Made-to-Measure Medicine: How mRNA will Transform Patient Engagement

September 21, 2021

Part three of a three-part series on mRNA innovation

The final chapter of our mRNA series is future-focused. Part one was about the recent surge in acquisitions and investments in mRNA technology. Part two focused on the increase in clinical trials that are accelerating the development of life-saving mRNA therapies. In part three we look at mRNA’s potential to transform patient engagement by turning ‘ready-to-wear’ medicine into tailor-made treatment.

As we examined earlier in the series, mRNA’s short and medium-term impact on business and clinical research is already apparent. Less apparent is mRNA’s potential to reshape diagnoses and patient care into highly personalized, one-to-one treatment plans that will ultimately transform the nature of patient engagement. Imagine a therapy that instructs a person’s body to seek and destroy, not just a characteristic of a disease trait, but their own personalized diseased trait. Just like that bespoke Armani suit that fits only you and not your brother, mRNA holds the key to made-to-measure medicine.

It’s already happening. Moderna is currently testing this concept in cancer trials and is using genomic sequencing to deliver custom mRNA-based cancer treatment within weeks of diagnosis. The company calls its personalized medicine program ‘One Medicine for One Patient.’ At Escalent, we foresee a chain reaction in tailored medicine, as one major mRNA-based clinical breakthrough in a particular therapeutic area will quickly lead to breakthroughs in other areas.

mRNA’s Chain Reaction & the Future of Patient Engagement

Developing personalized mRNA treatments will require clinical trials that are different from the trials of today. Since each treatment is bespoke, there will not be supporting data from thousands or even hundreds of patients. So will traditional clinical trials cease to exist? Not entirely, but decentralized clinical trials will become more commonplace. In addition, treatment outcomes will increasingly be based on Real World Data (RWD), a movement the FDA is already pushing with Life Sciences companies. In this new world, the patient becomes the living, active and progressive equivalent of a traditional clinical trial.

So how does this lead to higher patient engagement? Just as participation in a clinical trial requires a relatively high degree of commitment, these trials-of-one will require far greater patient involvement. For example, wearable technology that captures RWD will become a part of the prescription and a critical part of the treatment plan. The technology already exists, but its adoption – at least in these sorts of applications – has not been widespread. mRNA-based personalized medicine may very well be the catalyst that moves us towards a higher degree of patient involvement in their treatment.

3 Ways mRNA will Transform Patient Engagement

It is hard to understate just how far-reaching the impact of some of these changes will be. At Escalent, we are keeping a close eye on what we see as transformative change on the horizon. So far, this is how we see it:

  1. The ‘one medicine for one patient’ concept will dissolve the line between clinical trials and actual treatment, causing Health Care Providers (HCPs) to change prescription behaviors to adapt to an individualized treatment strategy. This means a new set of privacy regulations may very well be needed for patients to comfortably share their genetic information with HCPs and pharmaceutical companies.
  2. HCPs will no longer be reliant on time-consuming and trial-by-error efficacy results from clinical trials. More and quicker health outcomes will be achieved with mRNA personalized medicine, and HCPs can save more lives.
  3. RWD from mRNA personalized medicine will make it easier for HCPs to engage in holistic health conversations with their patients. HCPs’ increased knowledge of patient lifestyles will provide a customized level of care, and patients will become more active participants in their care.

Of course, there are many questions still left to be answered:

  • How quickly will these changes occur?
  • What will this mean for pharmaceutical companies, and how will they engage with patients?
  • How will sales representatives convince HCPs to write a prescription without clinical trial data?
  • What role will technology companies play in future patient engagement models?
  • And many more . . .

Escalent is already digging into these and other critical questions for key players in the Life Sciences industry. We continuously monitor the industry using our extensive network of KOLs, and public and proprietary data sources. You may not feel the impact of mRNA today, but it is only a matter of time.

Send us a note so we can help you prepare your operational and marketing strategies for the era of made-to-measure medicine.

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Ryan Doornbos, Life Sciences
Ryan Doornbos
Managing Director, Life Sciences

Ryan Doornbos leads Escalent’s Life Sciences group.  From his first engagement 20 years ago helping a medical device company launch a pioneering drug-eluting stent through his engagements today, Ryan applies a strategic lens to how he approaches the challenging business problems his clients face. His experience covers vaccines, diabetes, cardiology, rare diseases, and oncology, among others. He has advised clients from the business development and innovation process, through the product launch cycle, and into on-going operational challenges faced by the ever-changing industry.  A strategy consultant by training, Ryan is based in Toronto, Canada.  By nights and weekends, he puts his Sommelier Certificates to work for friends and family, while squeezing in time for cycling and skiing.

Tim Taylor, Life Sciences
Tim C. Taylor
Vice President, Life Sciences

Tim Taylor is a vice president in Escalent's Life Sciences group, with more than 15 years of consultative experience. He has helped Life Sciences, CPG, and Sports & Entertainment companies minimize the risk of strategic business decisions and uncover new growth opportunities. With client- and supplier-side strategic consulting experience emphasizing new market access, brand positioning and optimizing operations, Tim is a relentless value provider and revenue contributor to industry-leading organizations. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics, business management from The City University of New York, CCNY.  Away from the office, Tim enjoys photography and is an avid cyclist.

Shiv Nayyar, Life Sciences
Shiv Nayyar
Director, Life Sciences

Shiv Nayyar is a director in Escalent’s Life Sciences group. He brings 12 years of experience in strategic insights consulting for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. Shiv specializes in opportunity assessments, product launches and go-to-market strategies. He has worked in four countries and managed large-scale global research and consulting projects. He is pursuing his Executive MBA from Kellogg, Northwestern University and has a post graduate diploma from Uppsala Monitoring Centre, WHO. When not working, you will find him at the nearby driving range or on the course with his golf buddies.