Oncology research

A research priority


Oncology is the group’s main focus for pharmaceutical research. We put 50% of our budget toward our medical research. We are therefore the second French pharmaceutical company in terms of anti-cancer research.

Major medical needs

Our oncology research is based on areas where medical needs are greatest:

  • Solid tumors, especially breast cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, skin cancer, upper aerodigestive cancer, or urogenital cancer;
  • Onco-hematology, including lymphoma, myeloma, and especially leukemia

Treatment of breast cancer


Breast cancer is a worldwide disease that affects all female populations indistinctly. Our oncology R&D teams are currently working on new therapeutic indications for Javlor®, an anti-cancer drug from Pierre Fabre research, to treat this harmful disease.

Our molecule vinflunine has been proven effective in the treatment of bladder cancer. We have discovered new properties for it, which opens up new therapeutic perspectives, particularly in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.

Plant-based anti-cancer substances

pervenche-tropicale.jpgMore active and better tolerated natural molecules

In the early 1980s, Pierre Fabre Laboratories began its anti-cancer research by forming a partnership with the French National Center for Scientific Research to develop an anti-cancer agent using tropical periwinkle: Navelbine. Today Navelbine is one of the group’s top medicines and the first French anti-cancer agent to be approved in the United States for the treatment of lung cancer; it is one of the group’s key success stories. Javlor, a new-generation anti-cancer drug, is also the result of working with the French National Center for Scientific Research on tropical periwinkle.
Our R&D teams are currently working on the discovery and development of even more active and better tolerated natural molecules.

Nos équipes R&D travaillent aujourd’hui sur la découverte et la mise au point de molécules naturelles encore plus actives et mieux tolérées.



New courses of treatment centered on peptidic molecules

In February 2014, an inlicensing agreement was signed with Indienne Aurigen to develop a peptide whose antitumor activity will be evaluated by the Research and Development teams of Pierre Fabre Laboratories.

Internationally recognized expertise

The Center of Immunology Pierre Fabre (CIPF) at Saint-Julien-en-Genevois has internationally recognized scientific expertise in terms of the discovery and characterization of anti-cancerous monoclonal antibodies. The interest of monoclonal antibodies lies in their highly targeted mechanism of action: they bind only to specific receptors on certain types of tumor. When they come into contact with their target tumor, they are 100% effective. As well as being effective, they are better tolerated that chemotherapy drugs.

CIPF research teams have recently developed monoclonal antibodies that have aroused interest from the largest pharmaceutical groups:

  • In 2004, a partnership agreement was signed with Merck. It covered monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of cancer, particularly colon cancer, pancreatic cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.
  • In 2010, a licensing agreement was signed with Abbott to develop a second monoclonal antibody, which is also extremely promising in oncology.

This initial success has led us to work on the production of clinical batches of monoclonal antibodies to develop a candidate as far as Phase II. 

Thanks to the new Antibodies Biotechnology Unit (ABU), we are the only pharmaceutical company in France to have research, development and clinical batch production facilities located at the same site.



Immunoconjugates are currently a growing therapeutic class for the treatment of cancer. These molecules, which combine a protein (of biological origin) with a cytotoxic agent (of synthetic or plant origin), make it possible to direct these active substances to the very heart of a tumorous cell, without affecting healthy cells. Our research teams have additional expertise in discovering, achieving and evaluating these molecules, combining the expertise of targeted biotherapeutics developed at Saint-Julien-en-Genevois, cytotoxic agents studied at the Toulouse Oncopole, and the chemical knowledge of teams in Toulouse and Castres (Péraudel).

Proximity to clinical practitioners


A large number of our cancer research teams are located at the Toulouse Oncopole. This campus, which is an essential facility of the CAPTOR project (Cancer Pharmacology of Toulouse and Region), known as the National Center of Excellence for cancer research, combines public and private research bodies, clinical practitioners, hospital staff, and patients. It enables close cooperation between researchers and care staff, and promotes better knowledge of diseases and their course. The tighter the links between research laboratories, clinical practitioners and patients, the quicker patients can benefit from the most recent and most effective forms of treatment.