Biomarkers finally get respect, but challenges remain

Karen Jones, writing in her BioEngagement blog, is heartened that biomarkers have come in from the cold a decade after she "witnessed the biotech bubble bursting spectacularly in the form of tumbling share prices and the disintegration and transformation of the bioinformatics giants such as Incyte Genomics and Celera[,] which spat out many erstwhile biomarker researchers onto the streets to look for other forms of employment."

Those biomarker researchers can now proudly send out their resumes, because just about every drug development project also has a biomarker to help judge progress. "Biomarkers have certainly impacted on our internal decision making on whether to move forward to the next phase of clinical development," she quotes AstraZeneca's James Weatherall as saying.

Jones' comprehensive look at the biomarker biz includes what she calls "4 key challenges" for companies:

  • Choosing the right application--one that will "benefit patients, pharma companies and payers."

  • Prove that they work, that the biomarker increases "predictability in development and treatment."

  • Get them adopted by industry and regulatory authorities ASAP.

  • "Get paid!" Biomarkers are typically undervalued compared to medical products.

- read the whole BioEngagement post