Diagnostics: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

On October 26-27, I co-chaired an International Conference on “Companion Diagnostics & Biomarkers” in Porto, Portugal. The presenters included global experts in diagnostics including market leaders such as Unilabs, Agilent, Qiagen, ThermoFisher and Guardant Health. The Conference was initiated by the other Co-chair, Harry Glorikian, the author of Moneyball Medicine who delivered an engaging presentation predicting the future of medicine and digital health. Throughout the two days, impressive and informative presentations described the current status and the predicted future of diagnostics and digital health technology including the anticipated tsunami of future changes. I initiated the second day of the conference with an overview of the past, present and future of diagnostics, encompassing the best (and worst) examples of companion diagnostics (“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”). Click here to request the presentation. Presentation by Ali Ardakani, Managing Director of Novateur Ventures: “Can Companion Diagnostics Be a Guide to Cure? The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” – BioTech Pharma Summit 2017: Companion Diagnostics & Biomarkers October 26-27, 2017 — Porto, Portugal Ali Ardakani, Managing Director of Novateur, chairing the final plenary session of the BioTech Pharma Summit 2017: Companion Diagnostics & Biomarkers October 26-27, 2017 — Porto, Portugal Here are some summarized highlights from the conference: Diagnostics will be playing an ever-encompassing role in therapeutics development and commercialization. Both EMEA and FDA are encouraging more “targeted therapeutics” with companion diagnostics. Digital Health and digital diagnostics will represent a tremendous new growth sector and will become an integral part of our health care system. Embracing this market dynamics sooner will lead to better health outcomes and reduced costs. Diagnostics...

Companion Diagnostics: A Guide to Cure?

There is an obsession by biotechs, pharma, investors and payers to pre-select responders to a therapy before they are treated. How did we end up here and how is this going to impact medicine in the long term? In certain diseases where the biology landscape is understood better, like oncology, there has been tremendous impact. However, in most other target areas we still cannot isolate the responders and use “all comers” to try treatments and hope the safety and efficacy of a drug can be shown to be statistically significant. What happens to target areas where specific responders cannot be identified? What happens to companies that have an effective treatment but cannot get funding because they cannot find their “targeted population”? By “targeted” we mean a sub-population that expresses a specific genetic mutation or biomarker. At Novateur we are often approached by creative scientists that have discovered a biomarker diagnostic or in some cases can analyze hundreds of your markers to show that you may potentially have various disorders. Would the doctors be interested to tell you that you may have early Alzheimer’s when there is no treatment available for it? And would the payers pay for it? In our experience, diagnostics will have a challenging time getting funded and partnered, unless they can be paired with an effective therapeutic. The ultimate goal is to be able to utilize the diagnostic to change the clinical outcome in a meaningful way. In a similar fashion, biotech companies developing treatments need to think how to incorporate potential diagnostics to pre-select responders. After decades of experience at large pharma, our advisors believe...