Research Fellows Directory
Professor David James
University of Sheffield
DCJ's laboratory is focused on the production processes underpinning a new wave of biological protein drugs (biopharmaceuticals) based on recombinant DNA, such as disease-targeting monoclonal antibodies. Unlike “traditional” small-molecule drugs such as penicillin and paracetamol, biopharmaceutical proteins are large, complex and relatively fragile molecules which have to be produced by living mammalian cells in culture, genetically engineered to produce the recombinant protein product. They are proving to be highly successful treatments for serious diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and a range of cancers. It is anticipated that within the next five to ten years up to fifty percent of all drugs in development will be biopharmaceuticals.
Biopharmaceutical development and production processes (bioprocesses) are complicated and time-consuming. This makes the final drug product very expensive and limits the rate at which new drugs can be produced for testing in the clinic. DCJ's laboratory works with industrial partners on a wide range of technological approaches that may enable rapid, high-level production of more potent biopharmaceuticals by the engineered mammalian cell “factory”.