In Talk on Personalized Medicine, Life Technologies’ CEO Explains Shift in Corporate Strategy

10/26/10Follow @bvbigelow

On the day that Carlsbad, CA-based Life Technologies (NASDAQ: LIFE) is scheduled to issue its third-quarter financial results, Life chairman and CEO Greg Lucier provided a hugely insightful overview of the company’s changing corporate strategy.

“We’ll do about $3.6 billion in revenue this year,” Lucier said at a breakfast meeting in San Diego earlier today. “About $300 million is in medical molecular diagnostics, and we think that in five years, several billion will be in the medical field. So we’re changing the entire complexion of the company to become more medical, to be a big research company and a big medical company over the next five years. You’ll see a lot more announcements over the next several quarters as we make that change.”

Lucier’s talk was billed as a breakfast chat “on the future of personalized genomic medicine” by Biocom, the San Diego life sciences industry group that hosted the event. But it covered other ground as well, including prospects for San Diego’s innovation economy in exploiting breakthroughs that moderator M. Wainwright Fishburn called the “pathways to fast water.”

“If you think about what we’ve been through in San Diego, it’s been a bit of a tough challenge,” said Fishburn, a corporate lawyer and Biocom board member. While biopharmaceuticals and wireless communications served as past economic foundations in San Diego, new opportunities are emerging in mobile health, industrial biotechnology, and personalized medicine.

Greg Lucier

Greg Lucier

Lucier agreed. “We’re at a very interesting inflection point, and I think that inflection point is this transition from science to engineering,” he said. “We now have the ability to properly characterize key aspects of how life works… It’s starting to have an enormous influence on how drugs will be developed, and quite frankly, how crops are going to be developed, the food you eat, and very importantly, the fuel to power the Earth.”

As an example, Lucier cited a study published four years ago in Trends in Molecular Medicine that showed the relative effectiveness of different types of drugs—due simply to genetic variation among the patients getting the drugs. The response rate ranges from a roughly 75 percent effectiveness for statins to roughly 25 percent for beta blockers and 20 percent for oncology drugs.

“In cancer, only one in five drugs will actually have the desired impact you want to have on a patient,” Lucier said. “It’s not a very good success rate, and it shows you just … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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