BARCELONA, SPAIN—British biochemist Gregory Winter and U.S. chemist Richard A. Lerner are this year's winners of Spain's prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research. The two researchers are jointly honored "for their decisive contributions to the field of immunology and, in particular, for obtaining antibodies of major therapeutic value," the Prince of Asturias Foundation announced yesterday.
Winter is former deputy director of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, U.K., and founder of several biotechnology companies; he was appointed Master of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge in December 2011. Lerner is the Lita Annenberg Hazen Professor of Immunochemistry in the Department of Molecular Biology at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, California, which he led for 25 years, and is a member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology. The two scientists have pioneered the treatment of degenerative diseases and tumors with specifically designed antibodies, according to the jury, which was unanimous.
"Winter has discovered the way to modify antibody-producing animal cells so that antibodies can function in the human organism without being rejected," the jury said. "Lerner's creation of combinatorial libraries of antibodies enables the construction of immunological repertoires far superior to those produced by the human immune system."