Personalized medicines may improve identification of optimal treatment but access to these treatments may be difficult, says GlobalData

‘Personalized medicine’ and ‘precision medicine’ are both defined as using a patient’s genomic and phenotypic data to find targeted therapies. These therapies use a proactive approach, increase patient stratification and targeting, and aim to improve outcomes for healthcare players, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s latest thematic report, The State of Personalized/Precision Medicine, suggests that the key benefit of personalized and precision medicines is improved selection of an optimal treatment path, benefitting both patients and payers, as potentially ineffective medicines will be less likely to see use in specific patient pools.

Michael Breen, PhD, Associate Director at GlobalData, comments: “When a disease has different patient segments, it’s possible that not all will respond to a particular medicine the same way, if at all. By identifying patient subgroups through biomarker analysis, personalized medicine will help identify which groups may benefit from a given treatment. This helps the patient get the most appropriate treatment more quickly, saving money for the payer since they are less likely to reimburse ineffective therapeutics.”

The majority of attention for personalized medicine has been in oncology, but there is an unmet need for expansion to other indications.

Fern Barkalow, PhD, Senior Director at GlobalData reports: “While Oncology has led the way in terms of precision medicine development, these therapies are positioned to fulfil unmet needs in other therapeutic areas.

“Approximately 90% of the top-marketed precision medicine therapies in 2018 were approved for oncology indications, and these can serve as a roadmap for development of precision medicine drugs in other therapeutic areas.  The report highlights a variety of case studies in oncology that should be useful to many stakeholders pursuing this approach.”

Development costs associated with personalized therapies are expected to be higher than average, partially due to the highly specific nature of these agents, coupled with the need for a companion diagnostic. Accordingly, experts report that the greatest challenge with development and launch of these therapies relate to market access hurdles.

Breen concludes: “Due to trials being inherently more complex and expensive to conduct for personalized medicines, these costs ultimately are passed down to the end user, resulting in these drugs being priced at a premium, and likely being more intensely scrutinized at the level of reimbursement.”

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