Cancer is the second cause of mortality in the world, and it continues to rise. The World Health Organization estimates 22 million new cases per year over the next two decades.
Given the magnitude of therapeutic needs in oncology, Servier has decided to make the fight against cancer a priority: by 2021, oncology should account for half of its overall R&D budget. Servier’s oncology R&D programs explore two major areas: apoptosis and immuno-oncology.
Apoptosis is a programmed cell death mechanism, which some cancer cells subvert. Therefore, Servier’s therapeutic strategy is to develop targeted molecules that restore the ability of cancer cells to die by apoptosis. Servier has developed an advanced pipeline of BCL-2 and MCL-1 inhibitors, which induce apoptosis in cancer cells and are being studied in ongoing preclinical and clinical research studies. This work is done in collaboration with Vernalis Research in Cambridge, Novartis, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, and the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.
Immuno-oncology is a revolutionary therapy that aims to stimulate the immune system against cancer cells. Servier is exploring two types of innovative approaches: monoclonal antibodies (mono or bispecific) and CAR-T cells. In this area, Servier continues to work on UCART 19, the first allogeneic cell therapy in clinical development, developed in partnership with French biotech company Cellectis and U.S. biotech company Allogene Therapeutics. Since 2017, the Group has worked with Pieris on bispecific antibody development. In 2018/2019, the Group also strengthened its immuno‑oncology innovation capabilities following partnerships with Symphogen and Precision BioSciences.