Molecular diagnostic techniques provide a great opportunity to detect diseases even before symptoms occur, as they help to identify alterations at the molecular and multicellular level. What we know as precision medicine facilitates the design of targeted therapies, a hope for diseases like cancer, as they are able to selectively target cancer cells without affecting healthy cells.
This is what Daiichi Sankyo, a global pharmaceutical company with more than 40 years of experience in oncology, is researching, which is developing innovative new therapies targeting the main types of cancer, such as breast, gastric, lung, colorectal, brain, and hematologic cancers. Focused on the technology of conjugated antibodies (ADCs), the company wants to transform science into value for patients.
“The patient is at the center of everything we do at Daiichi Sankyo. They are our inspiration and our purpose. We work to meet your needs and generate a positive impact. And we do it through research and development of innovative therapies that improve the therapeutic approach and thus their quality of life ”, says Ana Zubeldia, director of the Oncology Business Unit at Daiichi Sankyo Spain. “To achieve this, we have opted for the development of ADCs, a consolidated technology that delivers a therapeutic agent directly where it is needed, focusing on an antibody precisely,” he adds. The advantages that this mechanism of action can bring are enormous: levels of efficacy and toxicity optimized compared to the use of the therapeutic agent directly and broadening the perspective with new therapeutic combinations.
ADCs are capable of directly attacking cancer cells without affecting healthy cells, targeting the specific gene, the cancer-producing agent, to kill the tumor cell, which is what cytotoxic drugs do, or prevent it from growing. which is what cytostatics allow, something key because beyond expanding the therapeutic arsenal, it makes available to people more effective treatments with less toxicity. And this is neither more nor less than living longer and better.
Daiichi Sankyo applies ADC technology to different antibodies to develop drugs against different types of tumors, although “currently, our main focus is on HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer,” says Zubeldia. One in five cases of breast cancer, the most common cancer in women, is HER2 positiveI , a subtype that responds to the human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2) screening test, which promotes the growth of cancer cells. These tumors tend to grow and spread faster than other types of breast cancer, which makes it one of those with the worst prognosis, so its early detection is essential.
Ana Zubeldia highlights that “we are in the best moment in terms of research, but this is a long-distance race, there is still a lot to do” because, although advances in medicine have already doubled the survival of cancer patients in the last 40 yearsII , only in Spain, one in three women and one in two men will develop cancer in their lifetimeIII.
The Japanese company Daiichi Sankyo has more than 16,000 employees worldwide, spread over its 14 research centers and its 13 production plants. The pharmaceutical company, which has 13 subsidiaries in Europe, supplies innovative medicines and services to more than twenty countries. Its main research in the area of oncology is focused on the development of ADCs that allow the development of innovative therapies in oncology and, therefore, cover unmet needs in different types of cancer, such as breast, gastric, lung, colorectal, prostate, brain, hematologic, and solid tumors.