prebys center

A pipeline for the medicines of tomorrow

SBP paves the way by blending innovative medical research with robust drug discovery to develop treatments that directly impact patient lives.

Sanford Burnham Prebys Drug Discovery

Sanford Burnham Prebys has the scientific expertise and technology platforms necessary to develop new therapeutics that address unmet clinical needs of patients. Our journey starts at the beginning – establishing innovative disease targets – and continues until our drug therapies are ready for patient testing.


Our competitive advantages 

  • Outstanding academic research and premier drug discovery science
    • Prebys Center is one of the most advanced nonprofit drug discovery centers in the world
  • Powerful academic network and collaborative reputation
    • Partners include universities, clinical organizations, disease foundations, government agencies and biopharma companies
  • Success in securing translational research grants
    • More than $100M over the past five years 
  • Track record of successful milestone-driven drug discovery
    • 7 FDA-approved treatments and tests, 10 clinical trials underway, 60 projects in the pipeline
SBP Drug Discovery Pipeline
Our current projects

A drug discovery pipeline is created in distinct stages. At SBP, we start at the beginning—establishing innovative disease targets—and continue until it’s time to test drugs in patients. At that point, we partner with organizations such as hospitals, clinical research organizations and pharmaceutical companies to conduct clinical trials in phases designed to answer specific research questions.

SBP drug discovery projects by disease area
Drug discovery projects

Current Projects in Clinical Trials

Carl ware headshot icon Carl Ware, Ph.D.
Immune therapy
The first patient has been dosed in a Phase 1 clinical trial evaluating a biologic that inhibits inflammation by activating an immune checkpoint receptor.  The results of this trial could have significant impact on those suffering from autoimmune diseases such as lupus, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Learn more


Millán headshot icon José Luis Millán, Ph.D.
Ectopic calcification diseases
Dr. Millán has led research resulting in one of SBP’s first home-grown compounds. The drug (DS-1211) inhibits deposits of calcium in parts of the body where they shouldn’t be, such as blood vessels. This could have significant implications for those suffering from heart failure and kidney disease. The drug has been licensed to the pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo and is currently being tested in humans.
Learn more



ruoslahti headshot icon Erkki Ruoslahti, M.D., Ph.D.
Pancreatic cancer
A compound discovered by Dr. Ruoslahit's lab advanced into a Phase 1 trial for pancreatic cancer. The compound helps anti-cancer drugs penetrate solid tumors like pancreatic cancer, concentrating medicine deep into the tumor—leaving healthy tissues unaffected. This discovery could be significant in extending the lives of pancreatic cancer patients, most who don’t live beyond five years; and for those suffering from other solid tumor cancers such brain and ovarian cancer.
Learn more


Approved therapies
Life-changing drugs supported by SBP discoveries

epogen logo
Approved in 1989 and 1993
In the US more than 20 million people ages 20 and older have CKD (chronic kidney disease) and roughly 400,000 of these people are undergoing dialysis treatment. Nearly all people on dialysis have anemia. For 25 years over 1.5 million medicare patients on dialysis who suffer from anemia have been given EPOGEN®, diminishing the need for a blood transfusion.


targretin logo
Approved in 1999
Targretin® is used to treat the skin problems arising from cutaneous T-cell lymphoma in patients who have not responded well to other treatments.


strensiq logo
Approved in 2015
Strensiq® is an innovative enzyme replacement therapy for the treatment of patients with perinatal/infantile and juvenile onset pypophaophatasia (HPP). HPP is a genetic, chronic, progressive and life-threatening metabolic disease in which patients experience devastating effects on multiple systems of the body, leading to debilitating or life-threatening complications. Strensiq® is the first therapy indicated to treat HPP improving bone mineralization and survival rates.


venclexta logo
Approved in 2016
Venclexta™ is used to treat people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL), who have received at least one prior treatment. People treated with Venclexta™ + rituximab were 81% less likely to have their disease worsen, or to die before their disease worsened, compared to another treatment (bendamustine + rituximab (BR). The goal of the treatment is achieving remission. Of the 194 patients who were treated with Venclexta™ + rituximab, over 9 out of 10 (92%) people achieved some level of remission or response to therapy.


What is a drug discovery pipeline?
The stages of bringing new treatments to patients