ASCO: Philips proclaims a pair of precision medicine partnerships

Philips has inked a couple of precision medicine deals. The first is a research agreement with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the second is a project with Illumina and Navican to widen access to precision medicine.

MSK and Philips will use the latter’s IntelliSpace Genomics platform to create new precision diagnostics for pancreatic cancer. The teams will develop methods to sequence tumor samples at the single-cell level to better understand the deadly cancer, which is difficult to catch early.

Cancer is a heterogeneous disease with a lot of genetically different types of cells, said Louis Culot, general manager of Philips Genomics. A therapy might affect some of these cells and shrink the tumor, he said. But the cells it doesn’t kill may ultimately take over and lead to progression. Looking at individual cells will unlock a “crisper understanding” of the disease and how the cells play a role in progression, relapse and metastasis.

The partnership has no set plans to expand beyond pancreatic cancer, but the insights gained could be applied to other cancer types, Culot said. The hope is to improve care down the road as a result of this research collaboration.

Philips’ deal with Illumina and Navican, an Intermountain Healthcare company, will make Intermountain’s precision medicine services available via “turnkey access” to hospitals and healthcare networks across the country.

Intermountain’s Precision Genomics laboratory analyzes the genetics of individual patients’ cancer, and a team of tumor experts and treatment specialists review each case to find the most appropriate course of treatment.

The trio will create an end-to-end solution, using Philips’ IntelliSpace platform as the “box” to “bottle up” Intermountain’s services and bring them to community cancer centers, Culot said.

“Through Navican this approach and all services, including continuous remote access to Intermountain’s tumor specialists and treatment navigators, are offered to community hospitals, independent hospital networks and other Integrated Delivery Networks,” said Navican CEO Ingo Chakravarty in the statement. 

“The current setup is a fairly fragmented system with diagnostics, labs, care delivery organizations, providers, payers and pharma," Chakravarty said. "There’s a lot of legwork between diagnosis and access to therapy.”

“Patients are based in the community, across the United States and around the world," Chakravarty added in the statement, and “so should precision medicine, being accessible to all, not just a few.”

The new solution will be rolled out in the Intermountain network, which comprises 22 hospitals and 180 clinics. It will then expand to other hospitals and healthcare systems around the globe in the second half of this year.