Interviews

Providing Customised Cancer Care

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Cancer Genetics BOD

Cancer Genetics Inc (CGI) is partnering with clinical organisations in the country to increase awareness and access to customised cancer care, says Panna Sharma, CEO & President, CGI in conversation with Romiya Das of Elets News Network (ENN)

What are your views on genetic testing market in India vis-a-vis the global market?

The market can be viewed in research and discovery segment and the clinical segment.  The research and discovery segment has matured rapidly over the last three years and now the clinical market has been quickly evolving. Within the next 2-3 years, the research and discovery market of India will be at par with the most developed segments of the US and European markets, and the clinical market will be close behind. Given the need for genomic testing in India, it is exciting for the company to be an active member of this rapidly maturing market.

What are your views on market price sensitivity in terms of genetic testing equipment and popularity?

Clearly, there is a lot of price sensitivity, especially around NGS (full form) and genomic testing platforms, because of which due to which companies having funding and experience will be able to better capture the market. We think NGS and genomic platform equipment companies have the opportunity to increase market acceptance, market usage and to introduce global best practices to enhance the quality of service to the Indian market. As we continue to expand our operations in India, we are witnessing how equipment companies are trying to improve their capabilities and visibility into the Indian market.

How beneficial is the ‘Make in India’ concept in terms of the genetic testing particularly for Oncology?

At our CG India site, we are developing a customised cancer database of the Indian population. This is a commitment that we are making to better serve the community. We are investing in local discovery projects and collaborating with top national institutions to help our partners develop products faster. Lastly, we are partnering with the country’s leading clinical organisations to increase awareness and access to customised cancer care.

What are the challenges and upcoming trends in the oncology testing market in India?

In this largeThe clinical market has huge potential in  India, the but the two biggest challenges in oncology testing in India are pricing and the establishing of universal quality standards for the industry. CG India offers value to the market place in the form of global best practices that ensure the highest standards. We have ongoinginhouse  training for our staff to make sure they are on the cutting edge of industry developments, the ability to benchmark globally and locally using our customised , Indian database and to rapidly bring insights from our collaborations with leading research institutions. These characteristics allow us to provide in- depth interpretation that is currently not available in the marketplace.

With regard to pricing, as the industry, technology and processes mature, pricing will drop. CG India is committed to making this sophisticated type of testing widely available to improve cancer care for the wider Indian community. Major collaborations such as our partnership with Kamineni Hospitals (location), where we are continuing validation studies of our FHACT® (full form) panel to make it more widely available and accepted which will help us address the prominence of cervical cancer in the region. This better serve India’s Panel screening thousands of women to make tests more widely available and accepted. India alone accounts for more than 25 per cent of the deaths that occur globally from cervical cancer and we want to hope soon this number will slump do what we can to bring that number down dramatically.

What according to you are the emerging trends in oncology?

The top trends that I see in the marketplace are:

1) Wider acceptance of next generation sequencing as the dominant technology for testing cancer.

2) Wider acceptance and Extensive adoption of testing for predicting therapeutic response. There are a good number of oncology tests and technologies now that will help determine response to a drug.

3) The growing importance of  bioinformatics in the marketplace is also a key trend. CG India complements bioinformatics by helping partners analyse, interpret and provide recommendations that result in highly customized customised and effective cancer care.

What are your present operations in India and your expansion plans?

We have very talented staff in India that includes sales, operations, and management.  Over the next two years we expect to at least double our staff and rapidly expand our collaborations with the strategic clinical partners in the region. We think  positive that the growth rate can will accelerate significantly given two factors: As we are introducing a series of tests validated in the US (ie our FHACT and NGS panels). Also, because of Tthe unique synergy between CGI, our US-based, but globally-focused company and the talent and time advantage that CG India will we can attract biopharma and medical technology companies. Customers such as our Japanese partner, Reprocell, can benefit greatly from our efficiency and global expertise.

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