Updated on 1 April 2013
To realize this stratified medicine, we need to link academic R&D in biomarkers with pharmaceutical pipelines. Enhanced collaboration across sectors will be key to accelerating the development of stratified medicine. A shift in business models within big pharmaceutical company will lead to a higher efficacy rate within certain patient groups. Also, development of stratified medicines may provide benefits for payers, providers and patients.
What are the challenges in implementing stratified medicine in Asia?
In terms of applications of genomic information to predict risk of disease development or to provide preventive services to normal physiologic variation, numerous large prospective studies in various populations need to be conducted to predict the outcomes based on genetics as well as environmental factors. Asia has started off constructing cohorts a littler later than Western countries, and is expected to give fruitful results within 10 years considering the nature of prospective studies.
Do you think Asia Pacific is lagging behind in innovation and R&D of new drugs?
It is true that Europe and North America has occupied about 72 percent of pharmaceutical industry conventionally. Many Asian countries including Korea has faced the moment of change. From late 2000's, Korean pharmaceutical market has made an eye-opening progress, and recently developed products have shown success in domestic market to advance for the foreign market also. Government recognized the importance of pharmaceutical industry and made a program for building the competivity of pharmaceutical industry.
Also, the pharmaceutical companies themselves invest for R&D and are becoming research-oriented business. Due to regulation of health-related costs in Europe and North America, growth of industries dealing with new drugs will be lessened. On the contrary, even though the size of the market is relatively small, market of Asian Pacific shows fast growth rate as more than 10 percent, and this innovation will be continued mainly due to the market growth of China and India, development of bioengineering technology and advancement of computer.
How do you think this can be addressed? What role can companies, academic institutions and governments play in encouraging research and innovation?
Asia encompasses a spectrum of developed to developing countries that have advantageous features in terms of epidemiologic research. Region-specific exposures that cannot be examined in North America or Europe such as arsenic exposure or various food ingredients can be examined. Changes in lifestyle and environmental patterns can be assessed in the countries that are rapidly adopting ‘Western' lifestyles.
Moreover by comparing the effects of a risk factor in different populations, the confounding effects will be more clearly evaluated. Hence it is cardinal that researchers from different institutions and countries share their experience and expertise from the planning steps of research and collaborate to create better results. For instance, Asia Cohort Consortium, a collaborative project of cohorts of approximately 50 active members, with more than 1 million healthy individuals across Asia, has published important results regarding the epidemiology of Asians. They researched on the relation between total mortality and cause-specific mortality.