Pharma needs to embrace new strategies for personalized, precision medicine
Part II of our interview series on precision medicine
As precision medicine hones its skills and attempts to become even more personalized, pharma companies and clinical trial designs must embrace new strategies.
“This could mean smaller profits for pharma, but more targeted therapeutics for patients avoiding needless side effects”
Kevin Hrusovsky, CEO of Quanterix and Founder of Powering Precision Health tells The Sociable that pharma companies and clinical trial design have had to face this new reality, embracing new strategies that focus on proactive patient care and personalized medicine.
“For pharma companies, this is going to mean improved clinical trial outcomes and the ability to bring more drugs to the market quicker.
“At the same time, paradoxically, it can also mean their drugs are proven efficacious in smaller patient subsets instead of being given to a broad population without taking their individual make-up,” he says.
The ability to zero-in on an individual’s unique health circumstances was once just a concept. Today, it is made possible through advances across the healthcare spectrum, from biomarkers and genomics to strides in Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The result is, we can now monitor our heart rates through our watches, see exactly how much REM we got last night, and be forewarned to dangerous health problems like cancers and heart attacks through a simple blood test.
This is new territory that pharmaceutical companies are stepping into. Clinical research organizations and biopharmaceutical companies, too are aiming to integrate patient-centricity into every phase of drug discovery, development, and deployment.
A PWC survey of over 100 leaders in the pharmaceutical industry across a range of functions, which included leaders at 15 of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies, showed high awareness of the advent of precision medicine among executives.
Some 92% of respondents pointed to precision medicine as an opportunity, while 84% have it on their corporate agenda.
“For pharma companies, this is going to mean improved clinical trial outcomes and the ability to bring more drugs to the market quicker”
“This could mean smaller profits for pharma, but more targeted therapeutics for patients avoiding needless side effects for patients for whom the drugs do not work,” Hrusovsky explains.
“For the future of clinical trial design, this means a chance to reinvigorate efforts that have stalled in the past and tackling diseases for which we still lack promising treatments to fight,” he adds.
Precision health can provide information that allows us to better understand why a patient isn’t responding to a clinical trial, insights into factors such as sleep, diet, heart rate, and genetic indicators. These can be used to improve trials in the future and ultimately lead to higher success rates.
Many topics in the purlieu of precision medicine will be new to pharmaceutical companies, for which they will need to boost in-house resources like legal and compliance functions in new data-related areas.
Moreover, companies will need to work in tandem with their established organizational culture and the new order that hobs nobs with data technology or diagnostic skills.