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Author: Pankaj Sali, Principal Consultant, SAP Life sciences, Infosys Ltd.


Imagine if someone had terminal cancer and he could have medicine created specifically for him that would provide exactly what his body needs to heal. It’s possible, and it’s already happening.

It’s called personalized medicine, and it’s changing the world one patient at a time.

Personalized medicine is the emerging practice of using a patient’s genetic and molecular profile to produce targeted cell and gene therapies, treatments, or medicines tailored to their individual health needs. It combines genomics and big data analytics to determine specific requirements for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease.


How is personalized medicine possible?

Personalized medicine is usually considered a viable option once all traditional methods of treatment have been attempted without success. This means that patients are usually at a critical stage in treatment with few or no other options available to them. At this stage, timing is critical, and there is no room for error, so the creation of personalized medicine must be as quick and accurate as possible.

This involves a comprehensive business process that includes:

  • Taking blood and plasma samples from a patient

  • Transporting the samples through a cold supply chain logistics provider

  • Analyzing the samples to determine the drug properties required

  • Manufacturing the individualized drug

  • Shipping the drug back through the logistics cold chain

  • Infusing the medicine into the patient (at one or multiple appointments)

Each of these steps involves various key players, including healthcare providers and payers, laboratories, cold chain logistics suppliers, transportation providers, and cryogenic drug manufacturers. All of these moving parts need to work in unison in order to go through the entire process and get the specialized drug back to the critical care patient within 21-28 days.

This requires zero tolerance for error, so advanced technology solutions using chain-of-identity IoT and blockchain technology ensure that each specialized drug gets back to the right patient.


The big pharma mind shift

The promise of personalized medicine also involves a huge mind-shift in the pharmaceutical industry, according to a recent webinar with Infosys and SAP.

“For our pharmaceutical manufacturers, it's not going to be an easy shift,” said Vivek Ruikar, Vice President at Infosys during the webinar. “There is a massive mindset that needs to change. Today, everyone is used to manufacturing in bulk. Tomorrow, you have to manufacture for the batch size of one individual patient. So that's what this solution is about to address is this new upcoming art of the possible requirement, which has been made feasible by various technology advances.”


Technology makes personalized medicine possible now

According to the webinar, three technology advances have made personalized medicine more accessible in the life sciences sector:

  1. Advanced analytics: the ability to quickly process an immense volume of data allows scientists to analyze genome-level data for an individual patient to determine what modifications are required.

  2. Democratization of cryogenic manufacturing: Making cryogenic manufacturing practices more accessible enables pharmaceutical manufacturers to scale capabilities up or down.

  3. IoT, mobile, and robotic process automation (RPA): The combination of these three advanced technologies allows active management of the end-to-end supply chain logistics.


The promise of personalized medicine

Advanced technology is making the promise of personalized medicine achievable.

Infosys is working with SAP using S/4HANA and SAP Cloud solutions to manage all of the important aspects of personalized medicine business process, from patient management to logistics, and manufacturing to regulatory compliance.

“All the functionality is addressed through an SAP suite of offerings,” said Vivek. “The front end for the patient and various providers is provided by SAP Cloud Platform (SCP), the core logistics supply chain manufacturing is delivered by S/4HANA, and all analytics and reporting is delivered by SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC).”

Watch this informative webinar for more details on the Infosys SAP Personalized Medicine solution.