the patient voice in pharmaceutical drug development. Increasingly, industry sponsors are engaging patients earlier in the development process. This is especially true in oncology via partnerships with patient advocacy organizations, individual patients and clinicians. However, these partnerships face challenges and require a willingness to change attitudes and approaches in order to reshape traditional models of drug development. In 2016 Bayer launched a pilot program, the Patient Advocate Advisory Council (PAAC), with the goal to design and execute a program whereby experienced patient advocates join development teams as advisors. The PAAC worked closely with Bayer on the pilot. The initiative paved a new way of introducing the patient perspective into Bayer’s clinical development at an early stage. Panelists will share key learnings and best practices as well as obstacles and solutions from this collaboration.