Personalized medicine is an exciting new trend that promises to change the way we identify and treat diseases. Improved effectiveness, efficiency and access to diagnostic testing is driving sensitive and specific identification of disease, which in turn provides a deeper understanding of phenotype and genotype differences. This increase in precision is allowing healthcare stakeholders to stratify populations more finely and inform patients more accurately about their personal disease diagnosis and prognosis.
Life sciences companies are leading the personalized medicine trend, though payers are equally excited about these innovations as they promise to eliminate waste from the treatment process. Payers generally advocate accurate and reliable testing with positive predictive value because it mitigates the risk of sunk costs on failed therapies due to lack of a proper match between product and patient. These diagnostic tools and their support of personalized care will inevitably lead to better outcomes, streamlined diagnoses, and lower costs for patients and payers.
And we are already beginning to see the positive impact of these innovations. Most notably, the field of oncology has enjoyed remarkable achievements in personalized medicine in catalyzing innovative therapies paired with companion diagnostics to target subpopulations in breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, and a wide array of other tumor types.
Navigating the regulatory pathways
This is all good news for life sciences companies that already play a leading role in driving precision medicine. Biomarkers and companion diagnostics, now pervasive in oncology drug development, are finding new applications in chronic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. This is only the beginning of an era in which innovative diagnostic tools allow us to customize care across wide range of disease types.
The primary challenge now is synchronizing the development pathways of the drug and diagnostic given the lack of convergent regulatory pathway. The primary goal now is synchronizing the development of the drug and diagnostic and next to adapt market strategies to reach a broad audience with tailored messaging and brand the “specialty package”.
Borrowing a concept from the consumer goods industry, the life science sector should adopt a “mass customization” strategy for commercializing personalized medicine. Companies will need to adapt and scale their sales and marketing functions to reach a broad, heterogeneous market with tailored messaging. It is imperative for Life Science firms to partner in this capacity to better understand stakeholder preferences for information channels and content. In this way, a personalized product is matched with a personalized brand, and reaches those patients that can benefit most in terms of survivorship.
(This is the second in 10-part blog series on industry trends that are shaping the future of healthcare. To see a report on all ten trends click here