Since our inception eight years ago, NGM scientists have built a drug discovery organization that systematically discovers significant new biology, reveals novel mechanisms of action and generates proprietary insights that enable the identification of first-in-class drug candidates. Potential factors or targets of interest are uncovered and selected based on an evaluation of expression patterns in the context of both healthy and diseased tissues, operant signaling pathways and presumptive physiological functions. During this process we seek to deorphanize previously unidentified receptors in the signaling pathway of interest that may present additional opportunities to slow or reverse disease progression.
A key component of our discovery approach relies on in vivo phenotypic assessment of our drug target/candidate and, when possible, validation through translational research with human samples to reveal novel insights into regulatory pathways that demonstrate powerful biological effects. As a result, we focus on hormones or other targets that clearly display the most promising biological activities for modifying human disease states. This approach formed the foundation of our initial discovery efforts in cardio-metabolic disorders and enabled us to identify novel hormones that demonstrate profound metabolic effects and may translate into meaningful therapeutics. NGM has since applied that same approach to additional therapeutic areas, leading us to discover novel drug candidates for liver diseases and for cancer using immuno-oncology mechanisms.