Reinventing Business Models to Get Us Around the Bend in Personalized Medicine

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In recent years the scientific community has taken great strides in reaching a new understanding of genomics and the molecular underpinnings of diseases.  As a result, we’ve reached a turning point in personalized medicine: for the first time, society is finally in a position to start bringing personalized medicine from the lab to the clinic on a large scale.

Johnson & Johnson is committed to helping “be the change” in bringing personalized medicine from the lab to the clinic, with the goal of helping guide delivery of our medicines to the right patients at the right doses at the right times.  Equipped with our new understanding of personalized medicine, we’re changing the way we approach all aspects of drug development programs.  Pharmacogenetic, genomic and imaging data are now guiding our actions related to nearly every therapeutic we develop, and we’ve modified our companion diagnostics programs to identify clinically relevant biomarkers and diagnostic tools earlier in drug development programs.

To bring personalized medicine forward, scientists, regulators, policymakers, physicians, the patient community, payors, and pharmaceutical and diagnostics companies must work in concert.  We must find ways to more successfully work together, adopt a new mindset, and pursue a more open, “networked” approach to innovation.  I’m thrilled to be leading a team focused on this effort at Johnson & Johnson.

But this effort—the striving for open, collaborative, multi-disciplinary innovation—by its very nature is bigger than just one company.  The challenge before us—before society, really—is to take the science, the efforts of industry and the complexity of our health delivery systems, and pave a clear path forward for fully realizing the promise of personalized medicine. Research and development of personalized medicines and companion diagnostics requires equal or sometimes larger investment than traditional drug development programs—even as target populations are, by definition, becoming narrower.  To ensure we’re able to fully tap into the promise and potential of personalized medicine, we must work together to reinvent current business models in ways that incentivize the further pursuit and use of personalized medicine.

Personalized medicine pushes us to look at disease from many different angles, to persevere through complexity, and to tailor healthcare solutions to the unique needs of individual patients or subsets of patients.  In doing so, we can improve health outcomes and enhance quality of life. Even with the challenges ahead of us, these are very exciting times.  Because along with the challenges – the horizon is full of possibilities.

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