How innovation has the potential to change patients’ lives

August 23, 2022
About the Author

Matt Marx is a medicinal chemist and drug discovery leader with over 25 years of post-Ph.D. experience and a proven skill set of delivering small-molecule projects from inception to the clinic. Matt is senior vice president of drug discovery at Mirati.


ver 7 years ago, I began working at Mirati as its first employee in the Drug Discovery group. After 17 very rewarding years in Big Pharma, I was excited about this new opportunity to help an earlier-stage company deliver life-changing therapeutics to patients living with cancer. The entire Mirati team was small in those days–many “departments” were one person only, connected across our various roles by an underlying commitment to improving patients’ lives through innovation.

Today, the Mirati Drug Discovery, Research and Early Development teams are exceptional and productive groups of scientists working across all stages of the project initiation, discovery and early drug development process. This growth has been one of the biggest and most vital, changes for Mirati, as it has allowed our innovation to continue. We are now able to capitalize on our successes, grow our capabilities and advance our portfolio of life-changing therapies.

As a scientist, I love the thrill of making new discoveries and solving the different challenges that arise. I’m thrilled about our discovery and development projects, which pursue greater innovations and explore breakthroughs that have the potential to target cancer. Our discovery projects begin by identifying tumor-driving cellular processes in cancer patients and continues when we bring together scientists from the Drug Discovery and Research teams to identify new molecules with the potential to precisely target those processes.

I love the thrill of making new discoveries and solving the different challenges that arise.

The discovery of a potential new medicine can be lengthy and difficult, and we must sometimes create hundreds or even thousands of unique compounds before we find one that has the potential to be an investigational new drug candidate. The Drug Discovery group’s collaboration with other Mirati teams–including Research, Drug Metabolism and Early Development–helps us determine which compounds to pursue and advance toward clinical development. Once a therapy enters clinical trials, we are hopeful about the value our drug candidates may have for patients and excited to hear about the progress of those clinical studies.

When I first started at Mirati, we had the desire to make a difference in patients’ lives, which fueled us to expand and advance our portfolio of life-changing therapies. Our sustained commitment to innovation, growing talent across various teams and dedication to improving patients’ lives provides us the opportunity to continue developing a broad portfolio of targeted oncology projects.

During our rapid growth, one thing has remained constant at Mirati: our common commitment to discover and develop new treatments with the potential to transform the lives of patients living with cancer. We have been–and will always be–a patient-centric organization, and our focus on improving patients’ lives is what drives us forward.