The Shape of Drugs to Come

Biotechnology opened the door to new types of medicines based on nature’s own building blocks. No company has done more to advance this revolution than Amgen, and the company’s broad toolkit of drug modalities just got larger.

In the days before biotechnology, the wide range of available medicines obscured the fact that nearly every drug had one thing in common with other drugs. With rare exceptions, medicines were based on chemical compounds that determined their safety and efficacy in patients. Small molecules remain the most common modality used for medicines, but the fundamental structure of drugs has evolved to include a much wider array of options.

Our product portfolio and clinical pipeline contain ten distinct modalities, and our drug discovery scientists are exploring three additional approaches.

The biotech industry ushered in a new era of protein-based medicines that can be made through the marriage of science and the molecular machinery of cells. The first biotech drugs were genetically engineered versions of human proteins—large molecules far too intricate to assemble through chemical processes. Today, protein engineers can reconfigure nature’s building blocks to design innovative structures that fight disease in a more sophisticated manner.

This ever-growing diversity of modalities has helped Amgen to pioneer a new approach to drug discovery. This approach seeks to gain deep biological insights into disease before selecting the optimal tool to target the key molecular defects.

To increase the likelihood of finding the best tool for the best target, Amgen has built an array of drug modalities that is unsurpassed in the biopharma industry. Our product portfolio and clinical pipeline contain ten distinct modalities, and our drug discovery scientists are exploring three additional approaches, including two novel platforms added in 2016. This feature provides an overview of these 13 tools and how they can be applied to help patients facing serious illness.

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