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Evolving challenges presented by cancer’s ability to mutate and resist therapy continue to task scientists to have a more precise understanding of disease biology and explore innovative strategies to effectively overcome these complexities. In Bristol Myers Squibb’s efforts to build upon their legacy in oncology and continue to advance the next generation of cancer therapies, the company has developed a comprehensive multimodal toolbox of assets, spanning numerous modalities, targets and pathways aimed at providing solutions for the biggest questions in cancer.

Confronting the complexities of cancer

Over the last decade, the research community has witnessed unprecedented breakthroughs in cancer care, and more patients are living longer than ever before. Bristol Myers Squibb has been a leader in this cancer crusade for over 50 years, with a deep understanding of disease biology and translational research that has enabled the development of a comprehensive portfolio of transformative therapies in oncology.

This year marks the 10-year anniversary of  the first approved immune checkpoint inhibitor, a pioneering advancement in immuno-oncology that was developed and launched by Bristol Myers Squibb and ushered in a historic era of harnessing the immune system to treat cancer. Checkpoint inhibitors have helped change the cancer treatment landscape for advanced forms of solid tumors, like lung cancer and melanoma, as well as some blood diseases, and are now moving into earlier lines of therapy where they are making an impact on the course of several diseases. Scientists at Bristol Myers Squibb have continued to deliver on this pioneering advancement by optimizing this modality to include dual combinations that have complementary effects to combat cancer. Immune checkpoint inhibitors used in combination have been shown to improve survival rates for patients with metastatic or unresectable melanoma. This has led to approvals of dual blockade of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte–associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) and PD-1 for the treatment of multiple cancers and more recently approval of dual blockade of PD-1 and lymphocyte activation gene-3 (LAG3) in melanoma.

How a multimodal toolbox is enabling a diversified approach to cancer treatment

While we’ve made significant advancements in cancer care that have dramatically impacted disease burden, the scientists at Bristol Myers Squibb remain laser-focused on work still to be done to provide the best outcomes for patients. Experts at Bristol Myers Squibb collaborate across disciplines to investigate anti-cancer mechanisms from all angles, enabled by the use of a multimodal “toolbox.” This unique collection of assets spans multiple modalities, such as immune-oncology therapy, protein degradation, cell therapy, antibody drug conjugates, among others, in key cancer pathways.

“Coupled with Bristol Myers Squibb’s foundational cancer experience, our comprehensive research strategy offers the flexibility to choose among a number of modalities — alone or in combination — based on our understanding of the disease biology, and select the approach most likely to transform current standards of care in cancer. ”

Teri Foy, Senior Vice President, Research & Early Development Immuno-Oncology and Cell Therapy, Bristol Myers Squibb

As a leader in protein degradation, Bristol Myers Squibb is building on its legacy and leveraging one of the most extensive chemical libraries in the world to develop agents with the potential to target biologically validated disease targets across a broader range of diseases. Through translational medicine, we are making precision medicine a reality for more patients by deepening our understanding of disease biology, including advancing research into novel immune-cell engagers capable of redirecting the patient’s immune effector cells toward cancer cells.

Immune cell engagers are an emerging strategic approach in Bristol Myers Squibb’s immunotherapy arsenal. The immune cell engager landscape — which includes both T cell engagers and NK cell engagers — is evolving at a fast pace in both hematologic malignancies and solid tumors, driven by new targets, innovative manufacturing technologies and engagement of different immune cell types.

As part of the company’s commitment to deliver innovative treatments to patients in need, Bristol Myers Squibb is also a leader in cell therapy, which has the potential to revolutionize the way scientists approach blood cancer treatment. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR T) cell therapy is a type of immuno-oncology therapy where a patient’s own T cells are genetically engineered to recognize and bind to proteins found on the surface of certain cancer cells and trigger T cell activation. This is one of several key areas of research at Bristol Myers Squibb. The company has access to one of the largest CAR T product portfolios in the industry and is the only company with two approved CAR T cell therapies in hematologic malignancies, addressing separate blood cancers with two distinct targets: CD19 and BCMA. The company is also exploring ways to make autologous CAR T cell therapies – more efficient, scalable and accessible to a broader patient population through new manufacturing platforms.

Adding novel cancer approaches to the multimodal toolbox

Bristol Myers Squibb’s deep understanding of cancer biology and established knowledge in multiple modalities also pave the way for opportunities with novel cancer targets and unique approaches, such as the fucosyl-GM1 pathway, ILT 4, and melanoma-associated antigen 4 or 8 (MAGEA4/8). For instance, MAGEA4/8 is a highly prevalent antigen in multiple solid tumors and a promising pathway Bristol Myers Squibb is investigating in early Phase 1 studies.

“Our diversified oncology pipeline captures the expansive arsenal of modalities and pathways that offer the best opportunities to deliver transformative treatments to patients with the greatest unmet therapeutic needs.” — Kristen Hege, Senior Vice President, Early Clinical Development, Oncology / Hematology and Cell Therapy

As the pioneer of the first approved immune checkpoint inhibitor, which ushered in a historic era of harnessing the immune system to treat cancer and ignited exploration into the tumor microenvironment, Bristol Myers Squibb remains committed to continuing this exploration to enhance, combine, and add modalities and novel targets to the company’s multimodal toolbox, leading the next wave of innovative cancer drug discovery.