This year’s R&D Conference will explore how major scientific advances in biomedicine are transforming both the development and delivery of new medicines and could fundamentally change the way the healthcare system is organised.
Stratified medicines, facilitated by pre-competitive collaborations, genomics and access to large data sets, present great opportunities to transform the availability of new medicines to patients with unmet needs. Clinicians are increasingly able to target treatments specifically to sub-populations of patients, by identifying those patients with the greatest chance of benefiting. Ultimately, the stratification of medicines brings the concept of ‘right patient, right medicine, right now’ to reality and will help to deliver better health outcomes for the patient as well as delivering better value to the NHS.
The strength of our academic and industrial research base and the potential of the NHS as an engine for research and innovation mean that the UK is uniquely placed to accelerate the application of stratified medicine. Their discovery, development and use requires a balanced ecosystem based around partnership with all stakeholders from scientists, clinicians, patients, the NHS, regulators, NICE and payers.
The promise of stratified medicine has been evolving over the past decade and there has been striking success in the treatment of some cancers and rare diseases. Since 1999, at least 23 stratified medicines with safety or patient selection benefits based on genomic biomarkers have been authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA)1 and in December 2012, the UK government announced a £100 million pilot to undertake whole genome sequencing of up to 100,000 patients with cancer or rare diseases, and to develop the associated data infrastructure and train the NHS workforce in genomic medicine.
However there is a lack of clarity on which stratified medicines are being researched, developed and adopted into the NHS, and the overall progress particularly for non-cancer applications in stratified medicine, has perhaps been slower than hoped. Our 2014 R&D Conference, on 20 November, comes at a time when it is important to speed up the development and delivery of stratified medicines. We will look at the coming five years and beyond with a view to accelerating progress by ensuring that the right policies, capabilities, partnerships, regulatory and reimbursement frameworks are in place to transform medical innovation.
A number of high profile speakers are already confirmed including, Professor Mark Caulfield, Genomics England; Professor Dame Sally Davies, Department of Health; George Freeman, Minister for Life Sciences; Professor John Isaacs, Newcastle University; Alastair Kent, Genetic Alliance UK; Dr Louise Leong, AstraZeneca; Professor Adrian Newland, Bart’s Health NHS Trust & NICE; Ben Osborn, Pfizer; Tim Pitfield, Janssen Diagnostics; Malcolm Qualie, NHS England; Professor Sir John Savill, Medical Research Council; Professor Adrian Towse, Office of Health Economics; and Dr Neil Weir, UCB.
Exhibitors include The British In Vitro Diagnostics Association (BIVDA), the national industry association for companies with major involvement and interest in the in vitro diagnostics (IVD) industry; MRC-NIHR National Phenome Centre, who offer exploratory and targeted molecular phenotyping to help maximise the efficiency of translational medicine in key areas of unmet medical need; the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which is funded through the Department of Health to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research; and Randox Pharma Services, who supply the world’s leading contract research organisations, pharmaceutical and biotech companies with technical know-how.
By Bina Rawal
Research, Medical and Innovation Director
1European Commission, Use of '-omics' technologies in the development of personalised medicine, SWD(2013)436, Oct. 2013