Bristol-Myers Squibb: Research and Development
Research and Development: A Focus on Unmet Medical Needs

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s R&D efforts seek to address important unmet medical needs across a number of disease and therapeutic areas, including areas of special concern in the developing world.

  • Bristol-Myers Squibb has been committed to the fight against HIV/AIDS for more than 20 years, developing medicines to treat the disease, partnering with the HIV community to support people living with HIV/AIDS, improving access to medicines, and supporting disease education efforts. We have a strong vision for continuing to transform the treatment of HIV to fulfill unmet medical needs and invest heavily in identifying and pursuing the most promising compounds that will improve treatments and deliver true advances to patient care. Our current HIV development pipeline includes compounds aimed at multiple targets. We also have several compounds in preclinical development.
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb also continues to invest in the further development of our approved HIV medicines through clinical trials and through innovations including simplified treatment regimens.
  • We are researching pediatric applications of our HIV medicines in collaboration with the Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group.
  • Senior R&D leadership continues to actively participate in the ongoing Civil Society Dialogue on HIV Access as well as the Forum for Collaborative HIV Research.
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb is researching ways to transform the treatment of hepatitis B in pursuit of a goal of serologic cure and finite therapy.
  • In hepatitis C (HCV), our primary goal is to reduce the disease burden by increasing cure rates (SVR-suppression of viral replication) across all genotypes. We take a multipronged approach aimed at establishing a new standard of care with a focus on increasing efficacy, reducing dose, limiting toxicities, addressing barriers to treatment, and shortening treatment duration.
  • Our HCV pipeline includes multiple agents with diverse mechanisms of action. These include direct acting anti-virals such as our NS5A replication complex inhibitor, an NS3 protease inhibitor, an NS5B polymerase inhibitor and PEG-interferon lambda (a type III interferon).
  • We also collaborate with other biopharmaceutical companies to improve care, combining Bristol-Myers Squibb clinical assets with other clinical stage and marketed HCV therapies to identify better treatment options for patients.
  • In addition, we are seeking to identify the basic hepatitis C genotype that exists in the Chinese population to better target potential new therapies for local patient populations.
  • An oncology compound in late stage development is being developed for possible use in liver cancers. Such diseases are of particular concern in India and China, as Asia’s higher rates of hepatitis B and C often result in infections that advance from liver cirrhosis to liver cancer.
  • Our aim in Asia is to create a clinical development program specific to Asian needs. An important focus of this effort involves conducting clinical studies in Asia, and formulating drug development and commercialization strategies informed by an understanding and appreciation of Asian treatment practices. This requires gaining a better understanding of the epidemiology of the disease in the region through various study programs. A program, Bridge, is enrolling tens of thousands of people in non-interventional studies across China to better understand how liver cancer is now diagnosed and treated. Similar studies are underway in Russia and Romania, where liver disease is also of increasing concern.
  • R&D is also involved in earlier studies around gastric cancers, which are more prevalent in Asia than in the U.S. or Europe. And to address large numbers of smokers in China as well as in Central and Eastern Europe, the company is making a concerted effort to review how its expertise in immuno-oncology may help in developing new treatments for lung cancer.
  • According to the World Diabetes Foundation, India has the world’s largest diabetes population – some 50 million people. China is next, with more than 43 million. About 70 percent of the world’s diabetes cases occur in low- and middle-income countries, according to the World Diabetes Foundation. Yet in developing countries, fewer than half of those with diabetes are even diagnosed. Bristol-Myers Squibb is working to develop new therapies to help meet these critical needs.
  • Also, many researchers believe some Asian populations may exhibit a unique metabolic makeup leading to impaired glucose tolerance that may predispose them to type 2 diabetes. To help, the company has introduced its newest diabetes drug in India and has another in late stage development.
Neglected Tropical Diseases
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb is working with the Gates Foundation in looking at new translational medicine support for neglected tropical diseases. READ MORE...
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb is active across a number of fronts in immunoscience, including developing compounds to help prevent rejection of transplants and providing advanced biologic therapies for rheumatoid arthritis. In developing nations, active clinical trials sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb are currently ongoing in transplantation and rheumatoid arthritis in Brazil, India and Russia.
R&D Infrastructure/Collaborations
Bristol-Myers Squibb has made major investments in building R&D infrastructure and capacity in the developing world, including in India, China, Brazil and Russia.
  • India: Biocon Bristol-Myers Squibb Research Center (BBRC) is a Bristol-Myers Squibb R&D center for Drug Discovery and Development in Bangalore, India with approximately 450 scientists. BBRC evolved from a simple outsourcing model started with Biocon in 1997 to a major strategic R&D site for Bristol-Myers Squibb in emerging markets where new innovative medicines are discovered and developed for global diseases. The center possesses capabilities in Medicinal Chemistry, Biology, Pharmaceutical Development, Pharmacology, Toxicology and Targeted Medicines. The center is well recognized for its innovative, entrepreneurial and vibrant culture and is making a significant impact on R&D productivity in Bristol-Myers Squibb. The center has also taken the lead in shaping the scientific environment in India through a variety of initiatives including organizing and supporting scientific seminars, symposiums and training to researchers and by providing research fellowships and grants to students in eminent academic institutions.
  • India: We have clinical trials underway in diabetes, chronic myelogenous leukemia and liver disease, and expect additional trials in diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, liver cancer and cardiovascular disease over the next several years.
  • China: Bristol-Myers Squibb’s R&D organization is continuing to expand its capacity in China. Five years ago, the R&D organization had about 30 employees there. Today it’s about 120. That number is expected to grow further over the next few years as Bristol-Myers Squibb continues to invest in biopharmaceutical research and development in China. These R&D efforts are aimed at providing innovative, high-quality medicines that address the unmet medical needs of patients with serious diseases, with a focus on disease areas of special concern to the region, such as liver disease.
  • China: The company has concluded a number of partnership agreements with pharmaceutical companies in Asia (China and Singapore) for developing early stage compounds. Bristol-Myers Squibb also continues to locally manufacture a number of innovative products through its SASS joint venture in Shanghai, including products for hepatitis B and diabetes.
  • Early Stage R&D Discovery and Development: Along with full development programs in hepatitis, HIV, oncology and immunoscience, the company’s R&D group has a number of earlier stage programs in discovery and development around diseases and therapeutic areas of particular concern in the developing world. Click here for a chart that updates areas of significant exploration, particularly in parts of the developing world.
The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has established a program: Discovering New Therapeutic Uses for Existing Molecules ( Bristol-Myers Squibb is one of eight pharmaceutical companies which have contributed a total of 58 molecules to jump-start a pilot program ( Bristol-Myers Squibb has contributed three molecules to the pilot program: pexacerfont (CRF1 receptor antagonist), BMS-820132 (glucokinase activator), and BMS-830216 (MCH receptor-1 antagonist).

NCATS has solicited research proposals from researchers at academic medical centers to identify new therapeutic uses for these molecules. All of the molecules selected for the pilot program have advanced to clinical studies, but were not pursued for their original therapeutic indication. They have an appropriate safety profile to enable further clinical investigation to explore other potential therapeutic uses. Grants from NCATS will provide research funding to the academic medical centers. Each pharmaceutical company will contribute to the program by providing information about its drugs as well as supplying the drugs for both preclinical and clinical studies. If a research project succeeds in identifying a new therapeutic use for the compound, the pharmaceutical company collaborator will have the first option to license the biomedical research partners’ new intellectual property (IP) arising out of the research. In cases where the pharmaceutical company collaborator owns active patents on a molecule, they will decide whether to advance the molecule through further clinical studies to commercialize the new indication or to enable another company to do so.

May 2013


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