Translational Software attended the 2020 PMWC (Precision Medicine World Conference) in Silicon Valley last month. Turnout has grown from when we first attended back in 2012, where all attendees could fit into one conference room. This year, it was held at the Santa Clara Convention Center.
There were about 400 speakers and 200 attendees at this year’s event. The imbalance highlights the number of individuals within our space sharing the same goal for democratizing precision medicine. The biggest takeaway highlighted by our team: While pharmacogenetics has experienced some recent headwinds, the amount of interest displayed by health systems, employer organizations and the vendors who serve them was refreshing and exciting to see and hear.
An Interesting Fireside Chat
There we many great fireside chats and informative showcases outside of pharmacogenetics. It was great to see our friends from Sanford represented on a fireside chat along with Geisinger and the Mayo Clinic and hosted by Justin Kao of Helix. The subject of the free-flowing dialogue, “Moving Genomics to Standard of Care: Scalable Return of Results” was engaging and valuable insights were shared.
When discussing current Sanford patient experience for recalling their own genetic test results, Dr. Hajek recalled, “[they access their test results via] MyChart and currently for pharmacogenetics and they just see star alleles and we get calls and complaints about 'what does this mean' and 'what do I do with this' and actually we get similar calls and complaints from physicians because they don’t know how to interpret star alleles unless they have experience.” Dr. Hajek furthered her discussion point by stating that is why they have built out practice alerts within Epic for their physicians. Sanford’s experience aligns with what we’ve learned in a recent survey we sponsored and conducted with a broad base of clinicians. The survey was performed in support of our upcoming 510(k) submission with the FDA, which our CEO spoke about while at PMWC. It immediately caused a lot of buzz and spurred questions immediately thereafter.
Our CEO Speaks
Don Rule, our CEO, hosted a showcase about “Navigating the Headwinds in the Current Pharmacogenetics Space.” His talk was well-attended and followed a full-day and track devoted to pharmacogenetics. Don hosted a webinar just last week on the same subject and if you missed that you can find a recording of it here. The highlights of both: 2019 proved a difficult environment for PGx with EKRA, CMS/OIG, and the FDA thus contracting current business and creating pause on those interested in implementing PGx but willing to wait until the uncertainty clears. That was only one half of his talk as he then shifted to the maturity we’re now seeing in the space and the broad opportunities that lies ahead for PGx as a whole, but more importantly for TSI, as he highlighted the aforementioned 510(k) submission for FDA approval.
We bumped into many friends, customers, colleagues, and peers at the event and it was great catching up with all of them. The team also interacted with new companies exhibiting at the conference and had an opportunity to listen to new ventures exiting from the Illumina accelerator as they pitched their ideas to interested investors. It was great to hear of the next tranche of entrepreneurs leveraging their respective expertise in one of many segments within this great vertical. Their collective passion for improving health care outcomes was awesome to experience. It was also nostalgia for a time when we launched with the same ambitious goals back in 2009.
The overall theme for PMWC 2020: The future of pharmacogenomics is bright, and the future of precision medicine is enormous.