On 5 July 2018 Professor Richard Barker, Founder and Director of NMP and the Scientific Director of the programme, presented Personalised Medicine Development Strategy for Healthy Longevity of Kazakhstan Nation to a group of Kazakhstan government representatives, investors and global public policy experts at a special event in Astana.
The development of the project started in 2016 at the instruction of the Head of State of the Republic of Kazakhstan. New Medicine Partners assembled a global team of experts from Oxford University and other research centres to deliver a plan for the creation of a ‘Translation Engine’—an innovation cluster based at Asfendiyarov National Medical University and the National Centre of Biotechnology. The aim of the project is to advance the nation’s efforts at the improvement of health and prosperity of the people of Kazakhstan. The proposed innovation will ensure quicker access for patients to personalised medicine therapies and precision diagnostics, while maintaining international standards of safety and ethics.
Personalised medicine is a new globally emerging approach to treatment, based on molecular-level insights into individual patients' health. International research has demonstrated the potential of such technologies to treat many severe diseases present in Kazakhstan such as cancer (especially lung cancer), heart and cardio-metabolic disease, neurodegenerative disease and antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis.
‘The Government of Kazakhstan places a high priority on applying precision medicine to add years of healthy life to our population. It offers not just better treatments for serious diseases like cancer but also a means to detect and even prevent common non-communicable diseases. With some important regulatory changes to support precision medicine already going through parliament, we are ready to start this promising public-private partnership.’
— Elzhan Birtanov, the Minister of Health
As a part of the national healthcare system reform, the programme will improve and modernise the regulatory base of the Republic by aligning it with innovative drug discovery methods. The International Centre of Expertise and Technology Transfer will bring world’s best biotech companies to conduct the last stage of their development projects in the country.
Professor Barker specified that expertly selected commercially viable development projects will be financially supported by a specially created International Cluster Investment Fund. This proposal follows the initiative of the Head of State to invest strategically in human capital of the Republic to ensure its future prosperity and growth in the competitive global environment.
‘Precision medicine will enable countries and regions to ‘leapfrog’ the problems of traditional developed health systems and extend the healthy lifespan of their populations in a cost-effective manner.'
— Prof. Richard Barker, Founder and Director, New Medicine Partners
At the meeting the government of Kazakhstan was represented by Elzhan Birtanov, the Minister of Healthcare, Marat Beketaev, the Minister of Justice, Erulan Zhamaubayev (Head of Social and Economic Monitoring Department of the Administration of the President) and Erlan Battakov (First Deputy of the Head, Department of Presidential Affairs).
The representatives of the global investors’ community included Chun-ying Leung (vice-president of Interparliamentary Assembly of China, Chairman of the Silk Road Economic Belt Fund, ex-governor of Hong Kong), Maxim Korzhov (Deputy Chairman of the Management Board, Eurasian Development Bank), Wolfgang Petritsch (President, Marshall Plan Foundation), Kanat Dzhumabayev (Executive Director, Foundation of the First President).
The meeting was also attended by internationally renowned state and public policy experts — Alfred Gusenbauer (Chairman of the International Advisory Board of the President, ex-chancellor of Austria), Romano Prodi (Member of the IIAC, ex-Prime Minister of Italy) and Aleksander Kwasniewski (Member of International Advisory Board of the President, ex-President of the Republic of Poland).