Debiopharm’s move into Personalised Medicine

The worldwide healthcare environment is changing. We observe on the one hand an increasing demand for reasons such as demographics, the frequency of chronic conditions, technological advances and improved access to healthcare in emerging economies, and, on the other hand, financial constraints. At the peak of the 2010 financial crisis, several governments have taken severe cost-cutting measures, many of which are aiming at reducing the healthcare bill. In this economic environment, the efficient use of scarce financial resources is becoming more important than ever before. The pharmaceutical industry will need to accept the consequences of this changing environment in the healthcare systems. Companion diagnostics

Anticipating that evolution, Debiopharm Group decided four years ago to bring a new dimension to its traditional drug development activities by creating a companion diagnostics arm in order to progress in the field of Personalised Medicine. This new arm has been very much in line with the overall strategy of Debiopharm, since it has brought a new, fine-tuned dimension to drug development.

Personalised Medicine is about giving the right product to the right patients at the right time. Personalised Medicine is thus different from taylor-made or personal medicine. It is not about creating a medicine for an individual, but about ensuring that the medicines be administered only to groups of patients likely to respond positively. At a time where it is claimed that medicines do not produce their expected effects in ca 40% of cases and can, even in these 40% of cases, cause adverse reactions,  personalised medicine may improve the rate of efficacy and the side-effects profile of medicines. Personalised Medicine is complex to the extent that it combines many specialised areas, such as genomics, imagery, computer systems, besides several diagnostic tools, but it can still favorably affect the healthcare bill.



Meeting patients expectation

Debiopharm has first taken initiatives in the field of biomarkers for the products it has developed or that are under development. Biomarkers are bound to play an increased role in drug development, by for instance enabling a better selection of clinical trial populations. In addition, Debiopharm has recently invested into the molecular diagnostics company Biocartis, an early stage start-up company based at the EPFL « parc scientifique », thus confirming its genuine commitment to the « Arc lémanique ». Biocartis had acquired earlier the Royal Philips Electronics’ technology platform for rapid fully-automated DNA/RNA molecular diagnostic testing, a platform designed for applications in a wide range of patient sample testing in e.g. the oncology and infectious diseases areas. Debiopharm is convinced that Biocartis key strategies are perfectly in line with Debiopharm’s own efforts at the frontline of innovation in life-sciences at large.

In conclusion, Debiopharm is enthusiastic about its strategic move in the Personalised Medicine area and about its recent initiatives in that area. This move will end up meeting the expectations of patients and other stakeholders who all call for improved efficacy profiles and fewer side-effects.

By Thierry

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