Creating Innovative Medicines that Change the Standard of Care: A Q&A with Daiichi Sankyo

Oct 06, 2022

During its Pharma Day® on November 2, 2022, Daiichi Sankyo will showcase its R&D strategy and connect with potential collaborators across the life sciences innovation ecosystem, particularly emerging biotechs, during an in-person open information session and networking reception at the MassBioHub. In advance of this event, we spoke with Stuart J. Mackey, Global Head of Business Development and Executive Vice President, Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., to learn more about how Daiichi Sankyo is approaching collaboration with emerging innovators.

What is DS’s approach to innovation? 

We exist to create innovative medicines that change the standard of care – particularly for patients with few, insufficient, or no options. With purpose and rigor, we develop life-changing solutions for the patients of today and tomorrow.

We have crafted leading ADC technologies that are the basis for our promising current and near-term pipeline, but we are also continuing efforts to evolve antibody drug conjugates, cell and gene therapy as well as mRNA and nucleic acid pharmaceutical technologies. Our primary therapeutic areas of focus are patients with cancer as well as central nervous system and rare diseases to address their unmet medical needs.

Our heritage inspires us to rise to new challenges with continuous innovation. To thoughtfully question and courageously develop what is next, we are guided by years of experience and deep scientific expertise. Genuine need and infinite potential motivate every one of us to keep getting better. 

Why is DS working with MassBio to support emerging companies? 

MassBio serves a critical role within the Northeast biotech community in bringing together the brightest life science companies. Working collaboratively with MassBio is a tremendous advantage to organizations like Daiichi Sankyo who are eager to identify and develop relationships that support our ambitious mission to further science on behalf of patients.

Which therapeutic or R&D areas does DS want to partner on? What types of companies or innovators does DS want to partner with?

Our primary focus areas include oncology, rare diseases, psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases.  Our research strength lies in our approach and expertise in science and technology, and we believe the next generation of medicines will be found in such modalities as cell therapy, gene therapy and mRNA, in addition to antibody drug conjugates and small molecules. 

Our ideal partner balances cutting-edge innovation with a perspective on commercial markets and patient needs.  They understand key steps that de-risk targets, assets, and technologies.  Our collaborations are greater than the sum of their parts and we seek partners with whom an alliance will be more than additive.

In oncology, partnering would be ideal to expand the treatment landscape in antibodies or binders applicable to mono- or multi-specific antibodies and/or cell therapy against tumor-associated antigens, novel protein degradation technology, delivery systems and immunotherapy targets or research, as well as clinical stage programs that may combine rationally with our antibody drug conjugates. 

In other specialty medicines, we seek to partner on novel technologies to treat multiple monogenic rare diseases, particularly those impacting the liver and muscle.  We also seek research collaborations from hit identification, hit-to-lead and lead optimization in psychiatric, rare and immune diseases. 

To advance technologies our team is also interested in enabling siRNA delivery, proteases or ion-channels as novel therapeutic targets, as well as gene therapy and AAV production related technologies. 

How will DS’ help emerging companies grow their businesses? 

Daiichi Sankyo has deep scientific and clinical knowledge that we’ve demonstrated can translate into highly successful, practice-changing therapies.  We are committed to building relationships that are mutually beneficial for each organization and that help realize the true potential of the innovations our partners have created. 

We have a keen focus on the science that could ultimately become therapies that improve upon the standard of care.  Daiichi Sankyo has expertise working successfully with organizations at various stages of development and we commit to tailoring our partnership to the individual needs of each unique project.

About the Interviewee

Stuart J. Mackey
Global Head of Business Development, Daiichi Sankyo 
Executive Vice President, Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.

Stu Mackey joined Daiichi Sankyo in April 2013. He chairs the Senior Licensing Committee and works directly with senior management in Tokyo, the U.S. and Europe on key licensing and business development projects.

He began his career as an associate at the law firm of Folger Levin and Kahn in San Francisco before joining the Law Department at Amgen in 1999. He served in various capacities in the Law Department before moving to the Licensing group in 2003. After leading the negotiations team within Amgen Licensing, he moved into Corporate Development and Strategy, where among other responsibilities, he served as Managing Director of Amgen Ventures, the company’s venture capital arm. In 2009, he left Amgen to become the Chief Business Officer of Santaris Pharma, before later returning to Amgen as Deputy General Manager of Amgen’s global biosimilars unit.

Mr. Mackey graduated from Harvard University where he studied economics and received his J.D. from the University of California – Berkeley Law School.

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