About the Institute for Protein Innovation
IPI is pioneering a new approach to scientific discovery and collaboration. As a nonprofit, IPI provides academia and industry with synthetic antibodies and deep protein expertise, empowering researchers to unlock the most elusive mysteries of biology.
The Institute for Protein Innovation is the brainchild of scientist and eight-time entrepreneur Timothy A. Springer, PhD, a professor at Harvard University and Boston Children’s Hospital. In 1977, Tim was a postdoc in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate César Milstein, who developed a disruptive protein technology called monoclonal antibodies. Tim went on to deploy them in research, paving the way for antibodies as therapies to treat autoimmune diseases. Tim started multiple companies based on this research and used his earnings to help found companies, such as the biotech company Moderna. Tapping this entrepreneurial spirit, Tim later launched a nonprofit enterprise designed to fulfill an unmet and pressing need.
Antibodies make up nearly half of all drugs on the market. Despite their promise, however, antibodies still face major hurdles. Traditionally, investigators produce antibodies by injecting mice or other animals with a specific target protein. When that protein is nearly identical between species, the animals often fail to generate antibodies, rendering these targets intractable.
At the same time, companies make and sell antibodies for research. Often the products are not properly validated and do not work well in researchers specific assays. It has become difficult to reproduce the results of many pivotal antibody-based studies. The result is a reproducibility crisis that is long plaguing modern science.
Facing this striking dearth of high-quality, well-characterized antibodies, Tim teamed up with co-founder Andrew Kruse, PhD, a Harvard-based expert on G protein-coupled receptors and synthetic antibodies. In 2017, the two consulted with stakeholders from all sectors and launched a free-standing nonprofit institute in the heart of the Boston Longwood Medical Area.
At its heart, lay the IPI Antibody Initiative, a first-of-its-kind effort to generate synthetic, recombinant antibodies against human extracellular and secreted proteins, particularly those that are difficult to make or target. Tim also sought to train a next generation of protein scientists and entrepreneurs, equipping them to address a major knowledge gap between the burgeoning field of genomics and its promise to cure all human disease. To learn more about the IPI Antibody Platform, click here.