India, September 25th, 2023: Queen’s University Belfast, one of the leading Universities in UK and Ireland as well as a member of the prestigious Russell Group of UK research intensive universities, have conducted a comprehensive study of the initial wave of precision oncology medicines. This was conducted in collaboration with a team of precision healthcare economists and researchers from Salutem Insights Ltd, Diaceutics PLC and King’s College London. This is world’s first and most comprehensive study of the initial wave of precision oncology medicines in the marketplace.

The study examined the economic impact of precision oncology medicines compared to traditional oncology medicines. It found that it costs over $1 billion less in research and development (R&D) spend to develop an oncology medicine that is guided through clinical trials (precision oncology approach) compared to a “one size fits all” approach to treatment.

Precision oncology aims to develop medical treatments that target the molecular characteristics of an individual’s tumour. Studies in India have shown that the rising adoption of immunotherapy is a key trend influencing the India oncology drugs market growth. [1]

Professor Mark Lawler, Professor of Digital Health at Queen’s University Belfast, co-lead of Health Data Research UK’s Big Data for Complex Disease Research Driver Programme and senior author on the paper, explains: “This landmark study highlights how precision medicine can deliver affordable care for cancer patients. Moving towards a precision oncology Companion Diagnostic (CDx) -guided approach can deliver health benefits at a potentially affordable cost, including in the development phase, lowering expensive clinical trial attrition rates and sparing patients from those treatments that are ineffective and may have significant side effects. If we don’t deploy a CDx guided approach we are missing a huge opportunity to deliver the best, most affordable care to our patients.”

Dr Raymond Henderson, Senior Health Technology Assessment Manager at Salutem Insights Ltd and lead author on the paper, said: “This study emphasises how a precise health economic approach can provide the evidence base to underpin the delivery of precision oncology for patients.”

Peter Keeling, CEO of Diaceutics and co-author of the study, highlights the importance of these findings for the pharma industry: “Utilising this same base-line landmark financial analysis, we can for the first-time postulate what might be the actual lifecycle advantage of recovering patients lost to the diagnostic pathway with an investment in better testing.”

The study also showed that by using the “CDx guided approach”, which uses a companion diagnostic to identify patients who are most likely to benefit from a particular medicine, increases the likelihood of a treatment being successful and therefore cutting costs. The findings have been published in the ournal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice. This work was supported by a grant from Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) and funding from the Queen’s University Belfast Foundation.