IONTAS Limited (IONTAS), a leader in the discovery and optimization of fully human antibodies, announced that its Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. John McCafferty (photo), was invited to attend the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in recognition of his pivotal contribution to the development of antibody phage display technology. The event, held in Stockholm, Sweden, on December 10, celebrated the 2018 Nobel Laureates and the success of phage display technology in modern drug discovery and development, which the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences recognized in this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry (https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/chemistry/2018/press-release/). Sir Gregory Winter (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK) and Dr. George Smith (University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA) jointly received one half of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2018 “for the phage display of peptides and antibodies.” Dr. Frances Arnold (California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA) was awarded the other half “for the directed evolution of enzymes.” Dr. Smith published his breakthrough paper on display of peptides on filamentous bacteriophage in 1985. Inspired by this, Dr. Winter and Dr. McCafferty then applied the approach to antibody display, with the aim of producing new pharmaceuticals. While working in Dr. Winter’s group, Dr. McCafferty became the first to demonstrate the display of functional antibodies on the surface of phage (McCafferty et al., Nature, 1990) (https://www.nature.com/articles/348552a0). This landmark achievement, cited by the Nobel committee, made it possible to create “libraries” of phage particles containing billions of different human antibody genes from which antibodies to any target could be easily isolated.
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