PhRMA’s member companies are on the leading edge of personalized medicine development– an area that is transforming health care, improving patient outcomes and creating health system efficiencies. In a new video, Dr. Bernie Zeiher, president of development of Astellas, discusses his excitement around the promise of personalized medicine, which uses diagnostic tools to help assess the medical treatments and procedures that may be best for each patient.
“I am very optimistic about the future because the promise of personalized medicine has begun to be seen,” Dr. Zeiher says in the video. “Now, with more personalized-type therapies, you can test the tumor or test the blood to determine that in fact the person has a particular mutation, and then that will guide which therapy you would choose and it also increases the likelihood that the patient will respond.”
Dr. Zeiher’s enthusiasm reflects the commitment of America’s biopharmaceutical companies to the development of these targeted treatments. Although there were only 13 FDA-approved personalized medicines in 2006, today there are more than 140. Additionally, personalized medicines accounted for more than 25 percent of FDA approvals last year, marking a record year for these innovative therapies.
Cancer is an area where personalized medicines are having a particularly big impact, driving tremendous advances for patients with highly aggressive cancers, like non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In fact, research has shown nearly two-thirds of NSLCs have a genetic mutation that can be more effectively targeted with a personalized medicine.
Thanks to the hard work of biopharmaceutical researchers, like Dr. Zeiher, 42 percent of medications currently in the pipeline have the potential to be personalized. While the science has never been more complex, the future of research is bright with personalized medicine becoming a reality.
Andrew Powaleny is Senior Director of Public Affairs at PhRMA and leads the organization's scientific communications. Before joining PhRMA in 2015, he worked in public affairs for a small firm in Washington, DC and served as Deputy Press Secretary for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Andrew came to Washington, D.C. via Connecticut with a degree from Eastern Connecticut State University where he majored in public policy and government. Andrew is active as a runner and volunteer with the DC Front Runners; most recently serving on its Board of Directors for three years as co-race director. He is also a member of the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists and mentors students through his alumni association with The Fund for American Studies. Andrew is passionate about scientific innovation, especially for mental illness, and his heroes are the men and women of America’s biopharmaceutical research companies.