Antibody therapeutics represents a major breakthrough in combating human diseases and the improvement of human health. This is reflected by the recent trend in drug discovery and development. In 2000, nine of the top 10 medicines were small molecules while only one was a recombinant protein but by 2008, a short eight years later, half of the top 10 medicines are recombinant proteins and antibodies. This trend will continue as about 50% of the new drugs in various stages of clinical development are antibodies. Despite the remarkable progress, many scientific, technological, and clinical challenges remain and opportunities for innovation exist at every level: accessing difficult antibody targets, novel antibody sources and formats, crossing the brain-blood-barrier and cell membranes, modified effector functions, poly- monoclonals, improved formulation and delivery methods, and lower manufacturing cost, to name a few. This presentation will review the history and current trend in therapeutic antibody discovery to fulfill the dream of personalized medicine through basic research and technological innovation.
About Dr. An:
Dr. An received his Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky, Lexington, followed by postdoctoral training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before joining the IMM, he was Chief Scientific Officer at Epitomics, Inc., a biotech company dedicated to developing monoclonal antibodies for research, diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Previously, he was Director of Biologics Research, Merck Research Laboratories. In his tenure at Merck, Dr. An played a major role in the creation of Merck's biologics research department including the establishment of the antibody technology platform and pipeline. Dr. An started his biotech/pharmaceutical career at Millennium Pharmaceuticals where he focused on biocombinatorial natural products drug discovery using microbial molecular genetics and engineering approaches.