PwC foresees drugmaker-diagnostics alliances

Experts have been promising us personalized medicine for years now. Now they're doing it again: The analysts at PricewaterhouseCoopers issued a report predicting that drugmakers and diagnostics firms will team up more and more. Not only to identify patients who'll benefit most from their prescription meds, but also to design better-targeted clinical trials.

According to the report, current drugs produce a response rate ranging from 20 percent to 75 percent. "Potentially, we can be much more specific with respect to who should get a drug and who should not," Dr. David Levy of PwC told Reuters.

"Potentially" is the right word. Though personalized medicine is happening--consider Herceptin targeted for specific breast cancer patients, Erbitux and Vectibix flagged for colon cancers with specific genetic characteristics, and new companion diagnostics for HIV meds--it's creeping forward. The FDA was actually reluctant to target Erbitux and Vectibix; the drugmakers had to fight for the label change. So it's a case-by-case progress rather than the full-scale revolution pundits like to tout. More is definitely on its way, though, so keep your eyes open.

- read the Reuters story