Is the phar­ma busi­ness mod­el ready for pre­ci­sion med­i­cine?

Blue Lat­i­tude Health Co-founder and Head of Strat­e­gy Fred Bas­sett ex­plores the cur­rent health­care en­vi­ron­ment and asks if the phar­ma busi­ness mod­el can sus­tain the in­no­va­tion pre­sent­ed by pre­ci­sion med­i­cine. Spon­sored Post


We are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the dawn of pre­ci­sion med­i­cine. With sales pro­ject­ed to rise to $141bn per an­num be­tween now and 2026, there can be no doubt that med­i­cine is poised for the rapid ac­cel­er­a­tion of the pre­ci­sion era, which is why we have ded­i­cat­ed this post to this weighty top­ic.

The promise of the pre­ci­sion med­i­cine ap­proach is well un­der­stood and of­ten talked about. It ex­ists at the con­ver­gence of ge­nom­ic se­quenc­ing, bio­mark­er re­search, bioin­for­mat­ics and big da­ta analy­sis. In short, it promis­es im­proved out­comes for the pa­tients iden­ti­fied as suit­able for treat­ment.

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In the era of pre­ci­sion med­i­cine, greater re­sponse rates will re­duce the hu­man and eco­nom­ic cost of in­ef­fec­tive treat­ment. Cou­ple this with a re­duc­tion in re­search and de­vel­op­ment ex­pen­di­ture, through small­er clin­i­cal tri­al costs and re­duced time-to-mar­ket, which is es­ti­mat­ed to save $26bn an­nu­al­ly and the pos­i­tive im­pact for all stake­hold­ers be­comes clear.

There can be no doubt that the lev­els of in­vest­ment in pre­ci­sion med­i­cine will fu­el and ac­cel­er­ate its growth. From tar­get­ed ther­a­peu­tics to di­ag­nos­tic tools, from next-gen­er­a­tion se­quenc­ing to da­ta in­for­mat­ics, there has been an in­flux of cap­i­tal and re­sul­tant in­no­va­tion.

The ev­i­dence is com­pelling. Pre­ci­sion med­i­cine is gath­er­ing mo­men­tum. The ques­tion is: are we ready for it?

This is not an idle ques­tion. Across a broad spec­trum of health­care stake­hold­ers, sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges re­main, which need to be ad­dressed for the full promise of pre­ci­sion med­i­cine to be re­al­ized.

Clin­i­cal tri­als 2.0

As pa­tient pop­u­la­tions are strat­i­fied through in­creas­ing­ly so­phis­ti­cat­ed bio­mark­er strate­gies, the chal­lenges of iden­ti­fy­ing tri­al par­tic­i­pants in­creas­es, as does the lev­el of com­pe­ti­tion be­tween tri­als for in­creas­ing­ly scarce pa­tients. Tri­al de­sign is evolv­ing to in­clude so-called ‘bas­ket’ de­signs, where the can­di­date drugs are matched to the so­mat­ic mu­ta­tions found.

This dif­fers from tra­di­tion­al tu­mor type or ‘adap­tive’ tri­als where the pre­dic­tive bio­mark­er is not clear­ly iden­ti­fied at tri­al com­mence­ment. How­ev­er, de­spite these de­vel­op­ments, clin­i­cal tri­al re­cruit­ment re­mains dif­fi­cult.

Top of this list is pa­tient re­cruit­ment, with a mea­gre 3% of po­ten­tial pa­tients vol­un­teer­ing to par­tic­i­pate in on­col­o­gy clin­i­cal tri­als. This chal­lenge is be­ing ad­dressed through many ap­proach­es, one of which is dis­cussed by Clin­i­cal Trail Con­nect in our pre­ci­sion med­i­cine white pa­per, which can be down­loaded be­low.

As­sum­ing the clin­i­cal tri­al is pos­i­tive, the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­ny will ex­pe­ri­ence a more com­plex launch that will like­ly in­clude one or more part­ners, as well as an in­crease in the num­ber of stake­hold­ers to en­gage.

Pre­ci­sion en­gage­ment

There is an of­ten-quot­ed view that the pre­ci­sion of cus­tomer en­gage­ment should be en­hanced to com­pli­ment this new ap­proach to treat­ing pa­tients. As an or­ga­ni­za­tion, Blue Lat­i­tude Health has built its busi­ness on this ap­proach, spend­ing the last 15 years de­vel­op­ing tai­lored and per­son­al­ized strate­gies for the com­mer­cial­iza­tion of prod­ucts and ser­vices. Yet al­though pre­cise ther­a­pies are emerg­ing, there will need to be more ini­tia­tives across the sec­tor and ma­jor chal­lenges re­main.

Med­ical or­ga­ni­za­tions in phar­ma have been set up to sup­port pop­u­la­tion med­i­cine. How­ev­er, the ed­u­ca­tion they will un­der­take and the queries they will an­swer will be­come in­creas­ing­ly pa­tient-spe­cif­ic. This will re­quire med­ical or­ga­ni­za­tions to adopt so­phis­ti­cat­ed one-to-one stake­hold­er en­gage­ment prac­tices. They will al­so need ac­cess to larg­er and more com­plex da­ta sets and to de­vel­op the an­a­lyt­i­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ty to an­a­lyze them.

Pre­ci­sion med­i­cine is of­ten pre­sent­ed as a panacea for pa­tients and the head­line ben­e­fit of bet­ter and more cer­tain out­comes will doubt­less help many. Dig be­neath the sur­face, how­ev­er, and chal­lenges im­me­di­ate­ly present them­selves.

The in­vest­ment may be flow­ing and the sci­ence gath­er­ing pace, but there is still some way to go be­fore we are prop­er­ly ready for pre­ci­sion med­i­cine.

Fred Bas­sett, Blue Lat­i­tude Health

Want to learn more? Down­load the white pa­per:

  • Find out how the phar­ma busi­ness mod­el will change with the rise of pre­ci­sion med­i­cine p.6
  • Soak up our Q&A on the new way to re­cruit for clin­i­cal tri­als p.12
  • Ex­plore ex­pert opin­ions on how pre­ci­sion med­i­cine will trans­form the way we in­ter­act with pa­tients P.16
  • Learn about ge­net­ic coun­sel­lors, the in­flu­encers you need to know p.20
  • Check out our in­fo­graph­ic on turn­ing pre­ci­sion med­i­cine in­to a re­al­i­ty p.26

Down­load the white pa­per


Fred Bas­sett is Co-founder and Head of Strat­e­gy at Blue Lat­i­tude Health. Blue Lat­i­tude Health is a glob­al cre­ative mar­ket­ing con­sul­tan­cy, made for mod­ern health­care. We com­bine the com­mer­cial fo­cus of a con­sul­tan­cy with the cre­ativ­i­ty of an agency to de­liv­er sharp­er mar­ket­ing.