Exploring pathways in immune-mediated diseases to advance patient care
Alyssa Johnsen, vice president and head of clinical development, Immunology and Fibrosis, shares her perspective on the great strides that have been made in the science of modulating the body’s immune response to treat disease. Alyssa started her career as a physician-scientist, where she was focused on understanding the pathophysiology of complex autoimmune diseases. During her career, Alyssa has contributed to advances that have helped deepen the understanding of common immune pathways, enabling rapid innovation and pipeline advancement. At Bristol Myers Squibb, Alyssa is contributing to the pursuit of pathbreaking science to elevate care for patients with immune-mediated diseases.
Our pathway-driven approach
The idea of using one drug to treat many diseases is not entirely new. Historically, therapeutics like immunosuppressants or steroids have been used broadly across many immune-mediated diseases. However, what has changed is our understanding of the key driving pathways involved in certain diseases, and how those pathways are common across different diseases. Deep understanding of disease-driving pathways facilitates the development of targeted therapies that can be applied across multiple diseases.
Over two decades ago, researchers at Bristol Myers Squibb pioneered the science of specifically modulating the body’s immune response by developing new medicines. Today, Bristol Myers Squibb continues this work through identifying mechanisms that may help the body control inflammation, reset the immune system and promote balance in the immune response, with the goal of achieving long-term remission and, ultimately, curative therapies. This approach is made possible by our deep pathway knowledge, allowing the exploration of targets whose modulation may result in the treatment of multiple immune-mediated diseases.
The pursuit of pathbreaking science
Bristol Myers Squibb is employing a pathway-driven approach across the field of immunology. Driven by a deep understanding of common immune pathways, we are working to deliver meaningful solutions that address unmet needs in rheumatology, gastroenterology, dermatology and neurology.
Our efforts span multiple key pathways implicated in immune-mediated diseases, including:
- Tyrosine kinase 2 (TYK2)
- Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P)
- Interleukin 13 (IL-13)
Investigation of these various pathways is grounded in the premise of going after the right target for the right disease and even disease subset, allowing very focused drug development efforts. We take an iterative and progressive approach by constantly learning from our research in the lab and in our clinical trials, fueling a deep understanding of critical pathways and how they impact the body’s immunologic and inflammatory response.
Fueling progress across the pipeline
It is a very exciting time to be working in clinical development, especially as a physician-scientist, as we look forward to the possibilities of novel therapeutics and therapeutic approaches.
We continue to build upon our knowledge to fuel progress across the Bristol Myers Squibb pipeline by both maximizing the possibilities of our established pathway programs as well as identifying new pathways and novel targets. These efforts are more important than ever as we advance our understanding of the causes of disease progression across patient subsets and understand the potential of personalized approaches to medicine.
This work drives us forward with one goal in mind: enabling the acceleration of the next wave of immune modulators that can be developed as innovative medicines for patients.