April 26, 2023

Perspectives on Precision Medicine with Joanne M. Hackett, IQVIA

We recently spoke with Joanne M. Hackett, the Head of Genomic and Precision Medicine at IQVIA and previously was the Chief Commercial Officer at Genomics England.

Joanne is a clinical academic, entrepreneur, investor, and a strategic, creative visionary with global experience spanning successful start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. Joanne is an innovator and a strong advocate for personalised medicine.

Introduction: Tell us a bit about yourself and your association with precision medicine (PM)?

IQVIA is a leading global provider of advanced analytics, technology solutions and clinical research services to the life sciences industry. It brings technology, domain excellence, data and analytics to driving clinical trials, real world studies, life-science strategy and health care innovation. IQVIA is a leader in technology solutions to unlock the power of data and enable the healthcare and research processes that underpin precision medicine.

Biggest opportunities PM brings to the healthcare versus more traditional treatments?

PM will transform healthcare and patient outcomes: Diagnosing diseases faster; Eliminating extensive healthcare and indirect costs of disease; Co-opting existing therapies to new patients; Enabling new medicines to reach patients faster via better clinical trial access and new therapy development; Allowing early intervention and prevention of disease.

How does clinical adoption of PM in the Gulf Cooperation Council region (GCC) compare with the rest of the developed world.

Clinical adoption of PM across the region is positive compared to some others. There are significant national and health service programs driving rapid adoption. However, there is sometimes a lack of conjoined national legislation and policy that is hampering adoption compared to countries that have national strategies. This also impacts on global and commercial collaborations. For example, some countries lack legislation to support clinical trials.

What are the latest advancements in PM? What treatments and/or products have proven to be most successful within PM?

It is transforming rare diseases that are often debilitating and poorly managed by existing care options despite their heavy burden on the health system. Often existing marketed therapies can be repurposed to reverse disease courses for patients that otherwise had no options. Genetic testing is becoming more routine in healthcare settings, meaning the amount of data amassed can start to help identify mutations and variants that were the targets for pre-existing medications.

The future of PM?

The initial cost of genetic and genomic testing and analysis continues to decrease, and this is leading to an increase in the evidence supporting its roll out. There are still gaps in policy (see above) and perhaps most importantly in education and training outside of the specialist genomics and oncology professions. These skills gaps – alongside a lack of public awareness – are the next big barrier to wider adoption in pharmacogenomics, screening programmes and broader public health.

In what fields are PM being applied and how is it influencing disease outcomes?

It is being rapidly adopted in oncology supporting the appropriate application of new therapies with good outcomes and lower side-effects. PM is also being increasingly applied in paediatrics and chronic conditions that are linked to inherited or new genetic conditions. A rapid diagnosis can end the ‘diagnostic odyssey’ and provide better health outcomes for patients. It also can offer advice for other family members or for future pregnancies to allow informed choices.

Benefits to the Arab Nations specifically?

The Arab population can especially benefit from precision medicine due to an increased risk of genetic conditions in some populations. It can be useful in supporting pre-conception carrier testing as well as providing improved advice following the birth of an affected child. The existence of well-organised population sequencing initiatives in several regions is improving the knowledge of specific genetic markers in the population and filling an important gap in global genomic databases.

What influence will PM have on healthcare, society, or even the environment?

PM will influence the whole field of medicine by promoting the shift from disease treatment to disease prevention, leading to a healthier society, a more efficient and sustainable healthcare system.

In addition to known benefits in cancer, is it also effective for other diseases?

Absolutely, PM can be applied to other therapeutic areas beyond oncology. Learnings and successes from the field of precision medicine in oncology can be applied to other fields of medicine such as immunology, rare or central nervous system disorders.

The role of artificial intelligence (AI) playing in PM?

AI and big data are transforming healthcare. AI algorithms have the power to efficiently interpret data at large scale, providing new insights on disease prediction, treatment and preventive care. For example, AI can generate insights from patients' clinical and genetic data to predict response to treatment, adverse drug reactions and ultimately propose a personalized treatment plan.

Challenges faced when adopting PM treatments and therapies?

In order to have successful adoption of therapies, significant resources are required to improve data collection and storage, sharing of data and integration to various hospital systems such as the EHR. Additionally, genomic information must be incorporated in clinical care and research as part of regular clinical practice. Beyond technical challenges, it will be required to enhance ethnic diversity to ensure translation of the findings to the global population and to make precision medicine accessible to all.

Interested to hear more?

Attend the PrecisionMed Conference and listen to Joanne M. Hackett
Day 2, 24 May 2023
16:30 - 16:45: Unlocking the Power of Precision Medicine