The Future of Precision Medicine

The Future of Precision Medicine

(Take-aways from: Precision Medicine World Conference 2019, Molecular Med Tri-Con 2019, and MedExec Women)

The Precision Medicine industry is rocketing along with tremendous scientific advances and dynamic business models, representing the promise of better healthcare at lower cost.

Key Tech works heavily across this industry, and is passionate about the enormous impact our work can have on global healthcare. Precision medicine, as defined in Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative, is “an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person.” Precision Medicine has, in the past, been referred to as “personalized medicine,” but now incorporates even more technological advancements.

Attending three leading conferences this spring, there were some clear emerging trends in this emerging approach, precision medicine:

  • Saving healthcare cost by avoiding trial-and-error through Precision Medicine
  • The blistering pace of scientific advancement in genomics
  • Leveraging big data in a big way
  • Growth in consumer healthcare – in diagnostics and in therapy

and

  • Cancer immunotherapy

Saving healthcare cost: Precision medicine is reaching beyond cancer, to management of other diseases; it saves healthcare costs through avoiding ineffective patient therapy, and it is drastically reducing clinical trial costs as predictive medicine permits smaller sample sizes and more targeted results. Plus, “Digital biomarkers” are in use, combined with genomics – in trials and in therapy titration.

The blistering pace of scientific advancement in genomics: CDx is becoming standard: 214 drugs are now labeled for genetic biomarkers and there are tremendous data sets available thanks to companies like 23 and Me and Ancestry.com; sequencing, computational biology and blueprint medicines are leveraging large data sets instead of custom instruments to drive results. Mass customization of biologic therapy, cell and gene therapies, and end to end diagnostic and therapy delivery are all on the rise.

Synthetic Biology is playing a part as gene-editing therapy is already clinical outside the US. The FDA will watch and wait. The creation of calibration standards and validation tools for use in the US in drug and diagnostic development and the veterinary industry is currently happening.   Teselagen – a “SOLIDWORKS-like tool” for creating synthetic genomes, proteins, cells, or organs via a web portal is a game changer.

Leveraging Big Data in a big way: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in IO

Data silo-ing is a big issue: Big data companies are partnering with bios that have the most data under wraps while others are applying AI/ML to EMRs. The use of customer buying behavior as a digital biomarker is on the rise with firms like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon participating.

Companies are realizing they don’t need to try to out-Google Google and are partnering with firms that carry deep expertise. Cybersecurity is becoming more critical with patient safety and privacy issues driving the need. And there are hundreds of web portal businesses coming online.

Consumer Healthcare – in diagnostics and therapy: Patients are engaging directly in services, now more than ever before. These firms are great examples of direct to patient connections:

  • Syllable AI – chatbots for patients; also providing functional insights into healthcare data
  • Shivom – secure DNA data for pharma
  • Medable – digital clinical trial management for pharma
  • Seqster – patient online access to all medical records in one place; data sharing – multi-generational sharing
  • iSpecimen – pharma shops here like Amazon but for biomaterials ranging from DNA to body parts
  • Consumer direct access to lab results and to test ordering, to pharma products, to test kits, and to health portals have doctors feeling left out.

Cancer Immunotherapy: Cancer is tricky and immune systems are complex. However, there are companies out in the forefront making breakthroughs in immunotherapy that are truly astonishing. Adaptive BioTechnologies and Brammer Bio are two examples. Scientists figured that auto-immune diseases should respond to immunotherapy – and have seen early promising results. But we may be learning that all diseases respond to immunotherapy. This has a direct impact on the diagnostics status quo – the immunotherapy companies will win.  And so will patients.

What’s the future of Med-Tech and Precision Medicine? At Key Tech, our approach is having solid expertise in system development, in the fundamentals of quality engineering and design, and identifying risks but also knowing enough to understand when to bring in specialists, combining skill sets with the best possible development team crafted to meet very specific challenges. We are skilled at knowing and leveraging vetted specialty vendors in the field to call upon to solve some of the challenges in de novo applications that need explicit solutions.

Key Tech’s collective heart pounds faster when we dive deep into the cutting edge of medical transformation. This is the stuff we live for. It’s our ‘why’. We’re more than enthusiastic for Precision Medicine and where it will take healthcare over the coming decade. Connect with us to talk about your development challenges and technology integration needs.  We are eager to test and design tomorrows solutions. Reach out at talktous@keytech.com or 410-385-0200.

Jenny Regan

Jenny is a co-founder and CEO of Key Tech, spending her time guiding corporate strategy, managing client relationships, and overseeing company performance. Over the course of her 30+ year career, she has consulted to clients in the medical, industrial, and energy industries and her work has contributed to the advancement of precision diagnostic instruments, flow measurement, and control systems. Jenny holds degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Physics and is a registered professional engineer. Beyond Key Tech, Jenny is an avid supporter of STEM education and of women in engineering, is a technology career mentor, and a member of the Board of the Engineering School at the University of Maryland. She is also a wife, parent and yogi. Namaste.
Jenny Regan

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