Inspiration from Nature
The DARPin platform has the AMD and DME treatment burden firmly in its sights – but that’s only the beginning
Michael Stumpp | | Hot Topic
In the latter half of the 1990s, medical science and biotech in particular were asking a big question: “What comes after antibodies?”
Antibodies have a strong and successful history and have diverse uses, including drug targeting, diagnostic and research applications. For a time, antibody utility and availability dissuaded people from looking elsewhere – that was until a certain post-doctoral researcher, Patrik Forrer, a co-founder of Molecular Partners, made an enlightening observation: nature also uses a very different class of proteins to achieve the same goal as antibodies. These so-called repeat proteins ultimately provide an immune system that is independent of antibodies. The reality is that immunity to pathogen infections is provided by different mechanisms in plants and animals – and there are surprising similarities and informative differences between the two.
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