Our Research Efforts

March 09, 2021

Bristol Myers Squibb is proactively taking steps to promote public health and carry out our mission of providing life-saving medicines to patients. We are helping to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and delivery of diagnostics and treatments for COVID-19. 

We have a global exclusive license to develop, manufacture and commercialize Rockefeller University’s novel monoclonal antibody (“mAb”) duo treatment that neutralizes the SARS-CoV-2 virus for therapy or prevention of COVID-19. The preclinical data suggest that this could enable effective treatment against multiple variants of the virus using a low dose subcutaneous administration, which would increase access to the medicine globally by eliminating the need for intravenous infusion. 

We are also participating in several cross-industry groups and public-private partnerships designed to foster collaboration and coordinate industry response efforts. We are one of 15 companies participating in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator to identify concrete actions to accelerate treatments, vaccines, and diagnostics. As part of this effort, Bristol Myers Squibb has identified more than 1,000 proprietary compounds to be made available to collaborators with high-quality assays, to screen for possible molecules to treat COVID-19.

Bristol Myers Squibb organized and is leading a COVID-19 Testing Industry Consortium with 18 other healthcare companies that aims to inform, improve, innovate, and accelerate various aspects of testing for COVID-19, ranging from research to clinical diagnostic applications. 

While many patients are able to clear COVID-19 with few complications, some experience an inflammatory immune response that manifests as a “cytokine storm,” where pro-inflammatory cytokines and activated immune cells may lead to compromised organ function, including lung injury and/or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). 

We have evaluated compounds in our portfolio that could be included in near-term clinical trials with a focus on agents that may have an impact on this immune response, and this research is advancing as company-sponsored and investigator-sponsored trials under the leadership of a Bristol Myers Squibb cross-functional team focused on advancing this science with urgency. 

Bristol Myers Squibb initiated a proof-of-concept clinical trial assessing the safety and efficacy of abatacept in hospitalized patients with COVID-19. The trial is currently enrolling.

In addition, Bristol Myers Squibb is part of the Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) initiative, a collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Foundation for NIH (FNIH), as well as a number of other industry, not-for-profit, and public health organizations, to develop a national strategy for coordinated COVID-19 research response. As part of this initiative, Bristol Myers Squibb is donating doses of apixaban and abatacept to NIH Phase 3 clinical trials funded through Operation Warp Speed assessing potential treatments for patients with COVID-19.

Finally, Bristol Myers Squibb is involved in a consortium of companies that is focused on sharing data and identifying molecules with the strongest scientific rationale for investigating with clinical trials, and accelerating them into studies. There are currently five working groups and two platform groups, including a clinical phase repurposing group led by Bristol Myers Squibb’s Head of Research and Early Development, Rupert Vessey, working to start a large platform study with multiple drugs from participant companies. The consortium began as a collaboration between Bristol Myers Squibb, Takeda, 5AM, and Versant, and quickly grew to a larger group of pharma, biotech, and venture capital leaders.

Our contributions to COVID-19 research reflect collaborative and productive discussions internally and with the broader life sciences community about how we can have the greatest impact given our company’s areas of strength, and we will continue to engage in this way in order to support the significant and rapid effort underway as the science evolves.

This page originally posted on November 2, 2020 and was most recently updated on March 9, 2021.

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