Pharmaceutical Development

PBL gains its first PhD

We are pleased to announce that Dave Gervais, a Senior Scientist and Analytical Innovation Lead at PBL has been awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford Brookes University.

Dave who joined us some five years ago brought with him over 16 years’ worth of experience of R&D, bioprocessing and regulatory expertise gained in industry, including in the USA.

Over the last 4 years Dave has been focused on ensuring that we have first class product characterisation and validation of all the key assays used in our Erwinase® manufacturing process. This has led him to publishing a series of five highly regarded papers in peer reviewed journals, which were accepted by the university as part of the thesis and led them to award the degree which is entitled: “The effect of degradation on the efficacy and utility of the biopharmaceutical enzyme Erwinia chrysanthemi L- asparginase”.

Building on his success, Dave has also recently been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB) and as an Editorial Board Member to the Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology.

Congratulations Dave!

Those wishing to read the papers can find them linked below:


Gervais D, King D. Capillary isolelectric focussing of a difficult-to-denature tetrameric enzyme using alkylurea-urea mixtures. Analytical Biochemistry 2014; 465:90-95. 

Gervais D, Foote N. Recombinant deamidated mutants of Erwinia chrysanthemi L-asparaginase have similar or increased activity compared to wild-type enzyme. Molecular Biotechnology 2014; 56(10):865-877.

Gervais D, Corn T, Downer A, Smith S, Jennings A. Measurement of subvisible particulates in lyophilised Erwinia chrysanthemi L-asparaginase and relationship with clinical experience. AAPS J 2014; 16(4):784-790. 

Gervais D, O’Donnell J, Sung M, Smith S. Control of process-induced asparaginyl deamidation during manufacture of Erwinia chrysanthemi L-asparaginase. Process Biochem 2013; 48(9):1311-1316. 

 Gervais D, Allison N, Jennings A, Jones S, Marks T. Validation of a 30-year-old process for the manufacture of L-asparaginase from Erwinia chrysanthemi. Bioproc Biosyst Eng 2013; 36(4):453-460. 


Gervais D, King D, Kanda P, Foote N, Elliott L, Brown P, Lee NO, Thalassinos K, Pizzey C, Rambo R, Minshull TC, Dickman MJ, Smith S. Structural Characterisation of Non-Deamidated Acidic Variants of Erwinia chrysanthemi L-asparaginase Using Small-Angle X-ray Scattering and Ion-Mobility Mass Spectrometry. Pharmaceutical Research 2015; 32 (11):3636-3648. 

21 November 2015