Posted by: Audrey Erbes | February 2, 2014

Progress in Personalized Medicine Alongside Challenges Plus Events and Jobs

The recent Personalized Medicine World Congress (PMWC) held in Mountain View once again met my expectations. The high quality of the meeting was evidenced by record attendance. The program was well planned and answered the questions of what’s happening with personalized medicine with emphasis on the arrival of actionable Personalized Medicine (PM) and the new age of guided disease management.

I attended sessions focused on trends and issues in diagnostics, especially, molecular diagnostics as well as panels speaking to problems in oncology but also healthcare and reimbursement. The big names and institutions in the field were present with networking possible with these industry leaders.

Takeaways from sessions I attended included:

  • Jay Flatley, President and CEO, Illumina sees PM at tipping point with progress on the regulatory front and great hopes for the future in contrast to later remarks as participant on panel as saying he hadn’t anticipated that payers, regulation and physicians would be major obstacles when he entered the field. The biggest surprise was how difficult it was to move into clinicals with the required pivot being movement into the research market. Clinicians didn’t know how to use the technology.
  • Brook Byers, Partner, KPCB, noted on same panel that it has been “long, strange trip.” He had anticipated the white hot risks in the emerging field would be technical not regulatory uncertainty and getting paid but also agreed that things are getting better. He noted the need to pivot and change one’s strategy without changing vision.
  • Comments on the future included:
    • “Genomic medicine is here to stay” with capability to diagnose cancer from blood/liquid coming – Kim Popovits, Chairman, CEO and President of Genomic Health. She didn’t see cure for cancer but rather the use of diagnostic technology would permit the identification of disease earlier allowing the surgeon to take care of it.
    • Lee Hood, M.D., Ph.D., President, Institute for Systems Biology foresees systems biology in 5-10 years allowing for handful of information to improve health of individual. These “metrics of wellness” will be mined from studying 100,000 individuals.
    • Nature of cancer and its treatment comments included:
      • George Sledge, M.D., Professor, Division Chief, Stanford University Medical Center, noted that “smart cancers are genomically complex” and a magic shot gun is needed to target multiple targets, not just one.
      • Mutation is quite common and there are genomic alterations as the cancer progresses; cancer is more complicated than single gene mutation.
      • Need for greater participation of cancer patients in trials—currently only 5% participate.
      • Comments on reimbursement
        • Ira Klein, M.D. MBA, FACP, Aetna, Inc shared some views from inside his CMO, he noted testing costs are upfront but outcomes are downstream and oncologists live in fragmented world. Aetna requires: analytic validity, clinical validity and clinical utility to reimburse a diagnostic.
        • Smaller companies can’t provide the health outcome data requested.
        • Cost of diagnostic signals review of decision intensity.
        • Need to move away from CTP codes which are based on activity and need to move to value; need to get AMA out of responsibility for codes.
        • Bundled payment is way off for CMS; it will be difficult transition.

Highlights of Upcoming Events This Coming Week

  • BioCentury This Week, See new program Webcast Starting Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014,, Available anytime starting at 9:00 a.m. EDT; Topic: “Switching Teams: From Biotech to FDA;” Speakers: Dr. Richard Moscicki, Deputy Center Director for Science Operations at Center for Drug Evaluation and Research; Francis Collins, Director of NIH; Steve Edelson SciBX Executive Editor and Dr. Leonard Freedamn, President of the Global Biological Standards Institute
  • Bio2Device Group, Tuesday Morning, Feb. 4, 2014; Topic: “Point of Care Diagnostic – The need and the ideal technology,” Speaker: Sanjeev Saxena, Founder, POC Medical Systems
  • MedTech Frontiers, Thursday Evening, Feb. 6, 2014, Topic: “Empathy-Driven Technology Design,” Speaker:  Anupam Pathak, Ph.D.

It’s not too late to sign up for my upcoming Life Science Product Marketing which will be held for 6 Thursday evenings over 7 week period at the downtown campus of UC Berkeley Extension on corner of Market and Fremont. In seven weeks you will be able to develop a preliminary product marketing plan with your team for your selected life science sector product. See highlights below and details at

UC Berkeley Extension, Thursday Evenings, Feb. 13-27, March 6-13 and 27

Topic: “Life Science Product Marketing: It’s All in the Plan”

Required course for Professional Program in Life Sciences Business (see flyer at

Instructor: Audrey S. Erbes, Ph.D.

Guest Speakers:

  • Deb Donovan, Director of Marketing at Avantis Medical Systems
  • Stanley Skrzypczak, M.S., M.B.A., Senior Director, Commercial Development, Genomic Health
  • Charles Versaggi, President, Versaggi Biocommunications
  • Steven Wong, Senior Consultant, Plan A

Dates and Time: Thursdays, Feb. 13-27, March 6-13 and 27; 6:00 – 9:00 pm; Location: Downtown University of California, Berkeley Extension, 425 Market St., 8th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105

Cost: Fee is $695 Course identifier is BUS ADM X442.5.  See more details and register at

Find all the details for these upcoming events plus those through June 2014 in Audreys picks Feb. 2, 2014. You can also download the pdf ofJobsThatCrossedMyDeskThroughFeb. 2, 2014 along with Audrey’s Picks by right clicking on the highlighted titles. This latter list includes the latest three weeks of positions.

You can always find my weekly blog and listings on my website Select “blog” and then right click on blog title to link to the WordPress site.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: