Diagnostics Are a Driver, Not a Cost: Head of Merck Serono Pharma Links Erbitux Peak Sales With KRAS Diffusion Investment | Diaceutics

Diagnostics Are a Driver, Not a Cost: Head of Merck Serono Pharma Links Erbitux Peak Sales With KRAS Diffusion Investment

October 8th, 2013

Peter Keeling

Peter Keeling of Diaceutics highlights the financial return on investment possible when pharma invests in companion diagnostic testing, with a focus on Merck Serono’s Erbitux.

Belén Garijo, head of the Merck Serono’s pharma unit [2013], hits the nail on the head when she highlights the interdependency between a targeted therapy opportunity (in this case Erbitux) and the investment required in creating an efficient testing market (in this case KRAS and EGFR testing).

She says, “Depending on the country, testing can cause treatment delays ranging from a few days to a week and a half, making it a priority for Merck to provide support for faster testing and lab procedures.”  See the full article, Merck KGaA eyes KRAS-gene focus to boost Erbitux sales, here.

To put this in some financial context, our own financial research has indicated a range of between $60 to $80 in additional therapy sales from every $1 spent on improving the companion testing environment. If that was the return from an advertising or education campaign there would be no question about the investment. However, we continue to see therapy commercial teams perceive investment in improving the efficiency of a diagnostic market only as a cost rather than a driver. Consequently, for every 100 units of resource 98 are most often put into the therapy education and marketing and two into the companion testing market. We at Diaceutics believe this ratio should be more like 80:20.

Despite the many, many citations of a positive financial influence diagnostics can have on therapy markets and the goals of getting the right patient to the right therapy, the predominant dollar focus on the therapy in the personalized medicine market is culturally embedded. It is perhaps no coincidence that Belén Garijo worked at Abbott in the past and presumably understands the technology convergence taking place in front of our eyes.


View all blogs

Webinars & Podcasts

July 5th, 2019
Liquid Biopsy in NSCLC
August 9th, 2018
Podcast: Oncology Patient Research
Why do we need to talk biomarkers with patients? Senior Director of Market Research at Diaceutics, Marianne Fillion, recently spearheaded an effort to gather insights directly from oncology patients to get an understanding of what they know about ...
View all

Expert Insights

April 19th, 2018
The CMS National Coverage Decision on NGS
I. Introduction On March 16, 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a National Coverage Determination (NCD) that cove...
January 19th, 2018
What does the EU IVD Regulation mean for companion diagnostics and LDTs?
Dave Smart, PhD, Director at Diaceutics, discusses the introduction of the EU IVD Regulation. While it is considered a necessary step, the Regulati...
View all expert insights

Competitive Benchmarking Reports

March 16th, 2018
PM Readiness Report 2018 Summary
March 14th, 2017
Pharma Readiness for Diagnostic Integration 2017
View all reports

Case Studies

View all case studies


June 25th, 2019
FLT3 testing in relapsed Acute Myeloid Leukemia setting is becoming increasingly common, but laboratory turnaround times (TAT) may be a barrier to treatment with second generation FLT3 inhibitors
The treatment landscape in AML has developed at an astonishing pace in the last 3 years, with 5 therapies being approved by the FDA. FLT3 inhibitors gilteritinib (Gil) and quizartinib (Quiz) present an unprecedented opportunity for improved surviv...
May 23rd, 2019
Diaceutics reviews the ongoing debate on diagnostics reform legislation
Thought leaders at Diaceutics recently authored a peer-reviewed article that covers the ongoing national debate over diagnostics reform legislation in the United States. The article is now available online ahead of print in the Journal of Molecula...
View all publications