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

10/26/10Follow @bvbigelow

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how we haven’t fully understood the cause and effect of a therapeutic. That’s what we’re talking about fixing.”

In explaining the concept of personalized medicine, Lucier said, “The most cutting-edge work taking place today is this idea that we can genomically sequence you. We can really understand what mutations you have, we can then compare it to what therapeutics are known to work on that particular problem and give it to you, and then we can see if it works. That’s the ‘trial of one.’ It seems very commonsense, seems straightforward, and yet I will tell you this is probably the most revolutionary and provocative comment in the FDA today.”

A key change driving the strategic shift at Life Technologies, Lucier said, was the company’s $725 million acquisition of Ion Torrent Systems, the Connecticut-based startup using “chemical transistors” technology to develop microprocessors capable of directly reading genetic information.

“It uses semiconductor technology as the starting point for reading the genome,” Lucier explained. It displaces the existing, image-based technology for reading DNA with a digital processing device that could potentially scan a patient’s entire personal genome in less than two hours. Doctors could then use a patient’s personal molecular profile to prescribe drugs and a course of treatment that is tailored to act more specifically with certain genetic variations, an approach known as “evidence-based medicine.”

Greg Lucier

Greg Lucier

It also helps explain a bit of news that was largely overlooked earlier this month when Life Technologies named Dr. Paul R. Billings as Chief Medical Officer, a newly created corporate position intended to improve patient care by expanding the use of medically relevant genomic technologies in clinical settings.

The Ion Torrent acquisition, Lucier said, marks a new era for technology that enables super-fast genetic sequencing at a low cost “and moves it to the medical realm in the next two years or so.”

In discussing the paradigm shift to come in … 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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