Sir Gregory Paul Winter CBE FRS FMedSci (born 14 April 1951) is a British biochemist, a pioneer of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. He invented techniques to both humanise (1986) and, later, to fully humanise using phage display, antibodies for therapeutic uses. Previously, antibodies had been derived from mice, which made them difficult to use in human therapeutics because the human immune system had anti-mouse reactions to them.
He is a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge and was installed as the Master of Trinity on 2 October 2012. He was previously Deputy Director of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Medical Research Council, and Head of the Division of Protein and Nucleic Acids Chemistry.
Winter was educated at the Royal Grammar School, Newcastle. He went on to study Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge graduating from Trinity College, Cambridge in 1973. He was awarded a PhD for research on the amino acid sequence of tryptophanyl tRNA synthetase from the bacterium Bacillus stearothermophilus in 1977.
Following his PhD, Winter completed postdoctoral research at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge.
Winter founded Cambridge Antibody Technology in 1989, and Bicycle Therapeutics. He is on the Scientific Advisory Board of Covagen, and is also the chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board for Biosceptre International Limited.
In 1989, Winter was a founder of Cambridge Antibody Technology, one of the early commercial biotech companies involved in antibody engineering. One of the most successful antibody drugs developed was HUMIRA (adalimumab), which was discovered by Cambridge Antibody Technology as D2E7, and developed and marketed by Abbott Laboratories. HUMIRA, an antibody to TNF alpha, was the world's first fully human antibody, which achieved annual sales exceeding $1bn- see Pharmaceutical drug#Other/related topics. Cambridge Antibody Technology was acquired by Astrazeneca in 2006 for £702m.
In 2000, Winter founded a company called Domantis to pioneer the use of domain antibodies, which use only the active portion of a full-sized antibody. Domantis was acquired by the pharmaceutical GlaxoSmithKline in December 2006 for £230 million.
Winter subsequently founded another company, Bicycle Therapeutics Limited as a start up company which is developing very small protein mimics based on a covalently bonded hydrophobic core.
Awards and honours
Winter was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1990 and awarded the Royal Medal by the society in 2011 "for his pioneering work in protein engineering and therapeutic monoclonal antibodies, and his contributions as an inventor and entrepreneur". He was given the Scheele Award in 1994. In 1995, Winter won several international awards including the King Faisal International Prize for Medicine (Molecular Immunology) and in 1999, the Cancer Research Institute William B. Coley Award. Winter was formerly the Joint Head of the Division of Protein and Nucleic Acid Chemistry-Biotechnology, and is Deputy Director, at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, an institution funded by the UK Medical Research Council. He was also Deputy Director of the MRC’s Centre for Protein Engineering until its absorption into the Laboratory of Molecular Biology. He is a member of the Advisory Council for the Campaign for Science and Engineering. Winter was appointed CBE in 1997 and Knight Bachelor in 2004. He is currently Master of Trinity.