An increasingly important word in drug development today is focus, the ability to understand the genetic makeup of a target patient population so that the hyper-expensive process of discovering and developing drugs will have an improved chance of hitting the mark. Such focus has become a corporate strategy for big pharma companies like Roche. The company has made diagnostics a key aspect of its in-house investments as well as for its evaluation of possible acquisitions. Roche's CEO, Severin Schwan, said as much in a recent interview, indicating that they were specifically targeting companies with strong diagnostic technologies. In January, Roche offered $5.7 billion for Illumina, seeking technology for identifying the genetic makeup of tumors.
The idea is to develop drugs that are so patient-focused, both effective and free of any latent toxicity potential, that the marketplace will find them compelling. Considering that the cost of developing and bringing a new drug to market can top a billion dollars, the importance of knowing everything possible about the drug/patient interaction is more important than ever.
VistaGen Therapeutics holds a unique position in the growing movement for better focus in drug development. The company uses advanced stem cell technology to produce functional human cells, such as heart cells, allowing drug developers to perform highly accurate early-stage testing on human cells, even before animal testing, of new drug candidates for cardiotoxicity so there are no surprises down the road. By attacking potential issues early in the cost curve, the result is better targeting of resources and huge potential savings for developers, and ultimately the healthcare system, by reducing the risk of developing a drug that could later be recalled. Cardiotoxicity, for example, has been a factor in nearly 30% of U.S. drug withdrawals, costing drug developers billions of dollars in potentially avoidable losses.
For additional information, visit the company's website at www.VistaGen.com
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