In recent years, the much-discussed concept of “patient centricity” has been top-of-mind across all corners of the pharma industry. This is especially pertinent now that many innovative drug makers are seeking to become much more than just purveyors of pills and expand along the life science continuum, providing positive healthcare outcomes and wellness solutions in place of mere units of product. Perhaps nowhere, though, has real patient centricity been more in evidence than with the new generation of cell and gene-based therapies.
This is largely because with state-of-the-art, biology-based, personalised medicines — such as cell gene and neoantigen therapies — the traditional boundaries separating the patient, the process, and the product are very much blurred. “What really distinguishes treatments such as chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapies is the patient is not just the recipient of a drug product. The patient is the product,” explains Marc Boutin, global head patient engagement at Novartis and former CEO of the US National Health Council. “Patients are truly central to each and every activity as the patient’s own cells are the starting material for all manufacturing processed and, after genetic modification, form the essence of the final material,” he emphasizes.