Wednesday, August 17, 2011

One-on-One with Roche Molecular Diagnostics' Paul Brown

In the personalized medicine revolution, Roche Molecular Diagnostics is positioned to be the major arms supplier.
The Pleasanton-based unit of Swiss drug maker Roche developed, for example, a diagnostic test that helped Berkeley drug maker Plexxikon find melanoma patients who had a specific genetic mutation for clinical trials. Targeting those skin cancer patients using RMD’s test helped Plexxikon accelerate its trials and show strong results.
RMD and Roche-owned Genentech , which is marketing the drug, on Wednesday won Food and Drug Administration approval of the drug and the companion diagnostic.
What’s more, RMD is central to Roche’s mandate that the development plan for every therapeutic include a companion diagnostic or biomarker.
Paul Brown, a 25-year veteran of Roche’s pharma division, about 14 months ago joined RMD as CEO. He oversees about 500 people at the Pleasanton site as well as 170 or so at a facility outside Zurich.
Brown sat down with me last month to talk about the company’s efforts, the FDA and the role of diagnostics in improving health care.

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