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Variagenics: Lower-Risk Pharmacogenomics

Executive Summary

Despite its presumed intuitive appeal, the concept of applying pharmacogenomics to predict drug response remains largely unproven, and the handful of companies trying for a foothold in this market face challenges on several fronts: finding drug companies who've bought into the concept and are willing to collaborate, negotiating deals without the leverage of issued patents linking SNPs and haplotypes to drug response, and convincing investors both that the technology won't be commoditized, and that pharmaceutical firms won't bring it in-house and leave them in the cold. Variagenics is assuming that drug companies with whom it partners will use data from clinical trials that incorporate pharmacogenomic assays to obtain a label linking the sale of the drug and the use of the tests, which Variagenics will supply or license. As it seeks partners, Variagenics is also raising its visibility by collaborating with CROs and offering expertise and services to those drug companies and biotechs who have yet to devote resources to in-house pharmacogenomics programs but who want a taste of the technology.
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