As a nonprofit, San Diego Regional EDC is supported by investment from nearly 200 private organizations, companies, and public agencies. With their support, EDC provides direct services to help companies grow and thrive in San Diego, and leads initiatives to enhance the region’s recovery and resilience.
We sat down with Neil Bence, vice president of oncology discovery and San Diego site head at Bristol Myers Squibb, to discuss the company’s mission to combat serious diseases with life-changing medicines. Check out its Investor Spotlight below!
Tell us about Bristol Myers Squibb and its mission.
Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases.
Protein degradation is a core strength for BMS R&D, and we are building on our legacy and scientific expertise to discover and develop therapeutic approaches in blood cancers, solid tumors, and other important therapeutic areas. Protein degradation is the process by which proteins are destroyed in a cell; with targeted protein degradation, our researchers are harnessing the cell’s own machinery to degrade several whole new classes of proteins that were previously considered “undruggable.”
Why San Diego?
San Diego is an important hub for innovation and we are committed to our presence and leadership in the vibrant life sciences ecosystem. Our location in San Diego allows our scientists to leverage state-of-the-art technologies to profile diseases and activate biopharma and academic partnerships earlier in discovery and development.
Recently, BMS announced the execution of a long-term lease for the development of a new R&D facility—an iconic 427,000 square foot world-class building at Alexandria Point. Bringing our four sites together into a single building will accelerate collaboration across all research groups and drive BMS’ commitment to bringing critical medicines to patients living with serious illnesses.
We wanted to pursue a San Diego site footprint that encourages collaboration and cultural integration, enables organic growth, and promotes agility to pursue new scientific opportunities. Our extensive San Diego R&D campus houses several distinct industry capabilities, including our Oncogenesis Thematic Research Center, Discovery Biotherapeutics, Medicinal Chemistry, and Nonclinical Research and Development teams.
In San Diego, BMS scientists are focused on the exploration of novel biology and target concepts such as protein degradation and complex biologics. This research is to better understand the complexities of cancer, autoimmune, and neurodegenerative diseases in order to advance the next generation of therapies to help treat these diseases which currently have high unmet needs.
How is BMS improving access to quality care of medically under-resourced patients in San Diego?
BMS is united by a critical mission: Transforming patients’ lives through science. As an inclusive, patient-centered, global biopharmaceutical company, we are committed to doing our part to help advance health equity and deliver innovative medicines that improve the health outcomes of medically underserved and increasingly diverse patient populations. We have been on a health equity journey for many years—continuously building on and expanding our tools to meaningfully tackle health inequities in the U.S. and worldwide.
In August 2020, we announced our $150 million investment over five years to address health disparities, increase clinical trial diversity, expand supplier diversity, increase workforce representation, and enhance employee giving in support of social justice organizations. We remain deeply committed to doing our part to help transform patients’ lives around the world.
BMS recently announced nearly $8 million in new health equity grants to 24 U.S. nonprofits focused on improving access to quality care for medically underserved communities, including the American Lung Association and Dia De La Mujer Latina which have a presence in San Diego, that work with community health workers and patient navigators to increase access among medically underserved patients and communities. The grants are intended to bolster community outreach and engagement, increase care coordination services and to ensure an ethnically diverse, culturally competent community health worker and patient navigator workforce. Grant recipients span across BMS’ therapeutic areas of focus—oncology, cardiology, immunology, and hematology—as well as health equity programs that serve a range of medically underserved patient populations, including Black and African American, Latino and Hispanic, AAPI, LGBTQIA+, and rural communities.
Tell us about BMS’ collaboration and partnership with San Diego Regional EDC.
Bristol Myers Squibb shares San Diego Regional EDC’s mission to invest in local life sciences organizations for the economic prosperity of the region. BMS appreciates the support and partnership of EDC to keep the organization and talent apprised of key economic developments in the region that allow BMS to remain an employer of choice. The team at EDC is collaborative and responsive to our evolving needs.
Looking ahead, what is on the horizon for BMS?
We’re looking forward to bringing together our four current San Diego sites into a single, newly constructed facility. Our vision is to continue to be a major research hub with incredible opportunities for scientific discovery throughout and following this transition.
Overall, it is an exciting time to be at BMS. In the year ahead, we are excited about the growth opportunities in our in-line brands and new product portfolio as well as our powerful innovation engine driving a broad early-stage pipeline. With more than 50 assets in our early-stage pipeline and the opportunity for more than 20 proof of concept decisions over the next three years, BMS is advancing one of the most exciting pipelines in the industry, amplified by our strong external partnerships.
Learn more: bms.com