Posts Tagged ‘Popper and company’
I’m pleased to announce that Stephanie Kreml, M.D. has returned to Popper and Company, joining our core team of life science advisors as Principal.
Like all of our team members, Stephanie is committed to delivering perspective, value, and high-quality, hands-on service to clients across the life sciences spectrum. As a practicing physician with an engineering background, Stephanie brings a unique multi-disciplinary perspective to helping life sciences companies address diverse healthcare issues. She is an excellent addition to our existing team of experts whose operational backgrounds span clinical, technology, marketing and finance in a variety of capacities in the diagnostics, medical device, pharmaceuticals and digital health industries.
You can read Stephanie’s full bio here. Please join me in welcoming her, and please do not hesitate to reach us if you have questions that Stephanie can help address, including those focused on business strategy, commercialization, diligence, and product development. We’re excited to have Stephanie back on board, and to put our entire team of experienced industry experts to work addressing your life science company’s complex challenges.
Tags: clinical research, medical technologies, Popper & Company, Popper and Co, Popper and company, Stephanie Kreml
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I’m delighted to announce that Paul Sonnier, formerly a strategic advisor to Popper and Company, has joined our core team as Head of Digital Health Strategy.
Our core team provides diversity and expertise to resolve problems and create strategies in the health arena for our life science clients. Paul, who has recently been described as a catalyst in the wireless and mobile health field, brings his familiarity, insights and experience to our existing team of experts whose operational backgrounds span clinical, technology, marketing and finance in a variety of capacities in the diagnostics, medical device and pharmaceutical industries.
You can read Paul’s full bio here. Please join me in welcoming him, and I hope you’ll reach out to one of us directly or comment below if you have questions or issues pertaining to digital health that Paul can help to address. We’re excited to offer you solutions at the cross-section of life sciences and digital technology.
Tags: digital health expert, Head of Digital Health Strategy, life sciences consulting, Paul Sonnier, Popper and Co, Popper and Co team, Popper and company
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It’s increasingly clear to anyone who deals with human health – from the bench biologist to the clinical oncologist – that humans are a heterogeneous species. As a result, a drug that works well in one individual may not work at all in another. Thus, the field of targeted (or personalized) medicine came about so doctors could optimize patient care through the use of genetic and biomarker testing. Such tests help identify patients who are (or who are not) most likely to respond to a given therapy. The field is often promoted as a way to get the “right drug to the right patient at the right dose.”
Correct dosing is critical because about 25 percent of all outpatient prescription drugs in the U.S. are taken by patients with genetic variations (specifically, polymorphisms) that affect absorption, metabolism or excretion of those drugs. Again, at risk of stating the obvious, human beings are heterogeneous.
Today, genetic tests are widely used to identify so-called “fast” and “slow” metabolizers of specific drugs and to adjust the dosage according to how long the drug may persist in an individual’s body. Other tests are used to determine whether patients carry drug targets that are sensitive to drugs (like Herceptin), or whether they harbor mutations that will render drugs inactive, either through resistance (from conditions like HIV) or via the presence of alternate pathways that can circumvent—or short circuit—the effects of a drug.
These current tests can therefore reveal whether mutations have either a pharmacokinetic (i.e., drug metabolism) effect or a pharmacodynamic (i.e., drug target) effect. Genetic and biomarker tests are also proving to be important in the management of many diseases, particularly those for which there are multiple therapeutic options and in those cases where the underlying pathology is caused by one of several possible mutations or other risk factors (e.g., breast cancer and diabetes).
While the U.S. Food & Drug Administration website lists approximately 115 biomarker tests associated with just over 100 approved drugs, researchers are moving quickly to add additional tools to the personalized medicine toolbox. One exciting new advance is the use of induced pluripotent stems cells (iPSC) to test drug response directly in cells isolated from individual patients. The idea is that skin cells, or blood cells, can be isolated from individual patients and used to generate iPSC, which are then induced to differentiate into multiple cell types such as neurons, cardiomyocytes, and hepatocytes. Such cells harbor the genetic legacy of the patient from whom they were derived, and therefore a response (or non-response) of those cells to various drugs can be used to predict how a patient will respond.
The biotech firm, Cellular Dynamics International, which was co-founded by stem cell pioneer James Thomson, is now trying to undertake this approach. The firm is currently focused on the creation of iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. However, it soon plans to add other cell types, including those from liver, brain and blood to the list.
So how “futuristic” is all of this? The good news is that many of the tools needed to realize the vision of personalized medicine are rapidly coming together. The combination of genomics, proteomics, stem cell biology, and other technologies are providing the information that is needed to drive the process. The challenge lies with the drugs themselves—the industry needs to apply the same tools more efficiently to guide the drug discovery process. Research, testing, approval, and application should work in tangent because the faster the next generation of drugs come into play and are FDA approved, the faster these new protocols of personalized medicine can be applied to save lives.
We also need to organize and apply the knowledge we’ve gained in genetic studies over the past ten years and apply this knowledge to evolving research. Effectively communicating the on-going research and applications of personalized medicine to the medical community will mean we’ll see designer drugs that are targeted to ever more specialized groups of patients. That day is on the near horizon, something that is of benefit to all of us, doctor and patient—the emergence of truly personalized medicine.
Are you involved in the discovery and/or development of companion diagnostics and/or drugs designed specifically for particular patient subsets? What do you see as the critical next steps to continue moving towards matching drugs with patients who will benefit most? Please share your thoughts with us here.
Tags: biomarker testing, companion diagnostics, drugs, genetic testing, personalized medicine, Popper and company, targeted medicine
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Following McKesson’s bold move with the acquisition of US Oncology last December, another distribution giant has entered the arena of helping oncologists manage patient care. AmerisourceBergen Corporation recently announced its purchase of IntrinsiQ, LLC—a provider of informatics products directly involved in assisting oncologists with clinical dosing decisions.
We’re uncertain as to whether AmerisourceBergen’s expansion in this arena shows an aggressive push for new market traction, a creative way to garner physicians’ mindshare or whether they’re simply betting on the growing informatics market. It does, however, seem likely that a distributor would want to add value to its “middleman” role. And this signals one thing that is for sure: Distributors are getting closer to physicians on a core level—right down to how they prescribe vital medications.
Why is this happening? AmerisourceBergen stated its reasoning in a recent announcement on Drugs.com: “Oncologists need strategic partners that can capture actionable intelligence…” In short, physicians face an increasingly complex world of decisions every day, and information technology may be the only available edge when treatment options are many and time is critical.
We do wonder though…How does the oncologist find the right balance between her personal expertise, experience and judgment and the recommendation provided by the software? And with decision-making becoming so complex on the physician level, are these new technologies making a large enough impact? To what extent will IT/informatics become routine in assisting with treatment decisions?
Clearly these are important questions and this is a trend we are watching closely so that we can share with you its implications for the healthcare industry as well as on the practice of medicine. We would love to know your thoughts, as well. Please share them here.
Tags: clinical dosing, information technology, oncologists, oncology, patient informatics, physicians, Popper and company
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CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta went on air yesterday to explain why he, as a physician, is attending the World Economic Forum 2011 Annual Meeting taking place right now in Davos, Switzerland.
To paraphrase Dr. Gupta, health – and its impact on world economic development – is a big topic at the Davos meeting. He noted, “In terms of health care delivery, there is growing recognition by the forum that existing models simply aren’t sustainable in developed countries, and there simply isn’t enough access in the developing world. Some of that is old news, but the topics at Davos were chosen to address solutions in these areas. For example, I will be moderating panel discussions on topics ranging from personalized medicine to combating chronic disease.”
Because of the overarching health-related themes being discussed at Davos, the life science industry – particularly companies seeking to develop diagnostics and devices to address human illness – should focus on what’s taking place at Davos, as well. Following are a few of the critical themes being discussed that draw my attention:
The cost of health care is a global challenge…for both developed countries and the developing world. Simply put by Dr. Gupta, healthcare costs place a “staggering strain on world economies.”
Personalized medicine: Today, Dr. Gupta explains, we take a shotgun approach to many medical problems. I see a resurgence in the role that diagnostics will play in segmenting the market and in leading to the use of more targeted therapies.
Focus on delivering cost effective care: At least since the days when I was earning my Master’s degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins, I’ve been driven by a passion to identify ways to deliver the highest quality of health care but with the greatest cost efficiencies. My hope is that discussions at Davos will place this topic under the lens of a global microscope.
The rising burden of chronic disease on world health: Diabetes and cardiovascular disease place an enormous burden on developed and developing countries. Even the Prime Minister of Pakistan talked, at Davos, about the burden of chronic disease in his country. Start-up device, service, and biotechs are taking advantage of the opportunity to develop novel diagnostics and disease management tools to address this worldwide problem.
Emphasis on prevention: At Davos, world business leaders will also not only consider disease predisposition factors but also lifestyle, nutrition, and other environmental factors. Stakeholders across many industries – such as food producers, news media, educators, and employers of all types – are part of this conversation.
In short, many of the themes that we at Popper and Company and many others of you in the life sciences industry have long focused on are absolutely a part of the mainstream discussions taking place on the world stage at Davos. We are fortunate that global leaders are coming together to informally share insights, tools, and technologies across industries and across country boundaries. I hope that like me, you are listening.
What are your hopes for how the Davos meeting may help address global health care challenges? Are there additional global health themes you’d add to my list? We’d love to hear from you here.
Tags: chronic disease, cost of health care, davos, dr. gupta, global health, personalized medicine, Popper and company, prevention, sanjay gupta, world economic forum
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I once read a blog about imprecise metaphors in which the author wrote that it’s easy to find a needle in a haystack, but immensely difficult to find a particular piece of hay in that haystack. Needle: Obvious. One piece of hay versus another: Not so obvious.
In these mercurial times in the life sciences and technology industries, attempting to identify information that is significant and useful can be as overwhelming as trying to find that one piece of hay.
Every day we encounter immense amounts of data and then we must pause for a moment to select what is essential and applicable to the topic at hand.
At Popper and Company, we keep a sharp eye toward emerging technologies whether it be in the development of point-of-care tests, regulatory and reimbursement issues, personalized medicine, the global expansion of mobile medicine or other areas of interest.
However, along with reviewing current literature and research material to stay informed and to support our clients, we often go directly to independent opinion leaders – who are experts in a specific area or niche – and engage with them in in-depth conversations and through surveys on a particular topic of interest. Through these communications, we often can identify opportunities and strategic direction for our clients and almost always can help to discern the individual piece of hay from the stack.
Adding value through personal interactions is an important piece in our work, and a key distinguishing factor to how we make a difference for our clients. Over the years, Popper and Company has established relationships with a broad array of thoughtful opinion leaders who range from top scientific experts, to CEOs of both large and small life science companies, to academicians, to practicing clinicians.
What have you learned from a recent conversation with an expert? Is there a thought leader in your organization we should connect with? Please let us hear from you and help keep the dialogue flowing.
Tags: information overload, life sciences, needle in the hay, patti doherty, Popper and company
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