How Personalized Medicine is Affecting Early Stage R&D

5 Jun

By Max Klietmann, VP of Research, LSN

LSN has been covering the impact of personalized medicine as it becomes increasingly feasible for implementation in a variety of clinical areas. This convergence of big data, genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics is fundamentally reshaping the treatment paradigm. One particularly interesting effect of the proliferation of these technologies is the way it is impacting early stage research and development. The trend that the industry is leaning towards is the development of therapeutics designed for highly specific patient groups with a particular make-up of factors correlated to treatment efficacy. Essentially, drug developers are creating niche products in anticipation of an age of niche treatments and a totally different competitive landscape.

In the wake of healthcare reform, the question of treatment efficacy has become a critical factor in determining the future success of a product (considering the tightening of reimbursement guidelines). However, the ability to determine the factors related to positive outcomes on the genetic level allows for the development of more effective treatments for specific patient subgroups.

Many emerging biotechs have recognized this reality, and are thus beginning to focus more in effective treatments for small populations, leveraging the power of genomics technology, which is rapidly becoming more and more affordable. LSN closely tracks emerging biotech companies globally, and the trend is clear – it is becoming increasingly common to see emerging companies in the preclinical stage targeting so-called micro-indication areas, rather than blockbuster disease categories.

This strategy is also compelling for investors, who are able to now target major indication areas with a strategy similar to that of an orphan disease company. The result is more compelling trial data, a higher likelihood of approval, and diminished risk. Essentially, the trend is becoming one of smaller, more secure plays rather than the macro plays of past decades. It means a more stable industry, more predictable returns for investors, and better care for patients. However, it also means that fit is more critical than ever when finding the right partners in terms of investors and suppliers, as the industry as a whole becomes more granular and targeted.

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