Archive for August, 2013



Discovering the Perfect Partner

August 23rd, 2013
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This is Part 3 in a series of blog posts on best partnering practices for life sciences and health tech companies. Read the previous posts in the series for Part One, and Part Two.
 
A lesser-known fact about Isaac Newton’s famous quote, “If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants,” is that he wrote it to rival scientist Robert Hooke, praising Hooke’s work. As we now take the next steps toward forming strategic partnerships, the application of the quote for us is that help may be found in unexpected places.
 
When we work with clients on partnering strategy, we combine the step of looking for categories (e.g. markets, segments, regions) with the steps of identifying specific companies that may represent attractive potential partners. We often will present the result of this exercise as a matrix, with the categories as columns and the companies as rows. It can look something like this (but may have much more refined categories than this example):  Read the rest of this entry »

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Cigna’s Decision on Genetic Testing Exposes Educational Gaps in Today’s Healthcare

August 20th, 2013
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“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” Confucius’ ancient saying underscores a current issue in healthcare; how well do the major players in healthcare—patients, providers and payors—really understand the latest advances in genetics and disease? A recent Bloomberg News article about Cigna’s decision to require genetic counseling before approving a breast cancer genetic test has exposed this educational gap. In this post, we consider the implications of this decision.
 
Cigna’s requirement for patient counseling in advance of a specific genetic test being covered demonstrates that the balance of power in the healthcare trilogy is by no means set. While in this case, the payor has directed what it considers to be the appropriate use of genetic testing, Cigna’s action raises these important questions:
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Technology Access Could Lower Barriers to Clinical Trial Acceptance

August 13th, 2013
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“Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.” Nobel Laureate Albert Szent-Gyorgyi no doubt would be impressed with the modern pace of medical research, but possibly concerned that we need to think about clinical trials in ways nobody else has.
 
Only 3% of people with cancer enroll in a Phase I trial, but 72% of all Americans say they would gladly volunteer on the advice of their doctor. Social media and internet tools have tremendous potential for increasing volunteer enrollment in clinical trials, but many barriers still exist. The factors keeping potential trial volunteers away have been consistent over the years: unease with trial settings, randomization and placebos; lack of understanding or discomfort with the research process; fear of drug side effects and trial protocol rules/requirements; as well as lack of awareness, a perception that trials aren’t appropriate for serious disease, and hesitation among physicians to make recommendations. Read the rest of this entry »

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Heading to Belgium to Save More Than a Few (Healthcare) Bucks

August 6th, 2013
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What does that tell us about consumerism in healthcare?
Reading Sunday’s New York Times article, “For Medical Tourists, A Simple Math,” I was struck both by the reporting of drastic price differences between surgical procedures here and in Europe (Belgium, in this case) and the subsequent interest the article generated. Upon reviewing comments from readers, I noticed that most indicated that they were more than willing to travel overseas to find high quality – but cheaper – health services. And, in general, there was much broader interest in health service costs than in the past. I got the distinct impression that customers are “tuned in.”
 
We’ve discussed the evolving role of patients as consumers, and clearly prices may start to become transparent (or at least comparable) enough for true consumer market power to chip away at healthcare costs. The article profiles an American who compared hip replacement surgery options in Belgium and the United States: Belgium won the contest with a cost of $13,660, versus $78,000 on this side of the Atlantic. At that differential, and with rising co-pays and self-insurance, many among us would be willing to catch a flight across the ocean. Read the rest of this entry »

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