Fast, flexible and focused: How our partnering strategy embraces innovation


Reg Seeto, MD

This week, we’re heading to the BIO International Convention, one of the largest networking and partnering events for the biotechnology industry. It brings to mind a recent editorial in Science, which made an important plea for everyone to more fully embrace the promise of cutting-edge science.

Why this is important is clear: Patients await cures, and this requires a resolute call for urgency and innovation in the way we develop drugs to treat and prevent disease.

We get this. It’s part of our mission and at the core of how we strive toward innovation every day. One of the unique ways we’re accomplishing this is through a partnering strategy that broadens and accelerates our research efforts, makes us more nimble with greater investigative autonomy, targets those therapeutic areas in greatest need, and creates more opportunities to do amazing science.

We say that our partnering approach is fast, flexible and focused. Over the past couple of years, we’ve taken that concept to heart with a number of collaborations—industry and academic—that are designed to not only lead the early-stage development and commercialization of novel drugs, but also to nurture the talent behind scientific discovery. And, we look for the best science in the world to enable our pipeline. Synergy is our mantra: We develop it internally, but we also explore it externally. And, this is powerful.

With recent acquisitions such as Amplimmune and Spirogen—two oncology-related biotechs—industry collaborations with Immunocore, Amgen, and NGM Biopharmaceuticals; academic partnerships with the University of California, San Francisco, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland Medical System; and a unique postdoctoral initiative with the Brazil Science Without Borders Program, we are charting an aggressive course for the future of science and its impact on both our physical and economic health.

All of these efforts span our key therapeutic areas—oncology; respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity; infectious disease; cardiovascular and metabolic disease—and include translational science; antibody discovery and protein engineering; and biopharmaceutical development.

And, the folks who are involved in making this all happen come from diverse backgrounds. We’re not just people with MBAs who know how to strike a business deal. Our culture at MedImmune is deeply rooted in understanding science, so our partnering team also comprises clinicians and researchers. These individuals are on the frontline of research and medicine and they understand the needs of patients. And, they’re following the science and making those studied leaps that are the basis of identifying successful scientific collaborations—and making important new discoveries.

Perhaps we’re audacious, but more likely we—like many others out there—understand that our efforts come down to developing new therapies that save or improve lives. Doing that requires a bit of mettle, cultivating external partnerships, and shaping a strong vision that advocates for and creates practical and swift solutions for science innovation. That’s good for patients and good for research.