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June 20, 2012
2012 Prince of Asturias Award Goes to Lerner and Winter
The 2012 Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research has been given to Prof. Richard A. Lerner and Sir Gregory Winter for their studies on the immune system. Their research efforts have expanded the ways in which antibodies can be used as therapeutic tools, from combating tumors to treating and even preventing immune disorders.
Both scientists have been at the frontier of developing human (or humanized) antibodies with therapeutic potential, a critical aspect that prevents the patient's body from recognizing these as foreign biomolecules. In 1989, Winter founded Cambridge Antibody Technology, which has successfully marketed a number of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. The same year saw the publication of Lerner's seminal paper in Science, which laid the foundation for subsequent combinatorial antibody library designs on a wider scale through phage display.
In 2009, Winter founded another biotechnology company, Bicycle Therapeutics, and the aims of this more recent venture include the use of phage selection to identify and optimize cyclic peptides that are both specifically bioactive and protease resistant. The results of some recent collaborative work on bicyclic peptides can be found in ChemMedChem: “Bicyclic Peptides with Optimized Ring Size Inhibit Human Plasma Kallikrein and its Orthologues While Sparing Paralogous Proteases” (DOI: 10.1002/cmdc.201200071).
Visit the Fundación Príncipe de Asturias website for more detailed information about the award itself and this year's recipients.