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Genomic Health company was formed in the year 2000 by among other peoples Randy Scott, who was one of the Key founders of the company, it chairman and the CEO. The vision on which Genomic Health was found was to venture in new research areas in the field of biotechnology and gene research with an aim to make a breakthrough in new research findings that would enable personalized medicine that would address challenges faced in management of breast cancer. Earlier on Randy Scott, then as the co-founder of Incyte Corporation has resigned from that company after the board declined his request to commit Incyte Corporation resources in pursuit of personalized medicine research.
After inception of Genomic Health Company, Randy Scott and his team of five other people who shared same vision and were passionate about revolutionizing healthcare began earnestly researching on this field from where he had left during his time at Incyte Corporation. After 3 years of research and a cost of $ 30 million, the company come up with the first of its kind Oncotype DXtm ,a product that would enable to determine the probability of recurrence of breast cancer among patient and therefore provide patients with informed choices on whether to take up chemotherapy treatment after surgery based on their gene makeup.
The fact that Genomic Health was able to launch such a revolutionary product within a short frame of time can be attributed to the Randy Scotts leadership, team vision, availability of financial resources and the wealth of experience and knowledge from the team members. Randy Scott having undertaken initial research in the area during his time at Incyte Corporation meant he has overcome the initial teething problems that would have been associated with the early stages of the research. After Co-founding Genomic Health with fellow researchers Joffre Baker and Steve Shark who were at the time working at another company Genentech, that also carried research in the areas of breast cancer. Randy Scott embarked on recruiting two other researchers equally qualified and experienced.
It is this combination of this team abilities and experience that united to make it possible for Genomic Health to come up with Oncotype DXtm , a product that proved more effective than was initially thought during it pilot clinical trials among cases. It provided the ability of health practitioners for the first time to determine with a huge significance level if breast cancer recurrence was likely to occur among patients. Besides Randy Scott has at the time build up and compiled a database of resource on gene research area that was very helpful at the time of research.
But after the impressive pilot results of Oncotype DXtm product that was very convincing, Genomic Health faced a challenge on how best to introduce the their diagnostic testing in the market at low price, that would enable market penetration and at the same time guarantee return on the costly research process at a reasonable time frame. In light of other competing diagnostic products that were low priced and which were favored by the medical practitioners, Randy Scott and the team knew that Oncotype DXtm product would prove hard introducing and take time before it could be widely used.
Moreover Oncotype DXtm was a new product that was unknown not only to the medical fraternity but also to the population at large who would be the consumers. Perhaps it with this fore sight that has made Randy Scott to recruit Pat Terry to focus on Cancer advocacy community, but even this was not enough to address these market place challenges. In about the same time the government laws that regulated and licensed the diagnostics products were amended to allow products in the market that met and provided evidence of partial trials. This in effect aggravated clustering in market place of diagnostic products that were not necessarily effective but which availability and utilization by the medical personnel was pegged on their low cost.
Other challenges that faced Genomic Health was the need to carry out more clinical trials in order to fully validate the results and ability of Oncotype DXtm product to predict breast cancer recurrence, but clinical trials required time and commitment of additional resources. In pricing of the Oncotype DXtm product the dilemma was in striking the right balance rather than risk low pricing that would compromise return on investment, or high pricing that would shut off most of the potential consumers. Another area was in reimbursement of the usage of the Oncotype DXtm product by the insurance companies who according to the market surveys indicated would contribute to 75% of all income at Genomic Health. It was essential that this concern be addressed due to lack of clear guidelines on the area on what happens when the companies or the patients defaults on payment.
Having looked at all the challenges that faced the launch of Oncotype DXtm it is clear that even with more surveys being carried out in each area to address each challenge would not necessarily provide foolproof evidence or complete data of how the market place will behave once Oncotype DXtm was launched nor will all the parameters that dictate success or failure of the Genomic Health first ever product in the market place, Oncotype DXtm determine if it will succeed or fail. It is my belief that the only way forward of determining how the market will behave is through the launch of Oncotype DXtm and thereafter address all other concerns and challenges as they come through consumer feedback, monitoring of product success, evaluation of patients and continued improvement of the product to address other factors that were had not been foreseen.