Solution Story: Developing a ground-breaking therapeutics technology

How Elsevier’s R&D Solutions are helping Rubius Therapeutics develop cutting-edge erythrocyte-based treatments

Biotech start-up Rubius Therapeutics is pioneering the development of new technologies to genetically engineer red cell therapeutics.

To accomplish their mission, Rubius scientists must develop techniques to manufacture erythrocytes cells at scale, as well as find ways to develop a variety of therapeutic technologies for these cells to deliver.

As a small company, it’s very important for us to always be at the cutting edge in terms of understanding the competition and the novel treatments that are out there. That means information is really important for us, emphasizes President Torben Straight Nissen.


Because its Rubius Erythrocyte Design™ (RED) platform can be applied to so many diseases, therapies and products, the company must fully understand the opportunity landscape. Only then can it focus its knowledge-building efforts on the most promising candi¬dates. Otherwise, Rubius risks being distracted by the limitless possibilities its technology offers. Another vital goal is to be able to shrink the bench-to-bedside timeline. The top leaders at Rubius must ensure that its R&D efforts are both speedy and efficient so that financial resources are used efficiently.


To overcome the challenges they face, different teams at Rubius — the development, discovery, manufacturing, and business teams — use various information solutions from Elsevier to perform their jobs.

The platform development team grows red blood cells from stem cells and creates new constructs for different applications. The team’s researchers turn to ScienceDirect® to get up to speed on different disease pathways, protein targets and mechanisms for the prototypes they’re building, as well as to develop the best practices for scaling and differentiating cells. They also use PharmaPendium® and Pathway Studio® to review preclinical related topics and pathway interactions, respectively.

The discovery team identifies potential red cell therapies in oncology, enzyme replacement disorders and autoimmune disease. “Our scientists can go into ScienceDirect and very quickly get relevant papers that provide us essential information, and the toxicology data in PharmaPendium is incredibly useful,” observes Vice President of Research and Development Tom Wickham.

The manufacturing team counts on ScienceDirect for indispensable access to research articles on applied science, manufacturing science, and technology. It also uses Scopus® to gather information on manufacturing approaches that it hasn’t previously tried, and consults PharmaPendium to review clinical trial designs and discover experts in the field.

Even the business development leaders use Elsevier solutions to stay abreast of scientific literature, product development trends and new product approvals. This information helps them focus company resources on the most promising therapeutics that will meet marketplace needs.

Quote 1 Therapeutics technology - Drug Discovery & Development solutions, Pharma & Life Sciences, R&D Solutions | Elsevier

Having access to information is really critical for our employees to innovate with our platform freely and without resistance.

Avak Kahvejian, Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer


Fast access to high quality scientific information — all from the same trusted source — has already helped Rubius push its innovative technology forward faster. Our mission is to be a first-in-kind, first-in-class company, says co-founder Kahvejian. My teams need such a diverse set of information, and having one place to go for it is really convenient.

Overall, the collection of Elsevier products has assisted the company in quickly translating its technology advancements into proof-of-concept and proof-of-principle studies for testing red cell therapeutics. Access to that knowledge helps us move faster, since we can make informed decisions more quickly, adds Principal Scientist Chen.


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