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Three ways to reduce the cost of precision medicine

Posted on March 12th, 2019 by in Pharma R&D

In December 2018, the FDA announced it has formally recognized a public database containing genomic information, a huge milestone in the evolving field of precision medicine. Now researchers can use this information to validate their tests instead of having to generate their own data. In 2017 30% of new drugs approved by the FDA were classed as ā€˜precision medicinesā€™, a figure weā€™ll no doubt see increase when we reflect on 2018.

However, while precision medicine has had many positive impacts so far, the cost of scaling precision therapies to a larger patient population is still putting many medicines out of reach of both payers and patients. Here we take a look at three areas to address to bring down the costs of precision medicine and extend the benefits to even more patients:  

  • Disparate data sources: Scattered data inevitably mean researchers end up spending the majority of their time formatting and linking it together. Electronic Health Records (EHRs), for example, currently donā€™t have all of the information included, such as the results of any direct-to-consumer genetic testing a patient might have done, which would allow physicians to prescribe precision medicines more effectively. As technology continues to mature and data repositories for life sciences continue to advance, patient information must also be better integrated to allow researchers to access medical data faster.
  • Making use of the data: Even after the data has been collated and integrated, such vast quantities of information can still be unmanageable, and so very challenging for researchers to process. In order to overcome this, researchers need intelligent systems with deep information analytics and AI capable of harmonizing data for analysis, helping them to make better decisions and understand all possible outcomes.
  • High R&D costs: Developing precision medicines require companion diagnostics and genetic testing, which can increase the cost during R&D. Companion diagnostics assess whether a patient is a good candidate for the treatment. Development of companion diagnostics must be paired with the drug development process, which requires considerable collaboration with the FDA and other regulatory agencies.

While there are hurdles such as these outlined that need to be overcome for precision medicine to really shine, it is certainly helping pharmaceutical researchers and developers make leaps and bounds for previously untreatable diseases, and is likely to make huge progress in 2019. Find out how Elsevierā€™s suite of world class solutions can help your business continue to innovate.


Sr. Manager, Pharma and Biotech Segment

Nicki Catchpole 
Sr. Manager, Pharma and Biotech Segment

As a professional with over 14 years of experience in strategy development and partnership management across a variety of industries, Nickiā€™s latest role as a Senior Manager, Segment Marketing at Elsevier applies her skills to the area of drug discovery and development in the Pharma and Biotech industry.

In this capacity she is focused on understanding biopharmaceutical R&D challenges and turning them into opportunity to further Elsevierā€™s ability to serve industry executives and the professionals who innovate in the drug discovery and development space.  Prior to joining Elsevier, Nicki held senior alliance and strategy roles in the Legal, Tax & Accounting, Life Sciences and Cyber Security industries.

Nicki resides in New York City and holds a BA in English Literature and Mandarin Chinese from Carleton College in Northfield, MN.

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