Edward F. Fritsch

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Edward F. Fritsch
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Born (1950-06-06) June 6, 1950 (age 74)
CitizenshipUnited States Of America

Edward F. Fritsch (born June 1, 1950), is a scientist and serial entrepreneur in the field of molecular biology and cancer immunology.

Fritsch is best known for his work in molecular cloning. As a postdoctoral fellow under Tom Maniatis at California Institute of Technology, Fritsch entered the field of recombinant DNA by constructing the first complete library of the human genome along with Dr. Richard Lawn [1][2]. In 1982, Fritsch, Joe Sambrook and Tom Maniatis, wrote Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual[3], which was considered "omnipresent in Molecular Biology laboratories and utilized to the point where it is frequently referred to as ‘The Bible’.”[4]. Fritsch helped initiate and for four years co-taught the widely successful Cold Spring Harbor course on Molecular Cloning[5]. Fritsch’s work in molecular cloning continued at Genetics Institute, acquired by Wyeth in 1992, where he turned his recombinant DNA focus to the discovery and production of therapeutic recombinant proteins, including the cloning of the Erythropoietin (EPO) gene[6]. Fritsch then joined Phylos, Inc. to utilize a novel in vitro, directed-evolution technology to discover novel protein therapeutics, eventually becoming Chief Scientific Officer[7].

Fritsch later worked with Drs. Cathy Wu and Nir Hacohen at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, [8]. There he led the development of NeoVax, a first-in-class personalized neoantigen cancer vaccine through IND approval and successful execution of two clinical trials[9][10][11].

In 2015, Fritsch co-founded Neon Therapeutics, Inc. [12], (acquired by BioNTech in 2020 for $67M) [13], as Chief Technology Officer with the goal of bringing personalized cancer vaccines and other neoantigen-based life-saving therapies to a broad number of cancer patients [14]. In 2019, Fritsch left Neon to re-join the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute to focus on the next generation of cancer vaccines.

In addition to his professional work, in 2015 Fritsch established and funded a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization (the Fritsch Foundation), and together with Ute Burkhardt co-founded Accelerating Cancer Immunotherapy Research (ACIR)[15]. ACIR’s mission is to fast-track cancer immunotherapy research by helping researchers stay informed of the latest results. In 2019, ACIR's work was recognized by the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce with a Visionary Award[16].

Fritsch has completed the last 9 Pan-Mass Challenge rides, a two day bike ride across most of the state of Massachusetts to raise funds for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute[17]. He is consistently a top 10% and a life-time Silver (> $100,000) fundraiser [18]. In 2011, Fritch's wife of 40 years, Jan Fritsch, died of breast cancer. In 2015 his son, Matt Fritsch, died of melanoma. [19].


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