Generating revenue of over $1 billion annually to owner companies,
blockbuster drugs have been a prominent feature of drug development
over recent decades. However, a large number of patients have an
inadequate therapeutic response to the ‘one size fits all’ blockbuster
drugs. It is difficult to predict which patient subgroups will respond well
to a drug and which will have significant adverse reactions.
This article outlines the potential role of pharmacogenomics in drug
development and personalised medicine in order to examine possible
treatment strategies targeted to patients according to their genetic profile.
Drug development based on pharmacogenomics has the potential to
result in medications that have predictable responses in ethnic or racial
patient subpopulations and can be targeted to accommodate individual
genetic variation. The key challenges for the successful implementation
of this concept include finding suitable biomarkers, bringing down
the cost of laboratory investigations, and making drug development
processes based on pharmacogenomics economically viable for
up to $1 billion. Despite the seemingly massive expenditure, the great majority of prescription drugs in the market today are only effective for around 40% of target patients.3 The percentage comes down further to 20% in the field of cancer chemotherapy.4 It is also reported that up to 40–75% of patients with asthma, 25–50% of patients with diabetes, and 20–40% of patients with depression are nonresponsive to their treatments.3,5
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