NEW YORK, August 27, 2015 – A broad community of industry stakeholders has come together to form and launch the first-of-its-kind organization to enable collaboration in personalized/precision medicine (PM). The PM Connective, as it is called, is a US-based not-for-profit firm whose founding partners are comprised of Board members and advisors from Biogen, bluebird bio, CAHG (an Omnicom Group subsidiary), Cardinal Health, Diaceutics, EPEMED (the European Personalised Medicine Association), George James Ltd, and Vivia Biotech.
The PM Connective (www.pmconnective.org) was conceived a year ago at a multi-stakeholder expert forum held in Dublin attended by over 100 experts working in the field. The forum was established to identify the barriers holding back better outcomes in personalized medicine. The primary barriers identified include: imbalanced incentives between pharma and diagnostic/laboratory companies; insufficient incorporation of patients, physicians, and pathologists in the pharma and diagnostic firm market development; delivery of PM technologies in siloed business models; and lack of evidence of the radical impact underpinning the original promise of PM.
“After much research and analysis, we identified that PM is unlikely to deliver on its original promise without rethinking about how to deliver radical outcome change,” said Alison Finger, SVP of Marketing at bluebird bio in Cambridge, MA and one of the founding Directors of the PM Connective. “In simple terms, PM only makes sense when you proactively engineer the integration of multiple technologies and education into a patient pathway. With everyone focused on only their part, we believe market forces will take decades to deliver this.”
“Each of the stakeholders in the current healthcare business model focus on costs and clinical benefits within their respective silos; however, at a disease outcomes level, this may be a suboptimal solution”, explained Jeff Waldron, Executive Director of the PM Connective. “My team will strive to cut across those verticals to create and validate a new, collaborative personalized medicine business model that will deliver reward commensurate with better outcomes.”
The PM Connective’s mission is to integrate the vertical silos of modern healthcare encompassing: patients and their families, patient support groups and foundations, individual physicians and nurses/caregivers, provider organizations and hospitals/treatment facilities, pharma companies, diagnostics firms, clinical investigators and research labs, payors, plan sponsors, and, finally, government regulators. All of these parties have a stake and say in how healthcare is researched and developed, administered, and paid for. The ultimate promise of personalized medicine is the mutually inclusive goal of improved patient health outcomes and lower integrated healthcare costs.
The PM Connective will accelerate collaboration of these companies and organizations around specific financial and clinical outcomes in key diseases that will benefit from PM. Specifically it will focus on the creation, validation, and deployment of an integrative business model across all of the component healthcare stakeholders. Further to provide evidence of the potential of this integrative business model, two different diseases have been chosen as role models where such collaboration is urgent and possible . . . malignant melanoma and early onset asthma. The focus on these two diseases, one in the oncology area and one not, will channel and concentrate the collaboration and provide specific applications to test and validate the model being developed.
“We have made a good start in PM to-date in bringing “right-drug-right-patient” into play, but we have done a poor job at delivering the much promised “right-cost-right-clinical-impact” said Gil L’Italien, Senior Director of Health Economics at Biogen, an Adjunct Professor at the Yale School of Medicine, and a PM Connective founder advisor.
Much attention in the press recently has been on high profile and costly new drugs; however, several factors are often misunderstood. Diagnostics is the real driving force in many of these new therapies, yet their contribution to reshaping the clinical pathway and enabling early treatment is poorly incentivized resulting in delayed implementation. At the same time, today’s more expensive but targeted drugs are not delivering the promised cost reductions due to their implementation later in the treatment pathway.
“Higher per dose costs do not necessarily lead to higher overall healthcare costs, but only if their implementation is timely and swift. Personalized medicine is all about delivering the right treatment to the right patient at the right time. In the long run, better coordination will serve to contain costs while vastly improving patient outcomes” said L’Italien.
Another important goal of the PM Connective is bringing together the ongoing learning from Europe and the United States. According to Emmanuelle Benzimra, General Delegate to the European Personalised Medicine Association (EPEMED) and a Director of the PM Connective, “the PM Connective holds the promise of not only integrating multiple industry stakeholders, but also bridging diverse geographic boundaries with global best practices. EPEMED is actively engaged with the PM Connective to ensure European experts, and most importantly European patients, have access to this promising new model for implementing personalized medicine.”
Jeff Waldron adds “an update to our progress and implementation plans for the PM Connective will be presented at this year’s Convergence Workshop, which is being held September 15-16, 2015 in Philadelphia.” Another of the PM Connective’s founding partners, Diaceutics, is sponsoring the event.