Jose-Carlos (JC) Gutiérrez-Ramos, Ph.D., recently joined AbbVie as vice president, discovery.
At AbbVie, JC leads our early scientific efforts and ensures that our pipeline continues to produce innovative treatments for patients.
JC has had a long career in biopharma and science and despite joining AbbVie just prior to the global COVID-19 pandemic taking hold, is executing on a clear vision to drive our pipeline forward.
We sat down with JC to learn what excites him about AbbVie’s early pipeline, his background, and his endeavors outside of the lab.
So you joined AbbVie in early 2020 to lead our Discovery organization. Can you tell us what brought you here?
AbbVie had been on my radar for many years. I had previously worked with AbbVie as a partner and was impressed by the caliber of scientific leadership I saw and the level of science being done here.
I have worked in many different settings – academia, global pharmaceutical companies, biomedicine, smaller biotechs – and as I thought about what I wanted to do next, leading early scientific efforts at AbbVie stood out to me.
As one of the largest biopharmaceutical companies in the world, the work that we do has the potential to impact so many patients. The focus that AbbVie places on science is important to me.
Can you tell us about some of the science being done at AbbVie that you are excited about?
Well of course, top of mind for everyone is science being done to fight COVID-19. We recently began a collaboration with several leading institutions to work on an antibody treatment. We have scientists with years of expertise in virology, biologics and small molecule drug discovery, and it has been amazing to watch them spring into action.
Outside of that, I am impressed with the efforts that we have in targeted protein degradation, or what we call degradomers. Our degradomer platform is focusing on many diverse areas, including protein aggregates that generate cellular toxicity in neurons that result in Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s, mutant proteins that result in cancer, and targets that are not intercellular targets, which are not targetable with conventionally small molecules.
Every scientist I speak with is doing such interesting and amazing work. When I was visiting some labs just the other day, I struck up a conversation with Amanda Paustian, who is a scientist working on new treatments for cancer. Her work is focused on getting rid of cells inside a tumor that prevent the immune system from successfully destroying tumors. Through the removal of these cells, Amanda and her team hope to find a new way to unleash the tumor-specific immune response.