The term «personalized healthcare» raises hopes of maximizing the outcome for patients at lower cost. But is this really the case and how can industry live up to this promise? About 30 invited business and IT leaders attended the first Life Sciences Leader Forum on 27th April 2016 at Schlüsselzunft in Basel to gain more insight and discuss these questions. The event was co-organized by BaselArea.swiss and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).
Liliana Scheck, Managing Director of Enterprise Services Switzerland, introduced Hewlett Packard as a provider not only of hardware but also of IT technology and services for enterprises. After her warm welcome, the president of BaselArea.swiss – Domenico Scala – took the stage. Basel as the heart of innovation in life sciences was the main topic of his speech, and he presented some striking figures on one of the world’s leading life sciences hubs.
«Producers and manufacturers will continue to exist»
Analytics are important for personalized healthcare. Martin Risau, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Global Analytics & Data Management at HPE showed how much the volume of data has grown over the past few years. Business data, machine data and human data have grown heavily in the past 10 years. «To mine all this data, new skills and new tools are needed», he explained.
To extract meaning from patient records, all the data gathered needs to be translated into code. «This will enhance existing business models and create new companies, but this development is not completely disruptive», Martin Risau said. In his view, producers and manufacturers will continue to exist for decades to come, but new companies will connect the users of such products with a need. «Uber satisfies the need for transportation as a service, but cars still need to be built for this business». The completely disruptive innovation – according to Risau – will only happen in the companies working on data.
«Comprehensive diagnosis will lead to a specific treatment plan»
Miro Venturi, Global Head of Diagnostics Biomarkers & Personalized Healthcare with Roche, started his presentation with the statement: «Personalized healthcare is nothing new! It answers the patient’sֹ questions, such as ‹Am I at risk?› or ‹Which medicine should I take?›» The important point for the global personalized healthcare initiative at Roche is to understand the disease. «Only if we understand the disease in detail can we provide tailored treatment».
As not every patient reacts to a given drug in the same way, the data from samples needs to be analysed and filtered for important details. «Liquid biopsy is becoming increasingly important. We will be able to find out precisely which type and variety of disease a patient has», Venturi said. «In the future, a comprehensive diagnosis will lead to a specific treatment plan, which will constantly be monitored». All this new data will lead to new R&D hypotheses and – in the end – to new drugs, targets and compounds.
Denmark includes family tree in social security number
The panel discussion started with the question as to whether the willingness to share data is there at all. Miro Venturi agreed that this was indeed a tough and complex topic. «There are many regional and country-specific regulations that make the use of data very complicated». But as he said, «We need to work on this as a community!» Martin Risau agreed and added that the way of analysing data will change. «Today, we can work with probabilities. This works very well, but it also changes the way data needs to be protected».
The question of data protection brought the discussion round to the example of Denmark, where a great many studies are carried out.
The reason for this is that the family tree is included in each social security number, so the number is connected to relatives and their (medical) history.
«However, privacy is still important and we may need new rules in the future», stated Martin Risau.
The event concluded with a networking reception. Many of the attendees have already bookmarked the 2nd edition of Life Sciences Leader Forum on 2nd November 2016.
LinkedIn Group «Precision Medicine Group Basel Area»