Medical College of Wisconsin Spins Off Pharmacogenetics Testing Company

October 17, 2016
Medical College of Wisconsin Spins Off Pharmacogenetics Testing Company
Source: WALTER ZERLA/Getty Images

The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) has launched a new spin-off precision medicine company called RPRD (Right Person Right Drug) Diagnostics. RPRD is a comprehensive pharmacogenetics service for testing patients’ genomes with the aim of providing doctors with actionable information to enable precision medicine.

The company, based in Milwaukee, will develop tests in its CLIA-certified laboratory to run on a next-generation microarray platform and other technologies. The aim is to provide healthcare organizations with vital information on the genomic variations of their patients that can help doctors and clinicians choose the most appropriate therapies based on efficacy and potential side effects. As part of its offering, RPRD will provide services to help interpret the screening data and help integrate this information within providers' electronic medical record (EMR) systems.

The company was founded by Ulrich Broeckel, M.D., a professor of pediatrics, medicine, and physiology at MCW. He will serve as RPRD’s first CEO.

“Over the past decade, there have been major advances in pharmacogenetics, improving our understanding of how genetics can contribute to an individual's response to a drug,” said Dr. Broeckel. “Unfortunately, these advances have not been widely implemented due to the high cost and narrow scope of currently available tests.”

RPRD is looking to change that dynamic by leveraging new technologies—developed both in house and from partner companies—that greatly reduce the cost per variant. The company's flagship service, Pharmacoscan, provides genomic testing and clinical analysis across thousands of variants, which RPRD says will be competitively priced with single-gene tests.

In addition, the company will develop custom panels for clinics based on their medical specialty, and will also develop specific panels to aid organizations conducting clinical trials. RPRD can also conduct research to develop new tests for novel variants.

According to Dr. Broeckel, the company will aid healthcare providers deliver on the promise of precision medicine, and its testing services can be a vital tool to help improve patient outcomes by providing the most appropriate medications.

“I am convinced that RPRD Diagnostics will bring important new clinical insights to the care of patients,” said William Clarke, M.D., director of research commercialization and part of the Office of Technology Development at MCW. “This company, along with our prior spin-off companies, shows the deep expertise that MCW has in genetics.”