Proud of Our Stripes

By Michael Rinaldo, Executive Vice President, General Manager — April 7, 2015

We tend to think of healthcare at the broadest levels. We speak of pandemics, epidemics and outbreaks. We search for trends, look for common causes and amass epidemiological data. Screenings, by nature, assess the benefit of early detection on populations, not individuals. Vaccines, as we should all well know by now, are meant to protect the masses. And for decades, drug development — and by extension clinical trials — focused mostly on large, diverse populations in search of benefit for the most people possible.

In many instances, these efforts have been wildly successful; just look at the drop in cardiovascular-related mortality since the advent of cholesterol-lowering statins. Yet the tide is now slowly turning, as the community’s attention shifts toward precision, targeted therapies and personalized medicine. Perhaps this evolution is best exemplified by the number of recently approved specialty drugs — those that cater to small patient populations. In 2014, for instance, 15 of the 41 drugs approved by the FDA were for rare conditions or orphan diseases, continuing a recent trend in increased focus on rare diseases.1 Or, looked at another way, the FDA received 440 new requests for orphan drug designations in 2014, more than double the amount the agency received just seven years ago.2 Increasingly, differences matter.

At dna, we revel in this sea change. We know every patient is different; every disease is different; every therapy, every breakthrough and every cure is different. We know that the companies who use science to change lives are as different as what they make.

With the launch of our blog here on the dna newsroom, we’re excited to initiate a forum where we can apply this point of view to the latest news and trends in the healthcare and public relations industries. Our goal is to be thought-provoking and informative. We expect a variety of topics to prompt lively discussion — from the impact of new regulatory guidance and the role of public policy in expanding access to healthcare, to best practices in navigating social media in the healthcare space and the latest tools to help people manage their treatment.

Over the coming months, our contributors will tackle topics like these as well as yet-unknown issues that will profoundly impact healthcare and its communication.

From New York to London to Shanghai, our global network will be blogging on stories of interest. You’ll hear from our leadership team and our broader staff as they apply their unique expertise and point of view to their topic of choice.

We look forward to adding our voice to the conversation, showing just how “as different as you” we can be.


1. http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20150103/NEWS/30103994

2. http://blogs.fda.gov/fdavoice/index.php/2015/02/rare-diseases-at-fda-a-successful-year-for-orphan-products/