Gregory Winter (Trinity College, University of Cambridge)
Over the last 20 years, the application of genetic engineering to alter and create novel antibodies has led to a revolution in medicine, with such engineered antibodies being used to treat diseases such as immune disorders and cancer that had proved intractable to treatment with traditional chemical drugs. In turn this has driven a revolution in the pharmaceutical industry, with antibodies jostling with chemical drugs as world-wide best sellers, several with annual sales in the region of billions of dollars. I will describe the origins of the revolution in academia, how it unfolded through biotechnology companies ,and how it finally became established as an integral part of the pharmaceutical industry. I will also discuss possible ways in which the field may develop in the future.