As scientific knowledge continues to grow, those in drug discovery and development have more opportunities – and challenges – than ever before. We talked with AbbVie’s Jay Stamatis, vice president and head of business development & acquistions, about the critical role of partnerships and why it’s important to be agnostic when it comes to the source of innovation.
When looking for opportunities to partner or to acquire new compounds, how do you prioritize given the many phases from discovery through development?
A: We’ve made a commitment to patients that we will bring forward new medicines that significantly raise the bar over currently available treatments. We have also made a commitment to shareholders to invest our capital wisely and evaluate how we can best balance risk.
In order to do this, we have to stage our pipeline effectively, which means we look across all development phases and therapeutic areas to determine how to prioritize our investment. And we have to look outside of our walls for programs that best complement our internally-developed innovation. For patients, what matters to them is a new and advanced treatment option, not who first discovered it. That’s why our pipeline is comprised of a mix of partnered and internally-discovered compounds – we look for the best innovation, whether it originated in our own labs or in someone else’s.
Our pipeline and scientific mission are focused on four key areas – immunology, oncology, virology and neuroscience – and those areas guide us as we search for new collaboration programs. In addition, we are open to other areas where we can provide specific expertise. In the earlier phases of discovery and development, we may look at promising areas of biology where new approaches and new drug targets are being identified and investigated.
What role do partnerships and collaborations play in building a pipeline?
A: Our researchers are advancing promising science every day, and we have a number of cutting-edge technologies already in-house. But we prioritize internal investments based on what we have identified as the most important capabilities for us to build ourselves. To augment our efforts, we look outside. Fortunately, there is exciting science happening in drug discovery and development across the world, across all phases – in biotech and pharma companies, in academic labs and, sometimes, even in someone’s basement.