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Every drug discovery scientist is an inventor

July 02, 2021
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s a science-driven organization, Mirati Therapeutics Inc. is committed to relentlessly exploring new ways to discover and develop treatments for patients with hard-to-treat cancers. Our approach is informed by a deep understanding of cancer mutations, their biology and new targets that aim to push beyond traditional approaches. The pursuit of this goal starts with solid drug discovery capabilities.

“At our core, every drug discovery scientist is an inventor,” reflected Matt Marx, senior vice president of Drug Discovery, in discussing the role of his team within Mirati.

Mirati’s Drug Discovery team comprises a variety of chemists–organic, medicinal, protein, protein crystallographers and computational chemists–who are responsible for the creation and identification of new molecules with the potential to become drug candidates.

Not only does the team constantly create new molecules, but it also maintains a symbiotic relationship with other internal teams, opening the door to review fresh data from ongoing projects and invent tailored chemical compounds.

The spirit of invention and forward-thinking unites the group, as the road between discovery project initiation and investigational new drug (IND) filing is arduous. The discovery engine can run 4 years or more on a single project and can often require the creation of hundreds to thousands of unique compounds before identifying one with the desired properties to move forward. Following this phase of discovery, a partnership between the Drug Discovery, Research, Drug Metabolism and early Development teams rigorously examines each potential lead molecule to understand whether it has the optimal characteristics for continued advancement toward filing an IND and entering clinical development. For the Drug Discovery team, the thrill of bringing forth new IND candidates that have the potential to benefit patients fuels their ongoing efforts.

“What started as a team with one employee 6 years ago has grown into a strong organization comprising veteran drug discovery scientists with strong and diverse talents,” said Matt. “The continuous and open feedback Mirati receives from patients ensures the patient experience remains at the forefront, centering our team’s focus on harnessing scientific discovery with a goal of advancing molecules with the potential to become meaningful medicines for patients.”

For the Drug Discovery team, the thrill of bringing forth new IND candidates that have the potential to benefit patients fuels their ongoing efforts.

Mirati has a portfolio of innovation. The discovery of investigational KRAS (G12C and G12D) inhibitors and more recently the synthetic lethal PRMT5 program reinforce the strength of Mirati’s internal discovery capabilities.

“We will always approach our drug discovery research with cutting-edge innovation,” Matt concluded. “Guided by data, Mirati researchers are tackling cancer head-on to advance the next generation of targeted therapies.”