Collaboration between diagnostic manufacturers and pharma companies for personalized medicines

Personalized medicine is a promising new field in healthcare that is emerging at a rapid page. Personalized medicine refers to the identification of certain characteristics in the molecular make-up of a patient or patient group, and then prescribing targeted medicine based on those characteristics. This ensures better recovery outcomes and reduced side effects, finally enhancing the health outcome. Doctors can prescribe safer and more effective therapies and patients avoid unnecessary attempts to find the right therapy.

For pharma companies and diagnostic manufacturers, personalized medicine is rapidly becoming a very lucrative opportunity. For the pharma companies, the development lifecycle of a drug is generally quite long. Most of the attempts in the past have been aimed at discovering blockbuster drugs that have applicability on a large percentage of people suffering from a disease. The focus on discovery of a big hit drug meant that a lot of molecules that had the potential to target specific group of patients within a disease category, could not be commercialized. The percentage of successful clinical trials was also low because a drug was trying to target a bigger patient set. With personalized medicine though, pharma companies can target a specific group making the process of commercialization relatively shorter. For this though, they have to collaborate very closely with the diagnostic manufacturers so that the right patient set can be diagnosed and identified properly.

In the US, FDA now mandates that therapies targeting specific patient sets will get approval as a combination set of diagnostics, to identify the right patient set, and the drug which will be used for therapy. While molecule development is the forte of the drug companies, they do not have the infrastructure or competencies to build the companion diagnostic equipment. There have been instances where the pharma company has developed the diagnostic equipment in-house, however, they may be better served by tying up with the right diagnostic equipment manufacturer.

Personalised medicine is a great opportunity for medium sized diagnostic manufacturers to proactively tie-up with pharma companies to support them in the entire lifecycle of development of personalized drug including clinical trials. The diagnostic manufacturers will then reap the rewards through commercialization of their diagnostic equipment along with the specific drug.

About the columnist: Ashish Bhatia is the Co-Founder and CEO of LabsAdvisor (, and online marketplace for diagnostic tests. He is an IIM-Ahmedabad alumnus and has over 15 years of management consulting and entrepreneurship experience.


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About LabsAdvisor

LabsAdvisor is a curated platform for diagnostic labs and plays the role of an honest intermediary in the unorganized diagnostic industry in India. Founded in February 2015, the start-up offers diagnostic test-booking and online report storage services to its users. The objective is to bring transparency in the Indian diagnostic industry in India. Highly unorganized diagnostic sector with lack of transparency on quality as well as pricing led to the start of LabsAdvisor (

LabsAdvisor has been founded by two former management consultants, Ashish Bhatia and Rahul Shukla. Both of them had varied years of experience working in different industries across Europe, US and India. Ashish is an IIM Ahmedabad alumnus while Rahul is an IIT-Delhi graduate.