"The long duration of drug development relative to the span of a career reminds me that, like the renown landscape gardener, Lancelot "Capability" Brown, one needs to plant for future generations."
I joined Genentech as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 1986 and left as a Senior Scientist and Head of the Postdoctoral Program in 2000. I then rejoined Genentech in 2010 as a Senior Director and Staff Scientist to lead the Antibody Engineering Department. My most significant contributions to drug development include initiating the antibody humanization program at Genentech. I am a co-inventor of five humanized or human antibodies that have reached clinical development, including one humanized antibody that later became a commercial product.
My lab developed technologies for high-level expression of antibody Fab fragments that were subsequently utilized for production of an antibody drug that is now marketed. We also developed "knobs-in-holes" technology for creating bispecific human IgG and other bifunctional molecules. This technology was enabling for a so-called one-armed antibody that was evaluated in phase III clinical trials and four bispecific antibodies that have reached at least phase I clinical trials. I have authored or co-authored about 110 scientific publications that together have been cited more than 15,700 times. I am an inventor or co-inventor on at least 43 issued US patents and 52 published US patent applications. I have co-organized 15 international conferences on antibody engineering and antibody therapeutics. I have delivered about 110 conference presentations and invited lectures including at least 10 keynote presentations.
I joined Genentech as a postdoc in 1986 in the laboratory of Dr James Wells. This was a dream come true and was a launching pad for my career. In the 1990s I became a mentor and tried to pass on what I had learned to my own postdocs. I have had the privilege to lead Genentech’s postdoctoral program (1998-2000) and 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 scientists.
MAbs. 2017 Feb/Mar;9(2):213-230.
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 to patients.
Developing improved antibody drugs is feasible given rapid advances across many different fields. For example, a growing repertoire of antibody discovery and engineering technologies have been developed. Expanding knowledge of the mechanisms of action and resistance of antibody drugs as well as greater knowledge of target pathobiology is also guiding the design of next generation antibodies.