GlaxoSmithKline takes another big swing at cancer drug R&D

Contrary to a common misperception in the industry, GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) still has big plans in the burgeoning field of cancer drug R&D. And one of the pharma giant’s top cancer drug R&D execs says Glaxo is ready to strike new deals to beef up the pipeline as it considers rebuilding a late-stage research effort and new commercial operations to support marketing the most successful drugs to come out of it.

Glaxo’s big asset flip with Novartis ($NVS) spun out its late-stage cancer programs, a portfolio of drugs and hundreds of workers concentrated around tumor signaling. And now that the swap is completed, exchanging cancer drugs for a vaccine portfolio, the pharma giant’s cancer drug discovery division has refocused, according to Axel Hoos, who runs the immuno-oncology group.

Just last month, says Hoos, the cancer division completed the big internal review it does for all its drug development teams every three years. GSK’s remaining 185 cancer R&D staffers has regrouped around two key fields–next-gen immuno-oncology work and cancer epigenetics, extinguishing the last of the early-stage tumor signaling work. The cancer team is dedicating itself to hitting one or more new oncology drugs out of the proverbial ballpark, looking for some clear evidence that it can mount a transformational advance in oncology as it ponders rebuilding a late-stage pipeline effort and a whole new commercial effort to support it. […]

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