Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center of NYU Langone Establishes Pioneering Program in Biologics

Published: Wednesday, Oct 07, 2015

Shohei Koide, PhD

Shohei Koide, PhD

The Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center of NYU Langone Medical Center is establishing a pioneering program in biologics research -- one of the country’s first academically-based programs of its kind. In taking this innovative step, the Center has appointed Shohei Koide, PhD, an internationally renowned leader in protein engineering, to lead the new initiative.

“No other academic medical institution on the East Coast has a major presence in biologics research,” said Dafna Bar-Sagi, PhD, professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology and senior vice president and vice dean for science at NYU Langone, in announcing the new initiative. “Dr. Koide, in partnership with other NYU Langone researchers, will help us develop a world-class cancer biologics research program that will have synergistic effects throughout our institution, giving our investigators greater access to this powerful technology.”

Dr. Koide will join NYU Langone on March 1, 2016 as Director of Cancer Biologics at the Perlmutter Cancer Center, one of 69 centers designated by the National Cancer Institute. He is known worldwide for a number of major contributions to the field of biologics, specifically in protein design and antibody engineering.

Biologics are medicinal products manufactured in, extracted from or synthesized from biological, as opposed to chemical, resources. They also are generally protein-based drugs, as opposed to small organic molecules. Biologics and, in particular, monoclonal antibodies and their derivatives play an increasingly important therapeutic role across all medical disciplines, particularly in oncology. Biologics are developed by extending our natural capacity to fight diseases, so they can precisely and potently hit a therapeutic target. “Biologics is a rapidly expanding frontier in medicine, and I am very excited to join the staff of NYU Langone and the Perlmutter Cancer Center to help build what I am confident will be a premier program,” Dr. Koide said. “The future for the Perlmutter Cancer Center in this field is bright with promise and potential, and I look forward to being a part of it.”

“Currently, eight of the top 10 selling pharmaceuticals are biologics, and numerous new biologic therapies are on the way,” noted Benjamin G. Neel, MD, PhD, director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center. “Unlike small molecule drug development, which is largely chemistry-based and often ill-suited for academic medical centers, many biologics have been developed within academia. Also, whereas less than five percent of small molecule drugs that enter clinical trials make it to market, about 20 percent of biologics actually become drugs.”

The establishment of a dedicated program in biologics builds on the Perlmutter Cancer Center’s commitment to invest in promising individuals who can help advance its research endeavors. It also creates greater opportunity to develop partnerships with biopharmaceutical companies under the auspices of NYU Langone’s Office of Therapeutic Alliances (OTA).

“This program gives us a unique niche among cancer centers and, equally important, a valuable pipeline to biologic agents with considerable clinical and commercial potential,” said Robert J. Schneider, PhD, the Albert B. Sabin Professor of Molecular Pathogenesis, associate dean and director of OTA. “Most importantly, we hope that therapies emanating from this program ultimately will help our cancer patients, and cancer patients worldwide.”

Dr. Koide joins a growing list of impressive researchers and clinicians who have recently joined the faculty of NYU Langone and its Perlmutter Cancer Center. Earlier this summer, immunotherapy expert Jeffrey S. Weber, MD, PhD, formerly of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL, signed on as deputy director of Perlmutter, co-director of its melanoma program and head of experimental therapeutics. In addition, Andrew S. Chi, MD, PhD, will join Perlmutter as chief of neuro-oncology and co-director of the NYU Langone Brain Tumor Center, following a distinguished career at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School.

About Shohei Koide, PhD

Dr. Koide joins NYU Langone and its Perlmutter Cancer Center after serving on the faculty at University of Chicago since 2002, most recently as professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, director of the medical school’s biomolecular nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) facility and a member of its Committee on Cancer Biology. In addition, he is a scientific co-director of the Chicago Biomedical Consortium, and also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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