New Coalition Launched to Advance Personalized Medicine
2004-10-28 - Washington, DC, USA: The growing momentum behind personalized medicine has taken a further step forward in recent days, with the formation of the Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC). More than 20 leading pharmaceutical,
biotechnology, diagnostics and information technology companies, along with
major academic centers and governmental agencies, have joined together to form
this new organization. Based in
Washington, DC, the PMC is a non-governmental, non-profit group created to
foster understanding and adoption of personalized medicine for the benefit of
patients. Edward Abrahams, former Executive Director of the Pennsylvania
Biotechnology Association, has been appointed its Executive Director.
Personalized medicine involves the use of new methods of molecular
analysis to better manage a patient's disease or predisposition towards a
disease. It aims to achieve optimal medical outcomes by helping physicians and
patients choose the disease management approaches likely to work best given a
patient's unique genetic make-up, environment and lifestyle. Such approaches
may include targeted molecular screening programs that more precisely diagnose
diseases and their sub-types, thereby helping physicians select the type and
dose of medication most likely to be safe and effective for each patient. A recent MadeForOne.com feature article outlined some of the issues surrounding personalized medicine.
"Personalized medicine is emerging rapidly as a major force in drug
discovery and health care, and has numerous benefits for patients and the
healthcare system. Because its potential impact is so far-reaching, it raises
an array of issues, including patient and physician education, privacy and
ethics, reimbursement, regulatory oversight, and intellectual property," said
J. Brian Munroe, president of the PMC and vice president of government
relations and public policy at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
"The innovators and regulators in the field are taking a proactive role to
support sound public policy that will accelerate the adoption of personalized
medicine. The PMC brings together all the key stakeholders, fostering dialogue
and education in an open and balanced environment," Munroe said. "We are
particularly pleased that Dr. Abrahams is joining as Executive Director,
bringing a vast amount of expertise to the PMC in the areas of policy,
education and consensus-building."
The PMC Board has selected Edward Abrahams as Executive Director based on
his extensive experience in industry, academia, and government. As former
Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Association, Dr. Abrahams
managed all aspects of the Association, including public advocacy, media
relations, and educational programs, tripling its size and revenues in three
years. He also spearheaded the successful effort that led to the Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania's investment of $200 million to commercialize biotechnology in
that state. Previously, he had been Assistant Vice President for Federal
Relations at the University of Pennsylvania, and also held a senior
administrative position at Brown University. Before becoming a university
lobbyist, Dr. Abrahams worked seven years for the United States Congress,
including as a legislative assistant to Senator Lloyd Bentsen and as an
economist for the Joint Economic Committee under the chairmanship of
Congressman Lee Hamilton.
The PMC board of directors is composed of executives from Abbott
Laboratories, Affymetrix, Inc, Amgen, Inc, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals,
Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), Genentech, Inc., Genomas LLC,
Genomic Health, Inc., Hoffmann-LaRoche Ltd., IBM Corporation, Pfizer, Inc.,
and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). The
National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health-National Human
Genome Research Institute are also active in the PMC as ex-officio members.
The PMC has engaged diverse thought leaders and constituencies to initiate
dialogue on a variety of topics such as: privacy laws and their implications
for personalized medicine; the impact of personalized medicine on intellectual
property; global developments in biorepositories; and the value proposition of
emerging drugs and molecular based tests used for improved diagnosis, disease
prevention, therapy selection and monitoring.
"Personalized medicine leads to the convergence of life sciences, health
care and information technologies," noted Mike Svinte, vice president of IBM's
Information Based Medicine unit. "The PMC will pool the insights and
knowledge of multiple industries toward envisioning a future in which
diagnosis, treatment and health care delivery will all change significantly."