At 86, Weizmann Institute Professor Ruth Arnon is Just Getting Started

Feb 17, 2020 | Biochemistry, Copaxone, Investigator Profiles, Israel, Vaccines, Weizmann Institute

At 886 Weizmann Institute Professor Ruth Arnon is Just Getting Started

At 86, Professor Ruth Arnon is going strong. Exhilarated to wake every morning to hit the laboratory, this world-renowned biochemist from Weizmann Institute of Science is the co-creator of multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone.

Professor Arnon was born in Tel Aviv in 1933 and has pursued medical cures advancing chemical methods to immunology. Presently on the board of Israel-based BiondVax Pharmaceuticals, a Jerusalem-based firm developing an unprecedented, universal influenza vaccine based on many years of research from the Weismann Institute reports the Jerusalem Post

 Arnon became the first female president Israel Academy of Sciences and the Humanities.

Excited about Research

Professor Arnon recently told the Jerusalem Post, “There is nothing more exciting than planning an experiment and getting the results” and continued, “If you get the results you wanted, it’s extremely exciting. If you didn’t expect the results, it can sometimes be even more exciting.”


Professor Arnon was intensively involved with the research and development associated with Copaxone while at Weizmann Institute. The drug was commercialized by Israeli powerhouse Teva—the drug was approved by the FDA in 1996.

Research Interests

Professor Arnon’s team focuses on synthetic vaccines relating to the development of an influenza and anti-cancer vaccine. They have made breakthroughs evidencing efficacy of a synthetic recombinant influenza vaccine, making up a combination of flagella expressing several conserved epitopes in preclinical animal research. On basis of that work her research led to the basis of a vaccine that induces a broad-spectrum anti-influenza immune response in humans has been developed and was revealed to induce protective immunity in SCID mice reconstructed with human lymphocytes. These outcomes formed the core intellectual property that has been leveraged by spinoff Biondvax.

Her work has also centered on multiple sclerosis—her lab has developed a synthetic Copolymer-1 (Cop 1), which was shown to efficiently suppress experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and to be clinically beneficial in multiple sclerosis.


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