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Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre Appoints First Chairman

We are delighted by today’s announcement that the Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre (SMS-IC) has appointed its first chairman, Dr David U’Prichard. David is a global life science entrepreneur with extensive experience in health science research, and the industry knowledge he brings will prove invaluable.

For us, Dr U’Prichard’s appointment highlights the promise of stratified medicine in tackling chronic disease, and is testament to the global relevance of what we are trying to achieve at the SMS-IC and its potential impact across multiple industries.

Collaboration is central to the way we work at Aridhia, so Dr U’Prichard’s achievements in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, along with his academic appointments at Northwestern University, The Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania are particularly relevant. We hope that his leadership in the SMS-IC will catalyse the unique collaboration between industry, academia and the healthcare organisations across the world.

Stratified medicine: where science and industry meet

The majority of current medicines have been developed and approved by the regulators on the basis of their performance in a large population, and prescribed to all patients with a defined diagnosis. However, it has long been recognised that there is considerable individual variation in responses to drugs; some patients show no response, others show a dramatic response and yet others manifest serious and sometimes life-threatening adverse reactions.

Approximately 99.9% of our DNA is identical but it is the 0.1% difference between individuals that is clinically significant, for it is responsible for hereditary susceptibility to disease, metabolic rate of conversion of drugs, and whether an individual is a responder or non-responder to a particular drug treatment. Consequently the one-drug-one disease paradigm no longer holds true, and a more personalised approach is required by stratifying patients in cohorts according to particular criteria, for instance a biomarker, with the aim to match the right drug to the right patient.

For stratified medicine to move from the niche, targeted therapy, to become the standard of care requires a number of challenges to be overcome and a successful amalgamation of industries, knowledge, technologies and information streams. If we overcome these challenges, stratified medicine will have a profound effect on clinical research, clinical practice, diagnostic testing, drug development, patient outcomes, public health policy and more. The creation of the Centre isn’t just about what we can achieve in Scotland, it has significant global resonance.

What this could mean for stakeholders across the world

For the NHS:

The ability to deliver more effective therapies by targeting specific disease variations through the use of accurate, cost-effective diagnostic tests to guide decision to treat, and predict dosing, drug combinations and outcomes.

For Pharma:

More efficient drug development, enabled by improved identification of disease subgroups, molecular pathways, and genetic variation, thus allowing targeted drug design. Molecular analysis can also assist in the selection of patient cohorts for inclusion or indeed exclusion from clinical trials.

For Bioindustry:

More effective companion diagnostic development, made possible by easier identification of disease subgroups, molecular pathways, and genetic variation, linking targeted drug design with molecular pathways to ensure a diagnostic is developed in tandem with a drug.

For Patients:

More effective targeted drugs

Less adverse events/drug toxicities

Individualised drug dosing based on metabolism

Progress can’t be made on issues as complex as chronic disease and stratified medicine without collaboration. It is vital if effective, relevant treatment and care is to be delivered. We are therefore delighted to welcome Dr U’Prichard and his extensive science, business and academic experience to the SMS-IC, which will prove invaluable as the Centre concentrates of proving the value of stratified medicine approaches.