Monday, October 23, 1995
Some people just like to be "where it's at." Vincent Zurawski Jr. was the first researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital to work on monoclonal antibodies, and he was one of the co-founders of Centocor Inc. After 15 years working with MAbs, he was ready for a new challenge.
Zurawski was responsible for the development of CNTO's diagnostic products, and at the end of his tenure there was working full time on cancer. But "this was the age of DNA and molecular genetics, and I wanted to get into that," he said.
In 1992, Zurawski founded Apollon Inc., which is focused on pharmaceutical and vaccine products using "facilitated" DNA injection and delivery technology. The vaccines, delivered via intramuscular injection, contain DNA that encodes antigenic proteins.
Following vaccination, foreign proteins are synthesized inside cells and then presented to the immune system through the major histocompatibility system in a way that stimulates both T cell and antibody responses.
One advantage of DNA-based vaccines is that DNA is very pliable, and scientists