The Translational Research group plays a crucial role in guiding the generation of promising therapeutic molecules and moving them into the drug pipeline.
GNF has one primary goal: generating new drug candidates. The Institute’s symbiotic relationship with others within Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research (NIBR) sets the stage for GNF’s promising therapeutic molecules to move into the drug pipeline. GNF’s Translational Research group which includes physician-scientists, pathologists and toxicologists serve a key role in this process.
The group helps to gauge risks associated with certain therapeutic concepts. It also informs how GNF focuses its resources on specific conditions including cancer, respiratory, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative conditions, fibrosis and other multi-system disorders. All GNF departments – Biotherapeutics and Biotechnology, General Medical Biology, Discovery Chemistry and Cancer Therapeutics interact with the group. Together, they evaluate projects, cross-pollinate ideas and methods and ensure GNF is pursuing the projects that will make the most significant impact on patients.
Translational Research brings in different points of view from NBIR scientists and clinical trial physicians, external patient advocacy organizations, practicing physicians, academic scientists and others, to gauge the clinical environment and identify the most pressing medical needs. These interactions also help shape the desired properties of the drug candidates GNF pursues. These combined inputs give the group a unique vantage point.
When making decisions, large and small, the group provides guidance that contributes to therapeutic success such as weighing in on the most opportune target in a pathway of potential biological targets to achieve a therapeutic goal. The group also weighs in on which type of drug candidate in GNF’s armamentarium (e.g., small molecules, protein therapeutics or even small molecules conjugated to proteins) is likely to achieve the desired outcome for patients.
The translational research team pushes the creative envelope to help the project teams achieve the desired profiles of their discoveries and move the most promising towards clinical trials.
Once GNF scientists optimize their drug candidates, the highest potential will be transferred to the relevant department in NIBR (e.g., oncology or musculoskeletal disease) for further assessment and preparation for the initiation of clinical trials. These important steps include submitting documentation of the work of GNF and others at NIBR to the FDA and other regulatory agencies. These agencies determine whether the drug candidates can be tested in people.
Developing drugs is an incredibly difficult process, but GNF has been quite successful. Since 2014, NIBR and Novartis, have shepherded four drugs that originated in GNF labs through clinical trials to FDA approval. These medicines treat lung cancer, basal cell carcinoma, certain metastatic melanomas and relapsing multiple sclerosis. More GNF-initiated drug candidates are in the pipeline and will hopefully go on to help patients around the world. The Translational Research group is here to help.