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home > ebr > spring 2004 > can the new generation of biomarkers escape the commodity trap?
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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Can the New Generation of Biomarkers Escape the Commodity Trap?

Diagnostics are involved in 80 per cent of all medical decisions, yet account for only four per cent of health care expenditure. Limited patent protection, combined with past aggressive price competition among laboratories and manufacturers, have yielded an industry whose economics are far removed from those of the pharmaceuticals that the diagnostics indicate. Attend a diagnostics industry discussion on the adoption of a new test, and sooner or later someone will say, "of course it depends on how much it will cost", a response much less often heard when appraising an important new drug. So diagnostics typically cost from a few cents to a few dollars (or pounds, or euros, if you prefer); innovative pharmaceuticals from hundreds to many thousands (of dollars, pounds or euros) per course of treatment.

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Dr Richard Barker is President at New Medicine Partners, who advise biotech companies on issues such as strategy, M&A and knowledge management. He has more than 20 years' experience in the health care industry and has held a range of senior leadership roles in both early stage and mature companies, and in consulting. He is also a Co-Founder and Board Member of Homeland Defense Ventures, and Chairman of the Board of Molecular Staging, a New Haven-based genomics and proteomics company. Richard was formerly CEO of Chiron Diagnostics and has also spent 13 years with McKinsey & Company, leading the firm's pharmaceuticals practice in Europe. He has a DPhil in Biophysics and a BA in Chemistry, both from Oxford University.
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Dr Richard Barker
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