Nobel Laureates’ visit has special significance for Immunovia
Following the official ceremony in Stockholm, the shared winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry, George P. Smith and Sir Gregory P. Winter, visited Medicon Valley to give inspiring presentations on their pioneering work in developing ways of producing human antibodies, the proteins produced by the immune system to help stop intruders from harming the body. In 1985, George Smith developed an elegant method, known as phage display, where a bacteriophage – a virus that infects bacteria – can be used to evolve new proteins, while Sir Gregory P. Winter used phage display for the design of antibody libraries and selection of therapeutic antibodies. The ambitious aim was to produce a whole new class of pharmaceuticals based on the human immune system. The first therapeutic antibody based on this method, adalimumab, commonly known as Humira, was approved in 2002 and is used for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel diseases. Since then, phage display has produced antibodies that can neutralise toxins, counteract autoimmune diseases and cure metastatic cancer. The visit was particularly relevant for Immunovia, since we use phage display to produce the scFv antibodies that form the backbone of our IMMray™ testing platform. Placed on a chip, these antibodies are able to recognise a disease fingerprint or biomarker signature from a patient’s blood, resulting in an effective way of diagnosing diseases, such as cancer and autoimmune diseases earlier as well as monitoring patient recovery.
Immunovia’s co-founder, Professor Carl Borrebaeck was also delighted to welcome the Nobel Laureates: ”Their work has been truly pioneering and I have had the pleasure of collaborating with Sir Gregory P. Winter on numerous occasions. Using antibodies for both diagnosis, as we do here in Immunovia, as well as for therapy is revolutionising medicine and bringing new hope to millions of patients worldwide.”