Groundbreaking scientific innovation sits at the heart of everything Amgen does. So it's no surprise that the highest corporate honor for an Amgen staff member is to be recognized for unprecedented achievements in the development of new medicines to help seriously ill patients.
Peter Kufer, vice president of BiTE® technology and site head of Amgen Research Munich (ARM), recently became one of the select few in Amgen's history to receive the George B. Rathmann Award for Scientific Excellence, thanks to his work on the Bispecific T-cell Engager (BiTE®) targeted immune-oncology platform, which works by engaging the patient's own T-cells to accurately identify and then destroy cancer cells.
"Receiving the George B. Rathmann Award is a great honor recognizing 25 years of pioneering work," Kufer said. "The team at ARM and myself feel very privileged for having had the opportunity to contribute to serving patients so impactfully."
The Rathmann award is named after Amgen's first CEO, George Rathmann, himself a pioneer in the business of biotechnology, and it was previously awarded just three times in Amgen's history. Kufer received the award during a corporate leadership meeting in January, where it was presented to him by CEO Bob Bradway and EVP of R&D David Reese.
"We set the bar high here," Bradway said as he announced the honor. "We don't just hand out this award to anyone who's come up with a good idea. We give it only to those who have truly pushed the boundaries of science — to those who have had the foresight, the tenacity, and the conviction to produce a breakthrough therapy that transforms the treatment of patients suffering from serious diseases."
For Kufer, the BiTE® platform represents a lifetime of work dedicated to developing new ways to treat cancer. He presented the BiTE® technology for the first time in 1994, at a conference, while he was a professor and researcher at the University of Munich.
The BiTE® technology invented by his university lab team was later spun off into the German biotech company Micromet, which was acquired by Amgen in 2012, becoming ARM, the company's largest R&D facility outside the U.S. As part of Amgen, ARM's innovative BiTE® technology became the world's first approved BiTE® therapy.