Pfizer executive speaks to Del Mar Solana Beach Rotary about the development of diagnostics for precision medicines

Dr. Hakan Sakul, executive director and head of diagnostics for Pfizer R&D, recently spoke to the Del Mar-Solana Beach Rotary Club about development of diagnostics and precision medicines.

Through many slides of information (without too much jargon), Dr. Sakul educated Rotarians and guests about the long process, high cost, and low success rates for modern drug developments. But, he also pointed out the huge positive impact that genetics research and molecular targeting are having on the development of better diagnostics and increasingly more precise therapeutics.

Dr. Sakul provided examples of treatments to provide increased efficacy and survival rates, including such diseases as leukemia, lymphoma, diabetes, high cholesterol, and several cancers. And, for such improved treatments, improved diagnostic tests also are required. Describing development of a treatment for a small sub-set of lung cancers, he happily pointed out that it took only six years to go from lead compound identification to receiving FDA approval. This was made particularly poignant when he described a patient from the San Diego area who was preparing for death but rapidly recovered after receiving this treatment. As a somewhat humorous side note, he also told the group how Viagra was discovered by accident.

The Del Mar-Solana Beach Rotary Club is one of over 34,000 Rotary Clubs in more than 200 countries that work through collaboration with good fellowship to make communities at home and around the world better places for all. For more information, go to or call Richard Fogg (858-693-7556) or Diane Huckabee (858-794-7399).