Advancing Cancer Treatment
The Therapeutics Discovery division at MD Anderson was created to eliminate the bottlenecks that hamper traditional drug development.
Our team of more than 100 dedicated cancer researchers, doctors, drug developers and scientific experts develops small molecule drugs, biologics and cellular therapies, inspired by the needs of MD Anderson cancer patients and guided by the expertise of the center’s clinicians. To create life-saving transformational medicines quickly, safely and effectively, Therapeutics Discovery works with unparalleled proximity to patients and an unmatched wealth of clinical experience.
Therapeutics Discovery doesn’t bring the “bench to bedside” – it starts with the bench at the bedside – with each patient and their cancer.
The platforms of Therapeutics Discovery are supported by MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program®.
We have leveraged our unique approach to discover and advance novel small-molecule, biologic and cell-based therapies to answer unmet needs that will improve the lives of our patients.Learn more about our therapeutics pipeline
In the News
Stay up to date on our new collaborations and recent progress.
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Xencor, Inc. today announced a strategic research collaboration and commercialization agreement to develop novel CD3 bispecific antibody therapeutics for the potential treatment of patients with cancer.
This collaboration joins Xencor’s innovative XmAb® technology and protein engineering expertise to create bispecific antibodies with MD Anderson’s expertise in the research and discovery of novel therapeutic antibodies, including the Oncology Research for Biologics and Immunotherapy Translation (ORBIT) platform, part of MD Anderson’s Therapeutics Discovery division.
“Xencor’s modular antibody engineering platform enables the rapid generation of XmAb® bispecific antibodies, and our research collaboration with MD Anderson will further expand the use of our technology to explore novel therapeutic targets, which could result in the creation of new therapies for patients with cancer,” said John Desjarlais, Ph.D., senior vice president and chief scientific officer at Xencor.
T cell-engaging bispecific antibodies are designed to recognize and bind to an antigen on tumor cells as well as an activating receptor on T cells, such as CD3, in order to directly recruit and activate T cells against tumor cells. Xencor’s modular scaffold for engineering bispecific antibodies is the XmAb bispecific Fc domain, which enables the rapid creation of stable antibodies with novel anti-tumor mechanisms of action.
"There is an urgent need to discover new therapeutic targets and to develop antibody-based strategies to trigger an immune response against the tumors that express them," said Dongxing Zha, Ph.D., institute head of the ORBIT platform at MD Anderson. "Xencor's multi-format-capable CD3 bispecific antibody platform enables us to rapidly develop and investigate therapies against intriguing tumor targets, and we look forward to evaluating the first candidates to be engineered as part of this collaboration."
MD Anderson will work to identify and develop potential antibodies, collaborating with Xencor to apply its XmAb bispecific technology to create therapeutic candidates. MD Anderson will then conduct and fund all preclinical activities to advance candidates toward clinical studies.
Xencor has certain exclusive options to license worldwide rights to develop and commercialize potential new medicines arising from the research collaboration. For programs not licensed by Xencor, Xencor will receive a portion of future payments received by MD Anderson. Xencor and MD Anderson are entering into the collaboration with two predetermined, undisclosed antibody candidates.
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Obsidian Therapeutics, Inc. today announced a multi-year strategic collaboration designed to expedite the research and development of novel engineered tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) for the treatment of solid tumors. The agreement pairs Obsidian and its novel cytoDRiVE™ technology platform with MD Anderson’s extensive experience and state-of-the-art capabilities in TIL cell therapy, led by the Biologics Development platform, within the Therapeutics Discovery division.
The collaboration is focused on developing TIL armored with regulated membrane-bound IL15 (referred to as cytoTIL™) with the potential to enhance anti-tumor efficacy and reduce tumor burden in patients suffering from different types of solid tumors. The teams will collaborate to accelerate the development of cytoTIL, including process and analytical development and clinical readiness activities.
“TIL therapy has emerged as a promising option for treating patients with solid tumors, though its widespread use today is limited by safety and efficacy challenges,” said Rodabe Amaria, M.D., associate professor of Melanoma Medical Oncology at MD Anderson. “We are pleased to work with Obsidian to advance their novel cytoTIL program, which has the potential to drive more durable treatment responses and expand TIL therapy to a broader group of our patients.”
The cytoTIL therapy is engineered using Obsidian's cytoDRiVE platform technology, which precisely and reversibly controls protein expression and activity using FDA-approved orally bioavailable drugs. By leveraging regulated membrane-bound IL15 to drive antigen-independent expansion of T cells and transactivation of NK cells, cytoTIL therapy is anticipated to improve patient response to TIL treatment and expand patient eligibility to those who currently cannot benefit from this transformative therapy.
“We are delighted to work with MD Anderson’s Biologics Development team to build upon the success of first generation TIL therapies and bring the first controllable TIL therapy to patients as rapidly as possible,” said Paul Wotton, Ph.D., CEO of Obsidian Therapeutics. “Through its cell therapy research platforms, deep clinical development experience, and industrial manufacturing capabilities, MD Anderson is a best-in-class collaborator to advance and accelerate cutting-edge cell therapies.”
MD Anderson’s Biologics Development
platform is built around an experienced team focused on pioneering
impactful biologic therapeutics, including antibodies and cell
therapies. With a state-of-the-art 60,000 sq. foot GMP cell-therapy
manufacturing facility, the platform joins MD
Anderson expertise with the rigor of industrial development.
Biologics Development offers a strong starting point for early-stage
companies to access the breadth of MD
Anderson capabilities in cell therapy development.
MD Anderson is implementing an Institutional Conflict of Interest Management and Monitoring Plan for any research related to this relationship.
Our Unique Model
We are a drug development engine built within MD Anderson, taking an approach unlike anywhere else. Our experienced teams work collaboratively across industry-scale research platforms to advance new therapies, and we collaborate with leading biopharmaceutical companies to bring new medicines to patients in need.Learn more about our approach