Companion Diagnostics – Partnering for Personalized Medicine

September 15, 2010 · 3 comments

Industry Insights from Paul Meade, M. Sc, MPH

When the Human Genome Project was finally completed with the mapping of the genetic sequences of our DNA, there were many predictions about how the face of medicine would change forever. We would finally figure out how to cure diseases linked to genetic aberrations, find ways to enhance our interaction with the environment, and develop medicines that are tailored to fit our unique genome. But a decade later, we are all aware of just how painfully slow progress has been to date. However, one area that is advancing steadily is the use of companion diagnostics.

Everyone was quick to point to Herceptin and the prototype example of a diagnostic test that was required to be use prior to prescribing this chemotherapeutic agent for women with breast cancer that over-expressed the HER2/neu gene. But now there are more examples of such companion diagnostics, and the list continues to grow.

What does all this mean for the future of medicine, and the interaction among the diagnostic and biopharmaceutical companies? When we can go to a physician’s office, be correctly diagnosed, and then given a medicine to take knowing in advance that we will have a high probability of responding, without suffering from annoying side effects, then we will have personalized medicine.

Does that mean that people will have ... read more »

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Personalized Medicine Shaping Pharma's Future

May 25, 2010 · 1 comment

Industry Insights from Paul Meade, M. Sc, MPH

I have spent the last 30 years directly or indirectly involved with the pharmaceutical industry. I worked for two international pharmaceutical companies and have advised many other pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies over the past few years. So I undoubtedly have a biased view in favor of this industry and its aims to promote health while making a reasonable profit for its research efforts.

While I can appreciate all the activities undertaken by pharmaceutical companies to develop medicines to improve the health of people throughout the world, I can also understand why many people have a jaded view of these companies. The perception that pharmaceutical companies take advantage of sick people and make them pay high prices for medicines to make them better is one that prevails among many societies. Yet, through the invention of antibiotics to control infectious diseases, and vaccines to prevent many childhood diseases, and many other products for a variety of diseases, the pharmaceutical industry has made significant improvements to healthcare. In addition to the high cost of medicines, few people realize that the total cost of pharmaceutical products as a portion of the total healthcare spending in the United States is less than 10%. Yet, many people believe that medicines are far too expensive.

Pharmaceutical companies, for the most part, ... read more »

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