Microbiology: Current Research

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Novel monoclonal antibodies for the prevention and treatment of bacterial infections

October 18-19, 2017 Toronto, Canada

Steven J Projan

MedImmune, UK

Keynote : Microbiology: Current Research


The second decade of the twenty-first century marks a perfect storm of patent expirations, contracting western economies, and increasing demands from “payers” that pharmaceuticals demonstrate cost effectiveness of their drugs. The result is the shrinking of “big pharma” right before our eyes and nowhere has the impact been felt more than in infectious disease research at large pharmaceutical companies. All the while bacterial resistance to antibiotics is increasing even as the number of new drugs being developed to treat bacterial infections is at its lowest point, since the dawn of the antibiotic era. This surfeit of new agents implies that the traditional approaches to drug discovery and development have run their course and novel (entrepreneurial, opportunistic) approaches for the treatment and prevention of microbial infections (and forestalling the emergence of resistance) are required. Against that background, we have seen an increasingly convoluted regulatory regime with indications being parsed finer and finer yet with larger numbers of patients required to reach arbitrary (but often clinically meaningless) statistical endpoints. To date, there has been some modest biologics drug discovery efforts to discover novel antibacterial agents for the prevention and/ or treatment of Staphylococcal, Pseudomonal and Clostridium difficile infections but these efforts now appear to be picking up speed and are progressing in the clinic. Is there hope?


Steve J Projan is the head of Infectious Diseases and Vaccines Innovative Medicines unit (iMED) at MedImmune, leading a cross-functional team dedicated to the therapeutic area strategy, prioritization and advancement of the company’s infectious disease and vaccine portfolio. He has joined MedImmune in 2010 as Senior Vice President of Research and Development and head of the Infectious Diseases and Vaccines iMED. Prior to joining MedImmune, he served as Vice President and Global Head of Infectious Diseases at Novartis. He has previously spent 15 years at Wyeth in roles of increasing responsibility, with his last post as Vice President and Head of Biological Technologies. During his time at Wyeth, he has started the Biologics Discovery Group (covering all therapeutic areas) and initiated multiple collaborations and partnerships, most notably with Cambridge Antibody Technology (now a part of MedImmune/AZ). Prior to his work in the industry, he spent 14 years at the Public Health Research Institute and presently has over 110 publications to his credit. He has received a Bachelor of Science from MIT, and, from Columbia University, a Master of Arts and Philosophy in Biological Sciences and a Doctorate in Molecular Genetics.

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