Dr. Desjarlais is an internationally recognized leader in the field of antibody and protein engineering for the creation of novel therapeutic modalities to treat a variety of diseases, including autoimmune diseases and cancer. Since joining Xencor in 2001, Dr. Desjarlais has overseen the company’s engineering, discovery, and preclinical work on antibodies and other proteins. With his coworkers, Dr. Desjarlais has developed several novel technologies for the optimization of antibodies and other proteins, including FcγR-enhancing substitutions and half-life extension technologies that are widely used in marketed and clinical-stage antibodies, and an industry-leading bispecific antibody platform. Dr. Desjarlais has directed Xencor’s research organization in the discovery of multiple therapeutic antibody candidates, including CD3 bispecific antibodies, CD28 bispecific antibodies, checkpoint bispecific antibodies, and cytokine-Fc fusions for treatment of a variety of diseases. These efforts have led to ongoing partnerships with Amgen, Janssen, and Genentech, and the development of numerous internal and partnered clinical-stage antibodies, including Alexion’s recently approved Ultomiris™, which incorporates Xencor’s Xtend Fc domain to prolong half-life and reduce dosing frequency.
Dr. Desjarlais oversees all of Xencor’s discovery research and preclinical activities, from project conception and candidate generation through preclinical proof-of-concept and early development. Prior to Xencor, Dr. Desjarlais was an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Penn State University (1997-2001), where he developed and tested computational methods for the de novo design of proteins. He began his work in the field of protein design as a Jane Coffin Childs Fellow at U.C. Berkeley. Dr. Desjarlais holds a Ph.D. in Biophysics from the Johns Hopkins University and a B.S. degree in Physics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.