Fred Jacobson - Staff Scientist, Protein Analytical Chemistry / Process Technical Development

Fred Jacobson

Staff Scientist, Protein Analytical Chemistry / Process Technical Development

"One of the greatest thrills of my scientific career has been leading the technical development team that converted a great research idea, antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), into a commercial product. What amazing opportunities I’ve been given by virtue of working for a company dedicated to trying to improve the treatment outcomes for some of the most challenging diseases."
Years at Genentech
Publications at Genentech

After earning a Chemistry PhD at MIT in 1981 in the lab of Professor Chris Walsh, I moved west to UC Berkeley for a post-doc in Biochemistry working with Bruce Ames (“Ames test”). More than 30 years later, I still live in Berkeley.

My first, and last, “real job” has been working for Genentech in Process Technical Development. I started out in 1986 as a Scientist in Fermentation and Cell Culture Process Development where my group developed assays for recombinant protein product quality, culture medium nutrients and metabolites, and systems for on-line analysis and control of nutrient feeds. In 1997 I moved to the Protein Analytical Chemistry Department. My current group (of 10 Scientists, RAs, and contractors) is responsible for assay development and product characterization of protein therapeutics in late-stage research through to product launch (and beyond). Since 1999 the major focus of our effort has been antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) where we’ve been responsible for developing the analytical tools needed to characterize the molecular structure, identify product-related variants, and test for product quality as part of manufacturing.

In addition to being a group leader in Protein Analytical Chemistry, I was also the “part-time” Technical Development Team leader for a commercial product from the time it entered our clinical development portfolio until approval. Our team was responsible for delivering a robust, reliable, and properly scaled manufacturing process and quality control testing required by global health authorities. In addition to its approval by the US FDA, the commercial product is now licensed in over 50 countries including Japan, Canada, Korea, Brazil, and the entire EU. The team is now focused on improving the commercial supply-chain through post-approval changes requiring approval from global health authorities.

Featured Publication

Analytical methods for physicochemical characterization of antibody drug conjugates (a review).

MAbs 2011, 3:161–173.

A Wakankar, Y Chen, Y Gokarn, FS Jacobson.

Statistical modeling of the drug load distribution on trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla), a lysine-linked antibody drug conjugate.

Bioconjugate Chem. 2014, 25:1223–1232.

MT Kim, Y Chen, J Marhoul, F Jacobson.