Amgen’s Adrian Bennis spoke at Inspirefest 2016 about how the Irish-based company is developing new weapons in the war against cancer.

One such immunotherapy method is known as the Bispecific T cell Engager – or BiTE for short – that boosts the ability of the body’s T cells to fight off not only infections, but also cancer.

With the addition of specially harnessed BiTE antibodies, T cells have a valuable aid in helping to identify the evasive cancer cells that a regular T cell would be unable to distinguish from a health cell.

This potentially game-changing technology is now to be developed at Amgen’s base in Dún Laoghaire, thanks to the facility being capable of lyophilisation, which enables it to freeze-dry pharmaceutical products.

“That puts Ireland and our industry right at the cutting edge of bringing the next generation of medicines to fight cancer,” said Amgen’s principal engineer of drug product technology, Adrian Bennis.

“I believe that in the next short while, we’re going to have the same successes in fighting cancer as we had with fighting pathogens and viruses that invade our body.”

Words by Colm Gorey