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Mark Luttman profile image

Breathing life into an idea for a respiratory medicine

Meet Mark Luttmann, one of our respiratory pioneers. Mark was on the drug discovery team for a key component of several of our COPD medications. He is a member of a lucky group of R&D scientists who’ve had the most coveted experience of discovering a medicine which makes its way to patients. In Mark’s case, this has been a journey of more than 10 years of development.

To me, Live Every Breath means focusing our efforts so that our patients can breathe better. They can’t take it for granted and neither should we.

Mark Luttman profile image

Decades of Dedication

Mark joined GSK 28 years ago as a scientist in drug discovery. In the early 2000s, he became part of the team working within Respiratory to develop a long-acting, once-daily, muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) which could be used in combination with other respiratory medicines.

As a biologist, Mark worked with a team of chemists to evaluate a number of compounds they thought might have the potential to be effective.

While he and the team saw positive results in early testing of one particular compound, they did not know if it would pass all of the hurdles required to demonstrate the efficacy and safety needed for patients. After extensive testing in the lab, working to understand how the candidate medicine functioned and impacted disease processes in tissues, Mark and the team were able to progress the key compound to early clinical studies.

“One of the most exciting moments of my career was when I joined a presentation where clinical results were shared showing the medicine’s positive results and proof of concept. The team knew then that we had potentially discovered a medicine that might benefit patients,” said Mark. 

Mark is not only proud of the work of the entire team in the discovery of this medicine, but also proud of GSK’s leadership in the respiratory field.

GSK has a longstanding effort to improve understanding of the disease and how it is treated and, for many years, GSK has worked with global leaders to discuss COPD, define what the disease means to those who suffer from it, and differentiate it from asthma.

Mark experienced what is was like to facilitate the birth of an idea through to a concept that could help patients breathe better – patients like his 90-year-old aunt who has struggled with COPD for 10 years. His experience is but one of many that drive GSK’s ongoing commitment to patients with COPD.

“When you get to experience that with a loved one…something you have worked on for decades…it really hits home.”