Novartis Research & Development
By Bryan Wright
This is a very unique moment in the history of drug discovery and development. Never before have we had such clarified guidance on disease biology from basic researchers. And never before have we had such powerful therapeutic platforms to innovate the next generation of medicines. If you think about the advances that have been made since the beginning of time, we have only found 1,500 therapies or treatments for the various diseases that are out there. What we’re here for is actually to reimagine medicine. Take CAR-T-cell therapy. A T-cell extracted from a patient, endowed with a gene that doesn’t exist in nature, re-infused to then expand as a living therapy inside a child. Even as a stem cell transplant doctor, I couldn’t of imagined that one could prescribe such a living therapy. I think we’re constantly pushing the boundaries of science to find new medicines for patients. We have one of the largest and richest pipelines in the industry. We’re spread across six therapeutic areas, and we have innovation in multiple advanced therapy platforms. We focus our discovery engine on longstanding challenges, always reaching for the highest hanging fruit. We have great ideas within the walls here at Novartis, but I also think that there’s creative ideas outside of the walls. When you bring together the best of the external world with the internal world, you find the best solutions. Today, innovation is highly democratized, throughout the ecosystem. We therefore need to be a great receptor to biomedical innovation, irrespective of where it germinates. Data science and digital has a critical role to play in advancing developmental drugs. I think we’re at the cusp of making significant advances in terms of drug development, in terms of bringing down costs. And if we can use advanced digital technologies, to guide the more judicious use of our resources, we can make many more medicines and bring them more effectively and quickly to patients. It’s not lost on any of us here at Novartis how special this chance we have to make a meaningful difference for patients at this time. We clearly are re-imagining medicine, there’s so many opportunities out there, and I think that as we fast forward, there’s even more opportunities for us to bring medicines to patients.