Sir Marc Feldmann, Emeritus Professor at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, University of Oxford has been awarded the 2020 Tang Prize in Biopharmaceutical Science. He was announced as joint winner alongside Charles Dinarello (US), and Tadamitsu Kishimoto (Japan) "for the development of cytokine-targeting biological therapies for treatment of inflammatory diseases."
Dr Feldmann received the award for his research into the molecular mechanisms of auto-immune inflammatory diseases. This revealed that tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a protein which regulates immune and inflammatory cells was a good therapeutic target in rheumatoid arthritis. This discovery led to the development of an anti-TNF antibody that Feldmann, and his clinical research colleague Maini, proved to be very effective against rheumatoid arthritis and has since enabled millions of patients to regain control of their lives. Anti-TNF was also shown to be effective in inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis and ten other conditions. It was the first antibody therapy of a common disease, is the world's best-selling drug class, and facilitated the widespread uptake of antibody therapy by the pharmaceutical industry.
"It is wonderful to receive a prestigious International award, such as the Tang Prize, as it recognizes the esteem of those best placed to judge, one's peers, of the impact of my work. Coming 20 years after the first prize I received, the Crafoord prize of the Royal Swedish Academy, is especially pleasing as it reflects the long lasting impact of anti-TNF therapy on medicine. It is a pleasure to share this prize with esteemed colleagues, Tadamitsu Kishimoto and Charles Dinarello, but I would like also to dedicate it to my long term partner in anti-TNF therapy Sir Ravinder Maini," said Dr Feldmann. "My current priority is working with colleagues in Oxford to evaluate whether anti-TNF will be an effective treatment for the hyperinflammation in COVID-19."
Established by Taiwanese entrepreneur Dr. Samuel Yin, the biannual Tang Prize awards up to three recipients in each of four categories. It aims to promote the interaction and cooperation between culture and technology so as to find a 21st century path to the sustainable development of the world.