This week I spoke with founder and CEO of Genelex, Howard Coleman to learn about pharmacogenetic testing, and the role it plays in patient outcomes and overall healthcare spend. Pharmacogenetic testing involves obtaining a sample of DNA from the patient via a cheek swab or blood test and examining the genes associated with metabolizing medications.
With this information, a prescribing physician can know in advance that, “This patient is a poor metabolizer for Plavix, meaning they won’t activate the drug. I need to order a different anticoagulant,” for example. While there are numerous factors that come into play to determine how an individual’s body responds to a medication, or combination of medications, this data can help prescribing providers avoid readily-identifiable adverse drug events.
Adverse drug events occur in over 100,000 persons per year, with an average cost of ~$20,000+ per event per patient, with many resulting in serious illness, injury, or death. The data obtained by this one-time test is valid for the life of the patient, allowing physicians and other providers the ability to incorporate the data into medication prescription decisions for the rest of their lives.
Recent changes in the law have placed requirements on advancing technologies that will enable more personalized delivery of healthcare to patients, going so far as to include outcomes in calculating rates of reimbursement. Additionally, greater emphasis is being placed on “wellness” and prevention of illness/injury and moving away from a model aimed at “treating illness”, which created more of a “volume-based” focus.
Howard shared how Genelex evolved from a genetics lab providing forensic DNA testing to a precision medicine technology company in the early 2000’s. Since then the company has been working to contribute to the body of evidence that continues to support the fact that certain groups of individuals are genetically inclined to respond in a fashion that is counter to what is desired and thus, at risk for a drug-related event.
Howard Coleman, Founder/CEO, Genelex