The market for genetic biomarkers

Today in the world, 9 out of 10 drugs that are developed are associated with biomarkers, that is, with genetic and molecular analyzes that allow us to demonstrate that said drug will be effective for a specific patient. These are phenomenal advances in personalized or precision medicine that are dramatically increasing the life expectancy of cancer patients.

For example, 6 years ago a person diagnosed with lung cancer survived one year on average; now he survives 5 years. This is largely thanks to the application of biomarkers. International guidelines indicate that all patients with cancer diagnosed in stage 3 and 4 should undergo a genetic test to determine therapy.

The point here is that the genetic data used to develop next-generation drugs comes from patients in Europe and the United States. It is necessary that the Latin American population is genetically represented in these developments.

This is how Nicolas Kirchuk, CEO and co-founder of Biomakers, makes us see it, the most important cancer genetics company in Latin America that is successfully venturing into the local production of biomarkers, and also strongly promoting the development of clinical trials in the region so that in the near future the gap between the development of drugs and the contribution of data from Latin American genomes is reduced.

For Nicolas, this is a very important investment focus for the future, to the extent that his plan is that by November 2022, 10 new protocols for different medications will be starting each month in Mexico. For this, they are forming alliances with the most important international pharmaceutical companies.

Biomarkers is a company of Argentine origin that arrived in Mexico a year and a half ago, in the midst of a pandemic, set up its own laboratory in Mexico City and today is competing strongly with its genetic analyzes under a business model through which biomarkers are paid for. by the pharmaceutical companies, so that it is managing to open access not only in the private sector but also in the public sector.

It must be said that competition in this niche has been centered above all between companies with laboratories in the United States, such as Foundation Medicine -by Roche-, Caris Life Sciences or Quests Diagnostics, but these must transfer patient biopsies to their platforms in the United States. The difference with Biomakers is that by having its own laboratory in Mexico, the genetic material stays in the country and allows a faster response. In addition, it has established a biobank with samples of more than 30,000 advanced tumors from all over Latin America, whose genetic material will surely become a jewel with high-value information to develop new drugs in the future.

We are talking about a huge market -says Nicolas Kirchuk- that is only destined to grow, because more and more drugs are associated with biomarkers and new tests are emerging to determine the best treatment for patients.

Mordor Intelligence estimates indicate that the biomarkers market covering all therapeutic areas totals about 90 billion dollars, and it is expected that by 2030 it will grow at a rate of 15% per year. Only in oncology, which is where the greatest development occurs, a market size of 40 billion dollars is calculated with a growth rate of over 13% per year.

A second area of ​​greater development where Biomakers works is in rare or very low prevalence diseases, all of genetic origin, for which treatments are being developed that make a real difference for the patient. It is the second most important market in this area, which is also growing strongly. The bad thing is that they are very expensive treatments, about 500,000 dollars a year per patient, and that they must be taken chronically. The great challenge is how to make them accessible to all health systems because otherwise they are prohibitive for our Latin American countries.

WTO approves suspension of anticovid vaccine patents

Although it comes a little late, the decision of the World Trade Organization to approve by consensus temporarily suspend the patents of anticovid vaccines, is still historic. With this, developing countries will be able to manufacture vaccines for five years without the consent of the owner of the patent rights and without paying royalties. The bad: Covid19 treatments and tests were left out of this agreement. Hence, patent suspension advocacy groups – such as Doctors Without Borders – were openly disappointed with the WTO decision.

Morena initiative seeks to solve shortage

Many unknowns opened the initiative with a draft decree recently presented by deputy Patricia Armendáriz to create the Electronic Medicine Supply Control System, SICAMED, and thereby supposedly solve the persistent shortage of medicines in Mexico. It is not known if they will listen to him, and perhaps he has good intentions, but in principle he proposes things that are not feasible or that have no head or tail, such as putting an end to the inter-institutional commission of the CSG so that the IMSS is the one that prepares the National Compendium of Health Supplies. For this, there is a fundamental problem: first, article 28 of the General Health Law would have to be repealed, which is a general observance law, in favor of a local observance law such as the IMSS law, which is only valid for the IMSS. The end of INSABI and Birmex is also proposed for the purposes of the purchase. Here perhaps the proposal would make sense, but they do not argue it clearly either.

UANL Hospital and Roche join forces for lung cancer

And speaking of biomarkers, the University Hospital of the Autonomous University of Nuevo León and the pharmaceutical company Roche announced the alliance to face lung cancer through the implementation of precision medicine. The hospital will help the health system to change the course of the impact of the disease through personalized therapies. The suspicion of lung cancer from this initiative will propose the use of tumor markers as aids to diagnosis and monitoring of treatment.

Panel on health at the Universidad Panamericana

Interesting points that contribute to the debate were discussed in the panel The Health of Health in Mexico, organized by the Universidad Panamericana, specifically the School of Hospitality with its postgraduate area ESDAI. The former undersecretary Pablo Kuri Morales participated; Fernando Villegas, director of Yodzokoo Consulting, and Fernando Méndez Gil, commercial director at HealthCare Systems de México.

Maribel Ramirez Coronel

Journalist on economics and health issues

Health and Business

Communicator specialized in public health and the health industry. She is studying a master’s degree in Health Systems Administration at FCA of UNAM.

Founder in 2004 of, a concept on women’s health. I am passionate about researching and reporting on health, innovation, the industry related to science, and finding the objective business approach to each topic.

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