Sitting Down With… John Abrams, Chairman and CSO at The Clinical Endocannabinoid System Consortium (CESC) and Principal, Abrams BioConsulting, San Diego, California, USA.
What is your scientific background?
I've been in biotech and pharma for over 40 years. The discovery of monoclonal antibodies came while I was at grad school in the 1970s, and as a budding immunologist it was natural to turn my focus towards these revolutionary new therapeutics. I rode the antibody technology wave, creating tools and reagents for the immunology field – notably cytokine discovery. During the 1990s, I invented a therapeutic antibody in my lab which ultimately became a registered drug worldwide for severe asthma. Along with several other important drugs, this pushed the pharma industry into recognizing antibody therapeutics as a valid product. Today, biologics are blockbuster drugs, but initially they were treated with skepticism. Luckily, I was never afraid to go against the grain.
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