MRCT's role in developing Keytruda ® (pembrolizumab)

MRC Technology offers an antibody humanization service, using the CDR grafting technique which was developed in the MRC’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology. This service helps deliver MRC Technology’s charitable object of assisting the progress of scientific discoveries into therapeutic treatments.

MRC Technology humanized the antibody now known as pembrolizumab for Organon in 2006, an essential step in the success of the therapeutic.

Keytruda was the first to market of a new generation of PD-1 therapies that block the biological pathways cancers use to disguise themselves from the immune system. It acts by making the cancer cell ‘visible’ to the immune system and thus the cell can be destroyed by the body’s natural defence mechanisms.

We are proud that MRC Technology scientists played a significant early-stage role in bringing this new cancer treatment to patients. It represents a significant milestone in the treatment of highly invasive tumours such as advanced melanoma.

To read more about how immunotherapy works read this blog by our Director of Business Development, Michael Dalrymple.

Read our Director of Drug Discovery, Justin Bryan’s article Immunotherapy drugs could herald new era in cancer treatment.