Research & Development

Our Approach

Innovation That Leverages Biology and Scale

Our approach to cancer biology unites cutting-edge research models and processes for drug discovery with the scale of a global organization. We are particularly committed to immuno-oncology, a cornerstone of cancer treatments. There is tremendous potential for synergistic combinations of cancer immunotherapies, and for combining cancer immunotherapies with other therapies.

Developing the Medicines of Tomorrow

Innovative R&D requires creativity alongside scientific rigor. Our team of dedicated scientists in biology, chemistry, pharmacology, translational medicine, and clinical science are excited by the challenges of creating tomorrow’s medicines. Their responsibility, as well as their passion, is to help patients worldwide get the therapies they need.

We also find opportunities to actively involve patients and care partners in our research and development process. By gaining perspectives from patients and their care partners, we can build practical learnings into the design of our clinical trials.

Areas of Innovation

Striving to Beat Cancer by Design

We have built an extensive array of novel in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo cancer models to help us better select targets, and to screen and evaluate agents that may have compelling therapeutic potential, alone or in combination. Our discovery engine factors in tumor-immune system interactions and primary tumor biopsies to develop new cancer models. By integrating elements of the human immune system, our cancer models enable us to evaluate potential drug candidates in conditions that mimic cancer at the time of treatment. This is especially significant when drug discovery depends on evaluating multiple combinations and regimens that target specific mutations while simultaneously immobilizing cancer cells’ defenses.

Breakthroughs in gene sequencing and other methods of tumor characterization have elevated the study of cancer to one of specific molecular characteristics—for example, abnormalities in HER2, BRCA, BRAF, ALK and EGFR genes and proteins. The ability to identify specific disease subpopulations through mutations in certain genes and proteins is a critical advancement in oncology, making it possible to develop new treatments that are more effective than ever.

“Rational” drug design, selecting targets based on their observed role in cancer cell growth and survival, has been a cornerstone of our development efforts from the start. It has yielded a number of internally developed, molecularly targeted therapies.

Harnessing the body’s own immune system to fight cancer is a compelling and complex endeavor. Immune checkpoints are molecules on certain immune cells that are activated or inactivated to start an immune response.

Our research and development team focuses on the PD-1/PD-L1 axis, as well as other aspects of tumor-associated immune cells, to develop novel drug candidates that may enhance immune cells’ ability to mount a response against cancer cells. In addition, we are working to identify mechanisms by which tumors evade immune systems and target weak points in the cancer immunity cycle.

Targeted cancer treatments block essential biochemical pathways or mutant proteins that are required for tumor cell growth and survival. Still, other immune mechanisms within the body can impede a patient’s response.

Our R&D team is evaluating combination therapies that target distinct steps of anti-tumor immune response, exploring synergies that could result in stronger and more sustained responses in tumor destruction. We believe that combining immuno-oncology (I-O) agents with targeted treatments may lead to more durable responses and improved survival rates. With an innovative biology-based approach and advanced cancer models built to test I-O combination therapies efficiently, we are working to discover the next generation of cancer treatments.

We continually explore the role of our internally developed drug candidates in combination therapy treatments across oncology.

Pioneering protein degradation with CDACs – learn more.