Index Ventures has appointed Kevin Johnson, a prominent expert in antibody technology, as a partner for life sciences. He will be based in the Swiss company’s London office.
Dr Johnson joined Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT) soon after its formation in 1990, directing the company's pioneering monoclonal antibody research. Among other things, he was involved with developing Humira, the first human monoclonal antibody to reach the market.
He extended his career in antibody development by becoming chief executive of PanGenetics BV, which became a portfolio company of Index Ventures in 2005.
At PanGenetics, Dr Johnson developed an “asset-centric” model which appealed to Index Ventures. This model involved selecting promising human or humanized antibodies for in-licensing. Then, contract research organisations and contract manufacturers were used to develop the antibodies to the point where buyers were attracted. For example, in November 2009, PanGenetics sold its anti-NGF antibody, which then was undergoing Phase 1 trial for patients with osteoarthritis, for $170 million upfront, plus additional milestone payments of up to $190 million.
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