Laboratories are the New Entrants in Personalized Medicine But Will Become a Dominant Force
July 6th, 2012
Maria Fe Paz of Diaceutics considers that laboratories will become key influencers, ultimately emerging as one of the most dominant stakeholder groups in the future personalized medicine space.
From the melting pot of opportunity that personalized medicine represents, we contend that stakeholders who had less market power under the traditional model of ‘one size fits all’ drugs will be able to grab a more central role in the effective diffusion of personalized medicine. This has already been witnessed by the invigorating growth of molecular diagnostics driven by a diagnostic industry seeking to move beyond a ‘low price, high volume’ business model to claim equal value for—and reward from—its contribution towards better clinical and financial outcomes.
However, we suggest that it will be clinical laboratories and not the diagnostic companies that will ultimately emerge as one of the most dominant stakeholder groups in the future of personalized medicine. Here are some of the reasons for this bullish view:
- Actually, laboratorians have always been among the early innovators in the space. Take, for example, the work of Stanley Cohen, whose career started in 1959 as assistant professor of biochemistry at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Cohen discovered, isolated, purified and sequenced epidermal growth factor (EGF), a protein that stimulates the growth of epithelial and other cells and enhances certain developmental growth cascades. We can expect more discoveries from this quarter as targeted therapies are explored in research institutions across the globe.
- Laboratorians already integrate testing into their institutions. Earlier, faster diffusion of testing will ultimately be critical to the success of personalized medicine. Laboratorians hold the keys to these particular jewels and may have an equal or greater influence with physicians than pharma or diagnostic representatives in terms of educating them about new tests.
- The personalized medicine testing market may always be served by two technologies, developed kits and lab developed tests. The more complex and multi-technology the testing algorithm, the less the laboratory developed kit will be able to compete. Consequently, pharma companies seeking efficient testing markets may partner with diagnostic companies to help with regulatory needs and the infusion of testing choices for labs, but increasingly we will see them ensure that all patient samples are tested to the highest quality, regardless of the underlying technology.
This topic will be explored in much more depth as part of an article, ‘The Importance Of Early Engagement With Laboratories To Ensure Seamless Availability Of Companion Diagnostics In Parallel With Therapy Launches’, that we anticipate will be published later this year in a special issue of the Journal of Personalized Medicine edited by Felix Frueh, entitled ‘Untold Stories about Personalized Medicine: If You Thought Personalized Medicine Is for Others to Worry About, Think Again.’
Stay tuned . . .