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Updated 2017-10-30 10:02:57

Gianluca Pettiti pilots Thermo Fisher's drive to revolutionize healthcare through precision medicine

Italian-born Gianluca Pettiti, president of Thermo Fisher Scientific China, a healthcare technology company, believes that in this age of customized this and personalized that, it is perhaps only fitting that the medical practice, which has been somewhat standardized for decades, should also become person-specific, highly precise to meet individual needs.

Such an approach can enable patients to get better treatment and, more importantly, the right treatment. This could save a lot of money for Chinese people, he said.

"Our focus on precision medicine is to create a better diagnostic system, in order to enable doctors to make better choices and help patients to have better outcomes at a lower cost," said Pettiti.

Making that happen is a mission of sorts for the company, which already employs 4,000 staff in the country with headquarters in Shanghai.

Thermo Fisher Scientific specializes in accelerating life science research, solving complex analytical challenges, improving patient diagnostics, delivering medicine to market and increasing laboratory productivity. All this it does in various vertical markets such as environmental protection, food safety, precision medicine, pharma, biopharma and academia.

Precision medicine, he said, is not simply gene sequencing but personalized therapy that uses different treatment protocols for different patients, a method that helps improve the efficiency of diagnosis and treatment.

Without this kind of method, treatments or therapies may become unaffordable for ordinary patients. Besides, they may also be misdiagnosed or prescribed wrong drugs.

"That's why I think Thermo Fisher Scientific is uniquely positioned, because we are operating on the measurement side, and we are helping measure what is important to make the right decision," said Pettiti.

The company's mission is in line with the Chinese government's emphasis on the development of precision medicine.

As early as 2015, President Xi Jinping gave instructions to set up a China Precision Medicine Strategy Experts Team.

In response, the Science and Technology Ministry decided to invest 60 billion yuan ( billion) in the sector by 2030.

"China is developing rapidly. It's our second-largest market worldwide after North America," Pettiti said, adding that Thermo Fisher has a big role to play in helping China's healthcare sector to develop fast.

"We're the right partner for Chinese industry players because Thermo Fisher is a leading company that has relevant technologies cutting across genomics, proteomics and metabolomics," he said.

(Genomics is the study of structure, function, evolution and mapping of genes or genetic material; proteomics is the study of the set of proteins that are in, or can be expressed by, a cell, tissue or organism; and metabolomics is the study of substances called metabolites formed in, or necessary for, metabolism.)

"We created a healthcare ecosystem for our customers-the Thermo Fisher Cloud, a platform that analyzes patients' data collected by its instruments, through big data technology. There are already more than 50,000 users, with more than 25 percent of them coming from China."

The State Council, or China's Cabinet, released a statement on Aug 24 that the country will promote the development and application of big data platforms in the healthcare industry.

Ever since, Thermo Fisher in China has accelerated its cooperation with local governments, hospitals, emerging companies and academia to apply its technology knowhow and international experience to the challenge of developing the precision medicine sector.

In mid-September, Thermo Fisher Precision Medicine Customer Experience Center, opened in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, a year after signing a cooperation agreement with Guangzhou government.

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