PHARMA/TECHNOLOGY: Picking your statin to match your genotype

It’s for long been a somewhat dirty little secret of the pharma world that not all drugs work for not all patients. That goes for statins too, despite the best medical advice saying that we should all be on them. Forbes has an interesting little article showing some developments in the combination of genomic diagnosis with therapy to figure out which statin works best for which genome. Some farsighted pharma professionals (notably Kim Slocum at Astra Zeneca) have been preaching for years that the combination of genomics, information systems and better targeted pharmaceuticals will not only improve health, but also improve the financial health of big pharma.

Of course the corresponding fear of many within big pharma is that as a result of this trend there will be no such thing as a blockbuster, because genomic testing will show that most drugs should be restricted to a smaller segment of their target population. So instead of 3-4 leading statins, we’ll need 20-30 — each with their own need for clinical trials, $800m development costs and expensive outreach programs.

Whether Kim’s right or the nay-sayers are right, it looks like we’re going to a world where genomic testing, drug delivery and outcomes information will be better linked. And that will be a different world for pharma and doctors, and hopefully a better one for patients.

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