Wednesday, May 9, 2012

2012 PEGS

This year marked the 8th Annual Protein Engineering Group Summit (PEGS) held at the historic Boston Park Plaza Hotel and Towers in Boston, Massachusetts which included over 220 scientific presentations held in 4 concurrent streams: Discovery, Expression, Analytical and Antibodies. Clearly the focus of the conference centered on biologics with streams such as Phage and Yeast Display, Engineering Antibodies, Characterization of Biotherapeutics and Antibodies for Cancer Therapy defining the majority of the sessions. The conference had ~1300 attendees visiting over a five day period and more than 100 poster presentations covering a wide range of applications from target identification to lead optimization to clinical data. More than 60 vendors displayed the latest technology and tools to aid in all aspects of protein engineering and processing.

One notable return to the forefront of biological agents was evident with a stream dedicated to Antibody-Drug Conjugates (ADCs). Many will recall long ago, about 15 years back, when many considered the development of ADCs as potential “magic bullets” that would be developed as highly specific agents targeted against cancer and other such diseases. ADCs are antibody or antibody derived scaffolds linked to a cytotoxic payload that will be highly specific for a therapeutic target. The cytotoxic payload will only be released once the target has been reached thus potentially avoiding adverse affects that accompany treatment with many therapeutic agents currently on the market. New molecular scaffolds, linker chemistries and toxic payloads are providing breakthrough technologies that researchers anticipate will finally help bring novel ADC drugs to the market, as evidenced by the recent approval of brentuximab vedotin (marketed as Adcetris) in August, 2011. Coupled with new insights into mechanisms of immunogenicity, novel assay technologies and improvements in bioprocessing the field of biological therapeutics appears to be gaining momentum with hundreds of clinical trials currently underway.

PEGS presentations

Presentations were held in several locations within the hotel covering a wide range of topics from overcoming challenges in protein expression to bispecific antibody optimization to up-to-date clinical trial data.

Boston Common

Spring was evident with the greening of Boston Common.  Unfortunately it had to be viewed under cloudy or rainy skies for most of the event.
By, BioTek Instruments

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