Willem P.C. Stemmer
Willem P.C. Stemmer Draper Prize
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  • Draper
Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering
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Willem P.C. ‘Pim’ Stemmer is founder and CEO of Amunix Inc., Mountain View, California, a company that creates pharmaceutical proteins with extended dosing frequency. Amunix’ products comprise a clinically proven pharmaceutical payload, typically a human protein, genetically fused to ‘XTEN’, a long, unstructured, hydrophilic protein chain..  Like polyethylene glycol, XTEN increases serum half-life by increasing the hydrodynamic radius, thus reducing kidney filtration. In 2008, Amunix joined with Index Ventures to create Versartis Inc. for the purpose of clinical development of three specific products for the treatment of metabolic diseases. 

Pim Stemmer has invented other technologies that have led to other successful companies and products.  In 1993, he invented DNA shuffling, which became known as molecular breeding, and in 1997, he co-founded Maxygen to commercialize the process. His portfolio of patents from Maxygen was consistently ranked in the top five Pharma/Biotech portfolios by MIT’s Technology Review and the Wall Street Journal Patent Scorecard. Prior to 1993, he was a Distinguished Scientist at Affymax and a scientist at Hybritech working on antibody-fragment engineering for color cancer therapy.  In 2001, he invented the Avimer technology, and in 2003, he founded Avidia to commercialize it; he was chief scientific officer of the company until 2005.

Dr. Stemmer has 68 research publications and 97 U.S. patents to his credit and has given more than 300 invited lectures. He is a recipient of the Doisy Award, the Perlman Award, and the NASDAQ VCynic Award. Dr. Stemmer received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985 for his work on bacterial pili/fimbriae and other virulence factors involved in host-pathogen interaction. He completed his post-doctoral work with Professor Fred Blattner at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on phage display of random peptide libraries and antibody-fragment expression in E. coli.

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  • Draper
  • 2011
  • For directed evolution, a method used worldwide for engineering novel enzymes and biocatalytic processes for pharmaceutical and chemical products.