Wauwatosa pharmacogenetics company forms international partnership

Profiles in Innovation

In September, Wauwatosa-based RPRD Diagnostics LLC formed a unique strategic partnership with South Korean firm Orient Bio. The partnership will advance RPRD’s genetic research pertaining to testing on a commonly-used pediatric leukemia drug.

“It is an interesting partnership, and unique for an early-stage company to move so quickly into international markets,” said Dr. Ulrich Broeckel, founder and chief executive officer of the company.

Amy Turner, director of test development, and Rachel Lorier, director of laboratory operations, work with RPRD’s
eGel Imager.
Credit: Maredithe Meyer

RPRD, which stands for Right Patient Right Drug, specializes in pharmacogenetic testing, the branch of pharmacology concerned with the role genetic factors play in reactions to specific drugs.

Founded in 2016 as a spinoff from the Medical College of Wisconsin, the company strives to provide health care organizations with low-cost access to this type of testing for application in precision medicine and clinical decision-making.

Ultimately, according to Broeckel, the company hopes to improve therapeutic outcomes, increase patient satisfaction and lower overall cost by eliminating a trial-and-error approach to treatment.

The reason the partnership with Orient Bio is valuable pertains to research RPRD has conducted surrounding a commonly used chemotherapy drug, Broeckel said.

Broeckel

“Our initial testing, which will continue, indicates that there may be a genetic variant among Asian and non-Caucasian patients which makes them more susceptible to toxic effects of the drug,” Broeckel said.

The end result, according to Broeckel, is a need for an adjustment in dosing.

There’s a significant opportunity in the U.S., as well as in the South Korean market, for health professionals to identify those variants ahead of time, he added.

Orient Bio, founded in 1959, produces and supplies catalog products for the biotechnology industry, including animal models, laboratory supplies and medical equipment. It also provides pre-clinical services for drug development, including genetic testing.

Right now, the two companies are working collaboratively to determine the best channels to bring RPRD’s technology to market in South Korea’s single-payer system, Broeckel said.

“For any test to be successful in a single-payer system, there has to be a path forward to reimbursement,” he said. “We’ve already had the necessary conversations with the appropriate players. Orient Bio is very interested in expanding this, and we’re working together to determine what that looks like, exactly.”

Broeckel sees significant opportunity to expand the testing in South Korea, other Pacific regions, as well as throughout the United States.

Health care providers are faced with an almost impossible challenge when selecting drugs and drug combinations from multiple classes of medications available for treatment, Broeckel said.

“Even when certain genetic factors are known to influence drug efficacy, patient genotyping is very rarely used because of the high cost and narrow scope of traditional tests,” he said.

RPRD provides a cost-effective comprehensive pharmacogenetic analysis that integrates with a system’s electronic medical records to aid in decision support.

RPRD works with health care organizations to meet them where they are, Broeckel said. “Most are interested in the technology, but they don’t know where to start. We can work with them to discuss possible patient subgroups that would really benefit from the technology, cancer patients, cardiovascular patients, adults, pediatrics and even neurology,” he said.

The company also consults with them on interpretation and complexity of the results, how to order and bill for specific tests, and even what kind of IT support is needed for integration into existing EMR systems.

“We certainly work with each of our clients on their different interests and preferences and try to tailor our solutions to their specific needs,” Broeckel said.

Broeckel admits that genetics is really just one piece of the puzzle when finding the right treatment combination for patients, but the technology touches all areas and reaches into all specialties.

“There are applications for the technology in all aspects of treatment,” Broeckel said. “From a patient standpoint, we see incredible opportunity to tailor treatment ahead of time to not only avoid complications and adverse effects, but just to provide better treatment that could potentially work faster for any particular patient.”

In September, Wauwatosa-based RPRD Diagnostics LLC formed a unique strategic partnership with South Korean firm Orient Bio. The partnership will advance RPRD’s genetic research pertaining to testing on a commonly-used pediatric leukemia drug.

“It is an interesting partnership, and unique for an early-stage company to move so quickly into international markets,” said Dr. Ulrich Broeckel, founder and chief executive officer of the company.

Amy Turner, director of test development, and Rachel Lorier, director of laboratory operations, work with RPRD’s
eGel Imager.
Credit: Maredithe Meyer

RPRD, which stands for Right Patient Right Drug, specializes in pharmacogenetic testing, the branch of pharmacology concerned with the role genetic factors play in reactions to specific drugs.

Founded in 2016 as a spinoff from the Medical College of Wisconsin, the company strives to provide health care organizations with low-cost access to this type of testing for application in precision medicine and clinical decision-making.

Ultimately, according to Broeckel, the company hopes to improve therapeutic outcomes, increase patient satisfaction and lower overall cost by eliminating a trial-and-error approach to treatment.

The reason the partnership with Orient Bio is valuable pertains to research RPRD has conducted surrounding a commonly used chemotherapy drug, Broeckel said.

Broeckel

“Our initial testing, which will continue, indicates that there may be a genetic variant among Asian and non-Caucasian patients which makes them more susceptible to toxic effects of the drug,” Broeckel said.

The end result, according to Broeckel, is a need for an adjustment in dosing.

There’s a significant opportunity in the U.S., as well as in the South Korean market, for health professionals to identify those variants ahead of time, he added.

Orient Bio, founded in 1959, produces and supplies catalog products for the biotechnology industry, including animal models, laboratory supplies and medical equipment. It also provides pre-clinical services for drug development, including genetic testing.

Right now, the two companies are working collaboratively to determine the best channels to bring RPRD’s technology to market in South Korea’s single-payer system, Broeckel said.

“For any test to be successful in a single-payer system, there has to be a path forward to reimbursement,” he said. “We’ve already had the necessary conversations with the appropriate players. Orient Bio is very interested in expanding this, and we’re working together to determine what that looks like, exactly.”

Broeckel sees significant opportunity to expand the testing in South Korea, other Pacific regions, as well as throughout the United States.

Health care providers are faced with an almost impossible challenge when selecting drugs and drug combinations from multiple classes of medications available for treatment, Broeckel said.

“Even when certain genetic factors are known to influence drug efficacy, patient genotyping is very rarely used because of the high cost and narrow scope of traditional tests,” he said.

RPRD provides a cost-effective comprehensive pharmacogenetic analysis that integrates with a system’s electronic medical records to aid in decision support.

RPRD works with health care organizations to meet them where they are, Broeckel said. “Most are interested in the technology, but they don’t know where to start. We can work with them to discuss possible patient subgroups that would really benefit from the technology, cancer patients, cardiovascular patients, adults, pediatrics and even neurology,” he said.

The company also consults with them on interpretation and complexity of the results, how to order and bill for specific tests, and even what kind of IT support is needed for integration into existing EMR systems.

“We certainly work with each of our clients on their different interests and preferences and try to tailor our solutions to their specific needs,” Broeckel said.

Broeckel admits that genetics is really just one piece of the puzzle when finding the right treatment combination for patients, but the technology touches all areas and reaches into all specialties.

“There are applications for the technology in all aspects of treatment,” Broeckel said. “From a patient standpoint, we see incredible opportunity to tailor treatment ahead of time to not only avoid complications and adverse effects, but just to provide better treatment that could potentially work faster for any particular patient.”

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