On this episode of The Chain, Dr. Willem Overwijk shares his personal experience of his recent transition from academia to industry, and the differences between the two. Dr. Overwijk moved to industry, in part, to follow his research interest in a specific
molecule that he had been working on since graduate studies: interleukin-2. Thanks to advances in protein engineering, this once ultra-potent molecule now can be administered with lower toxicity while still being an effective cancer therapy. We discuss
IL-2, plus the exciting future of protein engineering in immuno-oncology.
Willem Overwijk, PhD, Vice President Oncology Research, Nektar Therapeutics, Inc.
Willem Overwijk, PhD is
Vice President of Oncology Research at Nektar Therapeutics in San Francisco. He received his MS in Medical Biology from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, trained at the Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD and received his
PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the George Washington University in Washington, DC. He completed his postgraduate training at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam before accepting a faculty position at MD Anderson Cancer Center
where he focused on preclinical and translational research in immuno-oncology. In 2018 he joined Nektar Therapeutics to continue his work on bringing novel immuno-oncology agents to patients, focusing on research and development of Nektar’s
recombinant cytokine portfolio.