University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Recombinant Antibody Network Partners with Bristol Myers Squibb to Develop Novel Therapies

By | June 18, 2020

Recombinant Antibody Network Partners with Bristol Myers Squibb to Develop Novel Therapies

James Wells, PhD

The Recombinant Antibody Network (RAN), a consortium comprising research groups from UC San Francisco, the University of Chicago, and the University of Toronto, has entered into a second research collaboration with Celgene that aims to create and develop high-performance recombinant antibodies against diverse targets in human cells.

The first RAN collaboration was launched in 2015 with Celgene, which was later acquired by Bristol Myers Squibb in 2019.

Under the new agreement, led by UCSF’s James Wells, PhD, the company will further invest in the RAN’s state-of-the-art antibody engineering program to expand target discovery from oncology and immunology to include neurology. UCSF Innovation Ventures led the negotiation of the agreement with Celgene, now a fully owned subsidiary of Bristol Myers Squibb, and will manage the collaboration’s activities and licensing.

“This is a spectacular example of how industry and academia can work hand-in-hand to discover new medicines,” said Wells, a co-founder of the RAN and a professor of pharmaceutical chemistry in the UCSF School of Pharmacy. “The RAN project teams include scientists, students, postdocs, and staff at universities collaborating with Bristol Myers Squibb scientists to consult on projects and discuss progress on a monthly basis.”

As one of the world’s largest academic-industry partnerships, the RAN offers unique opportunities for trainees to be involved in cutting-edge research with clinical applications. Additionally, the collaboration provides an opportunity for potential sharing of research performed by both the RAN and Bristol Myers Squibb scientists. Members of the RAN at all three institutions have published dozens of publications resulting from their new innovative science and discovery.