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The Lock and Key of MedicineMonoclonal Antibodies and the Transformation of Healthcare$
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Lara V Marks

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300167733

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300167733.001.0001

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The Wild West of Antibody Commercialization

The Wild West of Antibody Commercialization

(p.110) Chapter Six The Wild West of Antibody Commercialization
The Lock and Key of Medicine

Lara V. Marks

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the pioneers who commercialized monoclonal antibodies (Mabs) from the late 1970s. Those who did so were entering totally uncharted territory. Not only was the technique still in its infancy, but how it could be used also remained unknown. The enterprise was full of risk, because the scientists needed both to raise capital and to meet the regulatory criteria. Among these profit-seekers were both experienced entrepreneurs and novices who were united by a sense of adventure and excitement about what the technology promised and its potential to make money. David Murray, who founded Sera-Lab in 1971, was the first to engage in the marketing of Mabs; he began to distribute Milstein's cells commercially starting in February 1977. Other notable players in the industry include Hybritech, a company designed to sell Mabs for research; and Centocor, whose funders sought to use Mabs as a means to break into the immunodiagnostics market and eventually into therapeutics. By the late 1980s, as Hybritech and Sera-Lab began to fade from view, Centocor was one of the very few monoclonal antibody companies making a profit.

Keywords:   commercialization, Mabs, monoclonal antibodies, David Murray, Sera-Lab, Hybritech, Centocor

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