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AbbVie: Why Partnerships Matter

A Q&A with Jay Stamatis, Vice President and Head of Business Development & Acquisitions.

Originally Published by AbbVie.

As scientific knowledge continues to grow, those in drug discovery and development have more opportunities – and challenges – than ever before. We talked with AbbVie's Jay Stamatis, vice president and head of business development & acquisitions, about the critical role of partnerships and why it's important to be agnostic when it comes to the source of innovation.

When looking for opportunities to partner or to acquire new compounds, how do you prioritize given the many phases from discovery through development?

A: We've made a commitment to patients that we will bring forward new medicines that significantly raise the bar over currently available treatments. We have also made a commitment to shareholders to invest our capital wisely and evaluate how we can best balance risk.

In order to do this, we have to stage our pipeline effectively, which means we look across all development phases and therapeutic areas to determine how to prioritize our investment. And we have to look outside of our walls for programs that best complement our internally-developed innovation. For patients, what matters to them is a new and advanced treatment option, not who first discovered it. That's why our pipeline is comprised of a mix of partnered and internally-discovered compounds – we look for the best innovation, whether it originated in our own labs or in someone else's.

Our pipeline and scientific mission are focused on four key areas – immunology, oncology, virology and neuroscience – and those areas guide us as we search for new collaboration programs. In addition, we are open to other areas where we can provide specific expertise. In the earlier phases of discovery and development, we may look at promising areas of biology where new approaches and new drug targets are being identified and investigated.

What role do partnerships and collaborations play in building a pipeline?

A: Our researchers are advancing promising science every day, and we have a number of cutting-edge technologies already in-house. But we prioritize internal investments based on what we have identified as the most important capabilities for us to build ourselves. To augment our efforts, we look outside. Fortunately, there is exciting science happening in drug discovery and development across the world, across all phases – in biotech and pharma companies, in academic labs and, sometimes, even in someone's basement.

"What we look for is a good fit. We want to partner with companies and institutions that have complementary skills and expertise, bring a new perspective or innovation that we might not have and, most importantly, share the same commitment to keep patients at the forefront of all we do."

What impact has external innovation had on our current pipeline?

A: AbbVie obviously has had a strong history in immunology, and we are building on that foundation through our partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim. In oncology, while we have made significant investments in our own capabilities and our internally generated pipeline, we have added to our internal efforts with the acquisition of Pharmacyclics, as well as numerous partnerships for mid- and early stage programs with partners including Turnstone, argenx, Dong-A, and most recently, Tizona and Lupin. In neuroscience, we have invested significantly in our early discovery capabilities and established our Cambridge Research Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts - but we have accelerated our early pipeline through partnerships with C2N, BioArtic, Alector, Mission and Voyager.

We also have a unique collaboration with Calico, a Google/Alphabet-backed life sciences company, to discover and develop new medicines for diseases of aging, such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

Drug discovery and development is inherently risky. What success have you seen from collaborating with others?

A: Collaborations are important tools to augment a company's own discovery and development efforts. Some AbbVie medicines have been made possible, in part, by collaborations. And if you look across our industry, medicines for cancer, anemia, asthma and many other diseases and conditions have been discovered and/or developed through collaboration.

On the earlier end of the drug discovery and development process, we work with academic institutions to help us advance scientific knowledge in certain areas. Through our ventures group, we invest in start-ups with promising ideas. It is rare for any company to possess all of the cutting-edge tools and capabilities needed to identify a drug candidate and bring it through the development process to commercialization. The end goal is to get transformative therapies to patients faster, and this can often times be achieved more effectively through partnership.

What does a company like AbbVie bring to partner organizations? And in turn, what do you look for in a potential partner?

A: AbbVie brings scientific and commercial expertise, established infrastructure and a wide range of experience to our partners. But each collaboration is unique in terms of both its structure and its operations. Working with an academic research center to advance early science, for example, is very different from working with a biotech company to move a compound through clinical trials. At the early end of the partnership spectrum are those with an idea – in addition to venture funding, they may seek our perspectives and guidance to help them shape the development of a product or grow their company. This, in turn, provides AbbVie with visibility and access to innovation at its beginning.

A larger, more established company may look to us because of our established presence in a particular therapeutic area, including our commercial, manufacturing and regulatory expertise. These partnerships can help accelerate the most efficient and successful way possible of bringing a new medicine to the patients who are waiting.

Ultimately, what we look for is a good fit. Partnerships succeed not only because of strategy and technology, but also relationships. We work hard to get to know potential partners early in our discussions so we can establish a productive dialogue and an element of trust. We want to partner with companies and institutions that have complementary skills and expertise, bring a new perspective or innovation that we might not have and, most importantly, share the same commitment to keep patients at the forefront of all we do.

The Conversation

AbbVie to Present 37th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference

Michael Severino, M.D., Vice Chairman and President, to give a presentation.

AbbVie, a research-based global biopharmaceutical company, will participate in the 37th annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on Wednesday, January 9, 2019. Michael Severino, M.D., Vice Chairman and President, will present at 10:00 a.m. Central time (8:00 a.m. Pacific time).

A live audio webcast of the presentation will be accessible through AbbVie's Investor Relations website at An archived edition of the session will be available later that day.

About AbbVie

AbbVie is a global, research and development-based biopharmaceutical company committed to developing innovative advanced therapies for some of the world's most complex and critical conditions. The company's mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to markedly improve treatments across four primary therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, virology and neuroscience. In more than 75 countries, AbbVie employees are working every day to advance health solutions for people around the world. For more information about AbbVie, please visit us at Follow @abbvie on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.

AbbVie: Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Community Health Center at a Time

From ensuring backup energy sources to introducing a telemedicine program, Direct Relief anchors Puerto Rico's resurgence in good health.

Originally Published by AbbVie.

For a Local Doctor, Home is Where The Heart Is

It was summer 2017, and Dr. Yania López Álvarez had just returned to Puerto Rico. A new doctor eager to bring her knowledge back to the island, the 35-year-old radiologist turned down more lucrative job offers on the mainland for the chance to practice at home close to her family.

But a few months later, Hurricane Irma slammed into Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria came just weeks after, pummeling the island, destroying homes and causing widespread power outages that lasted for months. The official death toll stands at 2,975 people.

A lack of electricity, running water and jobs prompted many to leave the island. An estimated 135,000 people left Puerto Rico in the six months following Maria, according to a report by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies.

Dr. López chose to stay.

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AbbVie: Scientists Rock! It's a Bird, It's a Plane ... It's Super-Scientist!

Not all superheroes wear capes. Just ask plain-clothed scientist, Axel Hernandez Jr., who is trying to save lives one molecule at a time.

Originally Published by AbbVie.

Scientists Rock! is a monthly Q&A where we pull an AbbVie scientist out of the lab to hear what makes them tick. This month, we chat with Axel Hernandez Jr., senior scientist, AbbVie Bioresearch Center.

Skilled molecular scientist. Inspirational pre-K football coach. Multi-talented athlete. Dedicated family man. Is there nothing super-scientist Axel can't do? Armed only with a lab coat and goggles, kryptonite itself couldn't keep this man of steel from trying to help rescue those in need.

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AbbVie: Scientists Rock! It's Elementary, My Dear Watson

How Sir Arthur Conan Doyle inspired this scientist to tackle the case of the neurological malady.

Originally Published by AbbVie.

Scientists Rock! is a monthly Q&A where we pull an AbbVie scientist out of the lab to hear what makes them tick. This month, we chat with Brinda Ravikumar, Ph.D., principal research scientist, Cambridge Research Center, AbbVie. As a child, Brinda's love of Sherlock Holmes mystery books would foretell her life's passion for solving complicated whodunits. These days, her detective work involves investigations of a different sort. Let's chalk this one up to ... The Case of the Dedicated Research Scientist.

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AbbVie: Flexibility is Key to This Mom's Work-Life Balance

Learn how Sarah Co organized a flexible work schedule, while still driving culture improvements to help moms.


Achieving balance between work, family, health and outside interests is a lifelong challenge for working mother Sarah Co. And it tends to be a moving target, as it can be for all working mothers, with every piece growing or changing in different ways.

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AbbVie Announces $5 Million Donation to Family Reach to Support Children Battling Cancer and Their Families

This gift, the largest contribution ever received by Family Reach, will provide critical financial services, support programs and educational resources to families across the United States struggling with the financial burden of a child's cancer diagnosis.

Originally Published by AbbVie.

AbbVie, a research-based global biopharmaceutical company, announced a donation of $5 million to Family Reach to support the organization's efforts to alleviate the financial burden of cancer on pediatric patients and families across the United States. This donation, the largest contribution received by Family Reach, was announced at the Biden Cancer Summit in Washington, D.C. Hosted by Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, the Biden Cancer Summit aims to drive a sense of urgency in developing and implementing new solutions, to build a cancer community that is connected, coordinated, and collaborative, and to showcase the broad range of unique cancer experiences and stories that together comprise the collective cancer narrative.

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