Bionest Partners, a life science industry strategic consulting firm, has found an increased potential for in vitro diagnostics in the drug development process.
Robert J. Easton and Alain J. Gilbert, Bionest co-chairmen, along with Olivier Lesueur, managing partner; Rachel Laing, senior consultant; and Mark Ratner authored the article When Illumina Buys Roche: The Dawning of the Era of Diagnostics Dominance, which details their findings.
According to the article, today’s diagnostics companies are no longer to be viewed as “tools” operations, but rather as having the deep resources and technology platforms to move beyond their former position as an adjunct to the drug development process. They can, in fact, “create and pursue a strategy of information gathering and informatics application to create medical knowledge, enabling them to create medical knowledge, assume risk and manage certain segments of patients.”
According to the article, this evolution from an information specialist to a true development partner is a natural progression for companies within this category and places them in the position to also earn a “higher valuation than less-aggressive players who only supply compartmentalized drug and device solutions.”
“Historically, diagnostics companies have been compartmentalized as commodity enterprises with limited value,” said Gilbert, “and given limited opportunity to play anything other than a subordinate role in developing medicines. These newly-fortified and resource-rich diagnostic companies now are in a position to leverage the data that they generate to create critical medical knowledge that will be of enormous value to their pharmaceutical partners and their patients.”
“The industry already is witnessing the impact and future use of this rich information in therapeutic areas such as oncology where intricate genomic tests often provide physicians with the ability to help classify a patient’s cancer,” said Easton. “The potential for diagnostics to impact the clinical setting already is being achieved, but the economic capability is what will help create a more robust value proposition within the industry.”
The article cites the need for diagnostic companies to move away from their historical position as a utility to a full-fledged development partner with a “broader view of the proteomic and genomic information they are amassing with a panoply of markers—instead of the atomistic one-drug, one-marker mentality that still pervades—they could envision building a better model for drug discovery, eventually adding on other information such as ion measurements and blood glucose, and getting to the point of being able to advise a patient. And it is the ability to perform that advisory function that will add tremendous value above what any single test provides.”