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 therapies that will improve the lives of our patients. Our partnerships with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies help us to bring these medicines to our patients in need.Learn more about our therapeutic pipeline
Our Research Platforms
Therapeutics Discovery is a unique group of clinicians, researchers and drug development experts working collaboratively to develop small molecule, biologic, and cell-based therapies.
In the News
Stay up to date on our new partnerships and recent progress.
Cellular therapies have emerged as an effective new therapy for patients with certain types of cancer, and MD Anderson has played an important role in advancing these novel treatments to the clinic. With recent agreements, MD Anderson has expanded its manufacturing and research capacity for cell therapies to bring new treatment options to more patients.
This month, MD Anderson finalized an asset purchase agreement with Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Inc., to acquire its 60,000 sq. ft. cellular therapy manufacturing facility in the Texas Medical Center for $15 million. MD Anderson will operate this facility for its own internal programs and strategic partners.
Agreement offers new promise for cellular therapies
This manufacturing facility provides industrial capacity and expertise to accelerate MD Anderson’s cellular therapy efforts toward meaningful clinical advances, explains Jason Bock, Ph.D., vice president of Therapeutics Discovery and head of Biologics Product Development.
“We are excited to leverage this state-of-the-art development and
GMP manufacturing facility to dramatically accelerate
MD Anderson’s cell therapy programs,” says Bock.
The Therapeutics Discovery division is a unique drug discovery and development engine within MD Anderson, created to advance the next generation of impactful cancer medicines. This team of more than 100 researchers, clinicians and drug-development experts work with unmatched clinical insight to develop new therapies, including small molecules, biologics and cellular therapies, to answer unmet medical needs in oncology.
January is National Biotechnology Month, which recognizes the potential of biotechnology innovations to improve the lives of Americans. MD Anderson’s commitment to research, innovation and drug discovery is aligned with this goal and our mission to end cancer.
The Therapeutics Discovery team also works closely with
MD Anderson’s adoptive cell therapy (ACT) platform, which is working to create a variety of novel cellular therapy approaches for treating cancer. The ACT and Therapeutics Discovery platforms are part of the institution’s Moon Shots Program®, a collaborative effort to accelerate the development of scientific discoveries into clinical advances that save patients’ lives.
Bringing cutting-edge natural killer cell and T cell therapies to the clinic
With the support of the Moon Shots Program and ACT platform, Katy Rezvani, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, developed MD Anderson’s chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified natural killer (NK) cell therapy platform.
In November 2019, MD Anderson announced an exclusive license agreement and research agreement with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company to develop four CAR NK therapies. With continued support from the ACT platform and Therapeutics Discovery teams, MD Anderson will work with Takeda to bring the lead CAR NK therapy into pivotal clinical trials in 2021.
The ACT platform also is working to advance endogenous T-cell therapy, pioneered by platform co-leader Cassian Yee, M.D., professor of Melanoma Medical Oncology. This work has initiated several early-phase clinical trials as well as the launch of Immatics US, Inc., which is focused on developing a variety of T-cell therapies.
Additionally, Sattva Neelapu, M.D., and Michael Wang, M.D., both professors of Lymphoma & Myeloma, lead pivotal trials investigating the use of CD19 CAR T cells for treating large B cell lymphoma and mantle cell lymphoma, respectively, demonstrating the clinical expertise in novel cell therapies within MD Anderson.
“By synergizing the cell therapy research platforms and depth of clinical development experience with our newly acquired industrial capabilities, MD Anderson has created an unrivaled end-to-end engine to bring the most cutting-edge therapeutics from the lab to patients who need them,” says Bock.
Refer a patient to MD Anderson online or by calling 1-877-632-6789.
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Artios Pharma Limited and ShangPharma Innovation today announce the in-licensing by Artios of a small-molecule ATR inhibitor program, developed jointly by MD Anderson and ShangPharma.
Under the agreement, Artios has exclusive rights to research, develop, manufacture and commercialize products globally. The lead candidate is expected to be ready for Investigational New Drug (IND) application by the second half of 2020.
“This program has the potential to be a highly effective DNA damage response (DDR) targeted treatment in cancer. We look forward to advancing the work done by MD Anderson and ShangPharma for the benefit of cancer patients,” said Dr. Niall Martin, chief executive officer at Artios Pharma. “The addition of the ATR programe further supports our position as a leader in the DDR space and strengthens our growing portfolio of assets, which includes a leading Polθ program, currently in candidate IND evaluation, and a large discovery stage platform of novel DNA repair nuclease inhibitors.”
The ATR inhibitor program is the result of an extensive collaboration between MD Anderson’s Therapeutics Discovery team and ShangPharma. Therapeutics Discovery is a multidisciplinary team created within MD Anderson to advance the next generation of cancer therapies to answer unmet oncology needs.
“Targeting DNA damage repair has the potential to provide an important therapeutic option for many patients in need of new treatments,” said Philip Jones, Ph.D., vice president of Therapeutics Discovery at MD Anderson. “We are pleased Artios will leverage its unique expertise in this field to advance this novel therapy toward the clinic to improve outcomes for cancer patients.”
ATR is an important signalling protein in DNA double strand break repair and replication stress. Through inhibition of ATR, tumors bearing an ATM deficiency can be selectively killed through a concept known as synthetic lethality. High levels of ATM mutations and protein loss have been characterised across many different tumor types, creating a significant opportunity for ATR inhibitors clinically. Based on clinical observations at MD Anderson, Therapeutics Discovery engaged with ShangPharma and its affiliate, ChemPartner, to develop small-molecule inhibitors of the DDR that could benefit patients across multiple cancer types.
“We are proud of the entire collaboration team, including ChemPartner, led by Sarah Lively, Ph.D., vice president of Innovation and New Technologies, for advancing the programe from early-stage research to formal drug discovery and development,” said Walter Moos, Ph.D., chief executive officer of ShangPharma. “We are pleased to transition this important program to the capable development team at Artios, and we hope this ultimately provides an impactful therapy for those afflicted with cancer.”