"My passion is the pursuit of breakthrough antibody-based therapeutics that transform the lives of patients."
I joined Genentech as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 1986 and left as a Senior Scientist and Head of the Postdoctoral Program in 2000. I had the good fortune to rejoin Genentech in 2010 as a Senior Director and Staff Scientist to lead the Antibody Engineering Department where I am now a Genentech Fellow.
I began research on antibodies many years ago when it was unclear if these complex proteins would ever provide meaningful benefit to patients. I co-initiated antibody humanization at Genentech with a novel and patentable method. This technology has utilized over many years for the discovery of 9 approved antibody products that have been used to treat millions of patients worldwide. We developed ‘knobs-into-holes’ technology that was incorporated into a one-armed antibody and 6+ bispecific antibodies that have reached clinical trials. We also developed a common light chain technology has used by several different companies for developing bispecific antibodies including 1 approved product. We invented technologies for high-level expression of antibody Fab fragments in E. coli used for 1 approved antibody product.
I have authored or co-authored 117+ scientific publications that together have been cited 22,800+ times. I am an inventor or co-inventor on 49+ granted US patents and 62+ published US patent applications. I have co-organized 20+ international conferences on antibody engineering and antibody therapeutics. I have delivered 125+ conference presentations and invited lectures including 16+ keynote presentations.
I joined Genentech as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 1986 in the laboratory of Dr James Wells. This was a dream come true for me that launched my career. In the 1990s I became a mentor and tried to pass on what I had learned to my own postdocs. I have been privileged to lead Genentech’s postdoctoral program (1998-2000) as well as the postdoctoral programs at 2 other premiere biotechnology companies. One of my greatest sources of professional satisfaction is in mentoring a few of the next generation of antibody engineers, including helping them to launch their own careers.
Nature Reviews Drug Discovery (2018) 17, 197-223
My research interests focus on inventing new antibody technologies and applying them to develop future generations of antibody therapeutics. My prime motivator is the desire to create breakthrough antibody drugs with novel or enhanced functions that provide new options for patients.
In recent years I have spent much time thinking about the future of antibody therapeutics and how to make currently intractable targets druggable. We view this as pursuit of the ‘high-hanging fruit’ – see featured publication.