Napoleone Ferrara
  • 2010 Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award


Italian-American molecular biologist. Dr Ferrara won the 2010 Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award “for his discovery of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) and his work in the development of a therapy for people suffering from wet age-related macular degeneration.”

Education and Work Experience

1981, University of Catania
1988-2013, Scientist, Senior Scientist, Staff Scientist, Fellow, Genentech, Inc.
2013-Present, Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology and Pathology、 Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Ophthalmology & Pharmacology, UCSD
Senior Deputy Director for Basic Sciences, Moores Cancer Center

Honors and Awards

2010, Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award 2013, Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences
2014, Canada Gairdner International Award
2015, Member of the United States National Academy of Medicine

Major Academic Achievements

In the biotechnology giant Genentech, Dr Ferrara pioneered the development of new treatments for angiogenic diseases such as cancer, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and diabetic retinopathy. At Genentech, he discovered VEGF - and made the first anti-VEGF antibody - which suppresses growth of a variety of tumors. These findings helped lead to development of the first clinically available angiogenesis inhibitor, bevacizumab (Avastin), which prevents the growth of new blood vessels into a solid tumor and which has become part of standard treatment for a variety of cancers. Ferrara's work led also to the development of ranibizumab (Lucentis), a drug that is highly effective at preventing vision loss in intraocular neovascular disorder.