|November 15, 1963
|Founder of multiple biotech companies
|Technical University of Vienna
|Arnold Demain, Anthony Sinskey, JoAnne Stubbe
Tillman Gerngross (born November 15,1963) is an Austro-American scientist.
He is a professor of bioengineering at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College,and an adjunct professor in the departments of biology and chemistry at Dartmouth. Gerngross has been an active inventor and to date his work has resulted in the founding of multiple companies (GlycoFi,Inc.,Adimab LLC,Arsanis,Inc.,Alector [Nasdaq:ALEC],Avitide,Inc.,Amagma,Inc.,Ankyra,and Adagio [Nasdaq:ADGI])and over a dozen U.S. and international patents.
Gerngross was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2017.
Gerngross received a M.S. (Dipl. Ing.) in chemical engineering (1989) and later a Ph.D.in molecular biology from the Technical University of Vienna,Austria. Following his studies in Austria he became a visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the laboratory of the late Arnold Demain (1989–91) and later joined the laboratory of Anthony Sinskey and JoAnne Stubbe at MIT as a postdoctoral associate from 1991 to 1993. From 1993 till 1998 he headed the fermentation and process development group at Metabolix Inc.,a small startup company in Cambridge,Massachusetts.
In 1998 he left industry to join the faculty at Dartmouth where he focused his research on protein engineering,glycoprotein engineering in yeast,and life cycle analysis of competing manufacturing technologies. In addition to this work,Gerngross’lab also developed a novel protein expression system based on the industrial fermentation organisms Ralstonia eutropha ,formerly Alcaligenes eutrophus . With certain model proteins,this expression system has shown to outperform E. coli ,the well proven workhorse of prokaryotic protein expression.The work on Ralstonia eutropha was later expanded in collaboration with Prof. Wood at Princeton University to combine recombinant expression of proteins with the ability to purify them in vivo.
In the late 1990s Gerngross became one of the first vocal critics of biobased processes. By using life cycle assessment tools he demonstrated the shortcomings of bioplastics and similar biomass based technologies intended as a substitute for the petrochemical processes used today. His main findings showed that changing from petrochemical to biomass-based processes often worsens their environmental impact and increases the emissions of carbon dioxide when compared to conventional processes based on fossil fuel stocks. With the recent mandate to increase biofuel content in the United States this area of research has become increasingly important,but to date has failed to guide public policy in the United States.
Arguably,Gerngross' most important biotechnological contribution consisted of humanizing the glycosylation machinery in yeast to produce human therapeutic proteins,including antibodies,with fully human carbohydrate structures.Much of this work was conducted at Glycofi,Inc.,a Lebanon,New Hampshire biotechnology startup company that was acquired in 2006 by Merck in a record-setting $400 million transaction.
His work has been frequently cited in the popular press including The Times (London),CNN, Scientific American ,BBC, The Guardian , The Economist , New Scientist , Nature Biotechnology and the Los Angeles Times . He has most recently been covered by the Boston Globe, CNBC, First Rounders, Evaluate Pharma, STAT and numerous others.
In 2000 Gerngross co-founded Glycofi,Inc.and served as the company's Chief Scientific Officer until its acquisition by Merck &Co. in the spring of 2006. In the fall of 2006 Dr. Gerngross joined SV Life Sciences as a venture partner where he advises on investments in the bio-therapeutics area. SV Life Sciences manages five investment funds with an aggregate capital of about $1.6 billion. In 2007 Dr. Gerngross co-founded Adimab LLC. with Prof. Dane Wittrup at MIT and Errik Anderson to develop a novel platform for the discovery of human antibodies in yeast. Gerngross stepped down from heading Adimab in February 2023,and was replaced by lawyer Philip Chase. To date the company has raised five rounds of venture financing from Polaris Ventures,SV Life Sciences, Google Ventures,OrbiMed Advisors, and Borealis Ventures and employs about 70 people in Lebanon,New Hampshire.
In 2020,Gerngross cofounded Adagio as a spinout of Adimab which was developing a treatment for COVID-19. In Feb. 2022,Tillman Gerngross resigned as head of the company amid concerns about the efficacy of the drug.The company changed its name to Invivyd and broadened its focus in September 2022. There is currently a pending case of fraud against Tillman related to Adagio in Massachusetts,filed January 2023. In January 2022,Gerngross introduced a new company,Amagma,which also focused on developing antibodies. Amagma was folded in 2023,and the status of its assets are unknown.
2004:GlycoFi is awarded Scientific American’s Top 50 Award for the most innovative manufacturing technology.
2006:The readers of Nature Biotechnology select Gerngross amongst the most remarkable and influential biotechnology personalities of the decade.
2007:Gerngross and Glycofi co-founder Charles Hutchinson are named New Hampshire Entrepreneurs of the Year to honor their success with GlycoFi.
2017:Gerngross received the Contrarian Award from Xconomy in 2017.
Genentech,Inc. is an American biotechnology corporation headquartered in South San Francisco,California. It became an independent subsidiary of Roche in 2009. Genentech Research and Early Development operates as an independent center within Roche. Historically,the company is regarded as the world's first biotechnology company.
An expression vector,otherwise known as an expression construct,is usually a plasmid or virus designed for gene expression in cells. The vector is used to introduce a specific gene into a target cell,and can commandeer the cell's mechanism for protein synthesis to produce the protein encoded by the gene. Expression vectors are the basic tools in biotechnology for the production of proteins.
Recombinant DNA (rDNA) molecules are DNA molecules formed by laboratory methods of genetic recombination that bring together genetic material from multiple sources,creating sequences that would not otherwise be found in the genome.
Biolex Therapeutics was a biotechnology firm in the Research Triangle of North Carolina which was founded in 1997 and raised $190 million from investors. It filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on July 5,2012.
Pharming,a portmanteau of "farming" and "pharmaceutical",refers to the use of genetic engineering to insert genes that code for useful pharmaceuticals into host animals or plants that would otherwise not express those genes,thus creating a genetically modified organism (GMO). Pharming is also known as molecular farming,molecular pharming or biopharming.
Komagataella is a methylotrophic yeast within the order Saccharomycetales. It was found in the 1960s as Pichia pastoris,with its feature of using methanol as a source of carbon and energy. In 1995,P. pastoris was reassigned into the sole representative of genus Komagataella,becoming Komagataella pastoris. Later studies have further distinguished new species in this genus,resulting in a total of 7 recognized species. It is not uncommon to see the old name still in use,as of 2023;in less formal use,the yeast may confusingly be referred to as pichia.
Yeast display is a protein engineering technique that uses the expression of recombinant proteins incorporated into the cell wall of yeast for isolating and engineering antibodies.
Biotechnology is the application of scientific and engineering principles to the processing of materials by biological agents to provide goods and services. From its inception,biotechnology has maintained a close relationship with society. Although now most often associated with the development of drugs,historically biotechnology has been principally associated with food,addressing such issues as malnutrition and famine. The history of biotechnology begins with zymotechnology,which commenced with a focus on brewing techniques for beer. By World War I,however,zymotechnology would expand to tackle larger industrial issues,and the potential of industrial fermentation gave rise to biotechnology. However,both the single-cell protein and gasohol projects failed to progress due to varying issues including public resistance,a changing economic scene,and shifts in political power.
Cupriavidus necator is a Gram-negative soil bacterium of the class Betaproteobacteria.
Biomolecular engineering is the application of engineering principles and practices to the purposeful manipulation of molecules of biological origin. Biomolecular engineers integrate knowledge of biological processes with the core knowledge of chemical engineering in order to focus on molecular level solutions to issues and problems in the life sciences related to the environment,agriculture,energy,industry,food production,biotechnology and medicine.
A subunit vaccine is a vaccine that contains purified parts of the pathogen that are antigenic,or necessary to elicit a protective immune response. Subunit vaccine can be made from dissembled viral particles in cell culture or recombinant DNA expression,in which case it is a recombinant subunit vaccine.
John McCafferty is a British scientist,one of the founders of Cambridge Antibody Technology alongside Sir Gregory Winter and David Chiswell. He is well known as one of the inventors of scFv antibody fragment phage display,a technology that revolutionised the monoclonal antibody drug discovery. McCafferty and his team developed this process following failures previously generating antibodies by immunizing mice. Later improvements of antibody phage display technology enables the display of millions of different antibody fragments on the surface of filamentous phage and subsequent selection of highly specific recombinant antibodies to any given target. This technology is widely exploited in pharmaceutical industry for the discovery and development of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies to treat mainly cancer,inflammatory and infectious diseases. One of the most successful was HUMIRA (adalimumab),discovered by Cambridge Antibody Technology as D2E7 and developed and marketed by Abbott Laboratories. HUMIRA,an antibody to TNF alpha,was the world's first phage display derived fully human antibody,which achieved annual sales exceeding $1bn therefore achieving blockbuster status. Humira went on to dominate the best-selling drugs lists - in 2016:The best selling drugs list researched by Genetic Engineering &Biotechnology News,published in March 2017,details that Humira occupied the number 1 position for 2015 and 2016. Whilst for 2017,Abbvie reports that Humira achieved $18.427billion of sales in 2017
Synthetic antibodies are affinity reagents generated entirely in vitro,thus completely eliminating animals from the production process. Synthetic antibodies include recombinant antibodies,nucleic acid aptamers and non-immunoglobulin protein scaffolds. As a consequence of their in vitro manufacturing method the antigen recognition site of synthetic antibodies can be engineered to any desired target and may extend beyond the typical immune repertoire offered by natural antibodies. Synthetic antibodies are being developed for use in research,diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Synthetic antibodies can be used in all applications where traditional monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies are used and offer many inherent advantages over animal-derived antibodies,including comparatively low production costs,reagent reproducibility and increased affinity,specificity and stability across a range of experimental conditions.
Professor Peter Gray is a bioengineer who has played a key role in the development of modern industrial biotechnology in Australia. He was Professor and Head of Biotechnology at the University of New South Wales (UNSW),Sydney,from 1988 –2003,and was the inaugural Director of the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) at The University of Queensland in Brisbane,Australia from 2003 –2015.
Kevin Donald Lustig is an American scientist and entrepreneur and founder of three life science companies:the pharmaceutical company Kalypsys in 2001;the online research marketplace Scientist.com in 2007;and the non-profit lab incubator Bio,Tech and Beyond in 2013.
Creative Biolabs,Inc. is a life-science company which produces and supplies biotech products and services for early drug discovery and development,including various phage display libraries such as pre-made libraries,phage display services,antibody sequencing,and antibody humanization. Customers include pharmaceutical companies,academic institutions,government agencies,clinical research organizations and biotechnology companies.
Transient expression,more frequently referred to "transient gene expression",is the temporary expression of genes that are expressed for a short time after nucleic acid,most frequently plasmid DNA encoding an expression cassette,has been introduced into eukaryotic cells with a chemical delivery agent like calcium phosphate (CaPi) or polyethyleneimine (PEI). However,unlike "stable expression," the foreign DNA does not fuse with the host cell DNA,resulting in the inevitable loss of the vector after several cell replication cycles. The majority of transient gene expressions are done with cultivated animal cells. The technique is also used in plant cells;however,the transfer of nucleic acids into these cells requires different methods than those with animal cells. In both plants and animals,transient expression should result in a time-limited use of transferred nucleic acids,since any long-term expression would be called "stable expression."
Host cell proteins (HCPs) are process-related protein impurities that are produced by the host organism during biotherapeutic manufacturing and production. During the purification process,a majority of produced HCPs are removed from the final product. However,residual HCPs still remain in the final distributed pharmaceutical drug. Examples of HCPs that may remain in the desired pharmaceutical product include:monoclonal antibodies (mAbs),antibody-drug-conjugates (ADCs),therapeutic proteins,vaccines,and other protein-based biopharmaceuticals.
ChoKyun Rha was a Korean-born American food technologist,inventor,and professor of biomaterials science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She was the first Asian woman awarded tenure at MIT.
Ram Sasisekharan is an Indian-American researcher and bioengineer the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Best known for leading the international team that identified oversulfated chondroitin sulfate as a contaminant in the US heparin supply in 2007 and 2008,he had developed antibodies for dengue,yellow fever,Zika and SARS-CoV-2 infections.