Optimum Strategic Communications sends our heartfelt congratulations to Jane Osbourn OBE, the co-founder and chief scientific officer of Alchemab, who was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the BioIndustry Association last night, in recognition of her achievements as a leading figure in UK life science.
Before founding Alchemab, Jane served as vice president at MedImmune, the biologics arm of AstraZeneca. There, she helped develop the antibody phage display technology that has been vital in the development of several widely-used medicines, including Humira (adalimumab) and Imfinzi (durvalumab).
She was previously Chair of the Board of Directors of the BioIndustry Association (BIA) from 2015-19, and serving as a Member of the UK Medical Research Council Industry Grant Award Assessment Panel. Jane also chairs the Cambridge-based cell therapy company Mogrify and has served as a Director of Babraham Bioscience Technologies and Cambridge Enterprise.
In 2019, Jane was appointed to the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and in the same year her contributions to drug discovery and development were recognized with Scrip’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
At Alchemab, Jane oversees all aspects of the ground-breaking UK biotech’s drug discovery activities. Founded in 2019 and with research labs in Cambridge, Alchemab uses big data analysis to identify naturally occurring protective antibodies shared among unusually resilient individuals. By uncovering these shared antibodies and understanding their protective qualities, the company develops therapeutic products for use in patients who are suffering from hard-to-treat diseases.
Alchemab has an initial focus on neuro-degenerative conditions, but its revolutionary approach can be applied much more broadly. By identifying what keeps us well, rather than what makes us ill, Jane and co-founder Houman Ashrafian, who together devised the strategy, have turned drug discovery on its head.
Jane obtained a degree in Natural Sciences (Biochemistry) from the University of Cambridge and completed a PhD at the John Innes Centre for Plant Science Research in Norwich. This was followed by a postdoctoral position at Rutgers University, New Jersey, before a move into medical research through a British Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Department of Medicine at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.