R. Jude Samulski, Ph.D., AskBio President, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, has received the inaugural European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ESGCT) Founders Award in Edinburgh, Scotland, during the recent ESGCT 29th Congress.
The Founders Award honors Dr. Samulski’s contribution to the development of engineered recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors, which began 40 years ago with the cloning and rescue of infectious AAV from a recombinant plasmid.* This work laid the foundation for subsequent developments of rAAV vectors capable of expressing foreign sequences, thereby enabling the use of AAV-based vectors for the delivery of various therapeutic genes into mammalian cells. The AAV inverted terminal repeat (ITR) sequences are an essential component of every AAV therapeutic drug. This and other breakthroughs made by Dr. Samulski have since contributed to three rAAV-based gene therapies becoming available for patients and many more in various stages of development.
Dr. Samulski has worked with AAV for 40 years, and for 25 years he was director of the University of North Carolina Gene Therapy Center. Dr. Samulski is a former member of the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC), a committee tasked with assisting the FDA with gene therapy clinical trial approvals in the U.S. He also frequently serves as a gene therapy consultant to the FDA. In 2008, Dr. Samulski was recognized by the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT) with the inaugural Outstanding Achievement Award. He was also invited by Pope Francis to the Vatican in recognition of his work in the treatment of Canavan disease. Dr. Samulski has played an integral role in advancing gene therapies into human clinical trials for hemophilia, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, giant axonal neuropathy, Pompe disease, congestive heart failure and others. He is the inventor of nearly 500 patented technologies related to AAV technology.
Founded in 2001, Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, Inc. (AskBio), is now a wholly owned and independently operated subsidiary of Bayer AG, acquired in 2020.
*Samulski RJ, Berns KI, Tan M, Muzyczka N. Cloning of adeno-associated virus into pBR322: rescue of intact virus from the recombinant plasmid in human cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1982;79(6):2077-2081. doi:10.1073/pnas.79.6.2077