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Robert N. Hamburger Papers MSS 232
MSS 232  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Biography
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Restrictions

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Robert N. Hamburger Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 232
    Contributing Institution: Mandeville Special Collections Library
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 16.0 Linear feet (41 archives boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1950 - 1992
    Abstract: Papers of Robert N. Hamburger, UCSD professor of pediatrics and researcher in allergy and immunology. Hamburger investigated the relationship between peptides and immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies and synthesized human IgE pentapeptide (HEPP), a substance shown to inhibit allergic response. Included in the collection are laboratory notebooks (1960-1984), extensive research files on Hamburger's allergy studies, correspondence, and Food and Drug Administration documents related to animal and human testing. Also included are business files related to Allergy Peptide Company, Inc. (APCo, Inc.); Cytotech, Inc.; Immunetech, Inc.; Immunetech Research Partners; and Syntex Corporation, biotechnology firms that attempted to develop HEPP as a commercial product. The collection also contains biographical materials, writings, lectures, correspondence, and materials related to Hamburger's involvement in professional organizations. The later accessions include UCSD administrative documents including committtee materials and documents related to the history of the School of Medicine.
    Creator: Hamburger, Robert N.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Robert Hamburger Papers document allergy and immunology research in Hamburger's laboratory at UCSD and the development of human IgE pentapeptide (HEPP). The collection contains laboratory notebooks (1960-1984), research materials on Hamburger's peptide studies, FDA documents, patent and grant material, and writings by Hamburger and others. Also included are business records and agreements with: APCo, Inc.; Cytotech, Inc.; Immunetech, Inc.; Immunetech Research Partners; Enterprise Management Company; and Syntex Corporation, biotechnology firms associated with the development of HEPP. Other materials include UCSD administrative files and development documents for the School of Medicine.
    The BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIAL series contains directory entries, Hamburger's curriculum vitae, news clippings, photographs, correspondence from his sabbatical leave at Guys Hospital, London, a journal of medical notes from Strong Memorial Hospital, and material from Yale University's 25th Class Reunion Symposium .
    The RESEARCH MATERIAL series constitutes the bulk of the collection and is arranged in four subseries: A) Laboratory Notebooks, B) Laboratory Subject Files, C) Patent Files, and D) Grant Files.
    A) The Laboratory Notebooks subseries contains laboratory research data compiled at UCSD by Hamburger, his colleagues and graduate students from 1960-1984. The notebooks contain lupus studies, immune kill studies, immunoglobulin E (IgE) and diphtheria assays, lymphocyte transformation studies, and peptide research data. The notebooks are arranged chronologically. The majority of notebooks in this series contain medical records and are restricted.
    B) The Laboratory Subject Files (1962-1989) subseries contains laboratory notes, general laboratory correspondence, FDA correspondence, and FDA documents. Research contained in this subseries was conducted primarily at UCSD; however, some clinical trials where carried out at other institutions and, in some cases, sponsored by private firms including APCo, Inc., Immunetech, Inc., and the Schering Corporation. The majority of data in this subseries consists of peptide studies and HEPP (human IgE pentapeptide) trials on animals and humans, including subcutaneous testing, toxicology tests, ophthalmic solution testing, and intranasal solution tests. Other studies include Albuterol research, diphtheria-tetanus tests and a twin study. The files are arranged chronologically.
    C) The Patent Files subseries is arranged chronologically and contains patent-related correspondence (1974-1986), agreements between the University of California and APCo, Inc., and drafts of Hamburger's two patents entitled "Polypeptide Agents for Blocking the Human Allergic Response" (1976) and "Method for Blocking Allergic Response" (1979).
    D) The Grant Files subseries contains documentation of research grants from the National Institutes of Health (1962-1979) and the University of California, San Diego (1965 and 1977). Also included is one unfunded grant proposal to the American Cancer Society (1969).
    This series, which includes a bibliography of Hamburger's writings, is arranged in three subseries: A) Abstracts and Reprints, B) Talks and Lectures and C) Book Reviews for Journals.
    A) The Abstracts and Reprints subseries is arranged alphabetically by title and contains materials dated 1950-1986. Included are draft chapters 1-10 of an unpublished book entitled "Pediatric Immunology and Allergy" and writings on passive immune kill, immunoglobulin E (IgE) and other immunology and allergy-related topics.
    B) The Talks and Lectures subseries is arranged alphabetically by title and contains materials dated 1965-1983. Presented at various meetings and classes, materials include manuscript drafts, typescripts, lists of slides, and some correspondence. Lecture topics include immunoglobulin E (IgE), human IgE pentapeptide (HEPP) and other research associated with allergy and immunology.
    C) The Book Reviews for Journals subseries is arranged alphabetically by title of journal and contains book reviews by Hamburger for Annals of Allergy, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine, and Science. Materials in this series, which include correspondence, are dated 1977-1985. SERIES 4: WRITINGS OF OTHERS
    This series is arranged alphabetically by author and includes writings by other authors that Hamburger annotated.
    This series documents the participation of biotechnology and investment firms in developing HEPP as a commercial product and is arranged in six subseries: A) APCo. Inc. (Allergy Peptide Company, Inc.); B) Cytotech, Inc.; C) McKewon and Timmons Investment Bankers; D) Immunetech, Inc.; E) Immunetech Research Partners; and, F) Syntex Corporation.
    A) The APCo, Inc. (Allergy Peptide Company, Inc.), subseries is arranged alphabetically and contains business documents and correspondence from its establishment in 1978 by Robert Hamburger through its dissolution in 1982. For APCo, Inc., sponsored research studies see Series 2. RESEARCH MATERIAL.
    B) Cytotech, Inc., is arranged alphabetically and contains Hamburger's consulting and shareholder materials, including reports, business documents and correspondence dated 1981-1988.
    C) McKewon and Timmons Investment Bankers is arranged alphabetically and contains correspondence and shareholder materials dated 1983-1987. Prior to McKewon and Timmons, Ray McKewon was affiliated with the Enterprise Mangement Company, which was involved in business agreements with Immunetech, Inc., and Immunetech Research Partners. Those materials are located in the following two subseries.
    D) Immunetech, Inc., is arranged alphabetically and contains business agreements, correspondence, financial reports, meeting agendas, meeting minutes, and shareholder materials dated 1976-1992. Materials dated 1981 to 1985 reflect Hamburger's primary involvment with this company, including its establishment and initial business negotiations. For Immunetech, Inc., sponsored research studies see Series 2. RESEARCH MATERIAL.
    E) Immunetech Research Partners is arranged alphabetically and contains business agreements and shareholder materials dated 1981-1982. Most of these materials document the first year of this partnership (1981) between Robert Hamburger, Richard O'Connor and Gary Hahn.
    F) Syntex Corporation is arranged alphabetically and contains a consulting agreement with Hamburger, a license agreement with the University of California Regents and a press release regarding the company, all of which are dated 1976. For Syntex Corporation sponsored research studies see Series 2. RESEARCH MATERIAL.
    Arranged alphabetically, this series contains correspondence, committee rosters and meeting materials for professional organizations in which Hamburger participated. Among the organizations represented are: the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology; the American Academy of Pediatrics; the American College of Allergy and Immunology; the California Medical Association; the Nuffield Foundation; the San Diego County Medical Society; and, the Western Society for Pediatric Research.
    The UCSD GENERAL CAMPUS files are documents pertaining to subjects relating to the administration of the campus and how they relate to the School of Medicine. Subjects include building of the campus, development of academic programs, the activities of individual departments and institutes, and committees Hamburger participated in, at the campus and systemwide levels. The files are arranged alphabetically.
    The series also includes Hamburger's files on the UCSD Chamber Music Series. The files, labeled "Quartet Series," detail Hamburger's involvement in beginning, planning, and supporting the series. Materials include correspondence, programs, notes, planning documents, tickets, and clippings for the series that has evolved into UCSD's ArtPower! Chamber Music Series.
    The materials of the UCSD SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, arranged alphabetically, are administrative and developmental files documenting Hamburger's involvement with committees, curriculum, residency training, and the Basic Medical Sciences building advisement. Included are several folders pertaining to the history of the school of medicine with interviews, events, and planning.
    Documents include the correspondence and typescripts for the UCSD School of Medicine memoir, Origins of the School of Medicine at UCSD , written by Robert Hamburger and the one day symposium (November 1, 1984) transcript drafts and correspondence. The personalized history document honored both the 25th Anniversary of the founding of UCSD and the 20th Anniversary of the School of Medicine. Participants of the symposium included Herbert York, Clark Kerr, Roger Revelle, John Galbraith, Robert Hamburger, and Joseph Stokes.


    Robert N. Hamburger was born in New York on January 26, 1923. He received his B.A. in zoology and chemistry in 1947 from the University of North Carolina and attended Yale University School of Medicine (1947-1951), where he conducted research on LE cells. Hamburger carried out his medical residency at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y., and Yale University School of Medicine. Between 1960 and 1963, as a Special Fellow of the National Institutes of Health, he studied molecular genetics and immunology in the UCSD Department of Biology. In 1964, he was appointed associate professor of pediatrics at the UCSD School of Medicine and served as its Assistant Dean for Faculty and Curriculum Affairs (1964-1969). In 1967, during a six-month semi-sabbatical at Guy's Hospital Medical School, London, he studied the development of immunologic systems in the human newborn. Hamburger was appointed head of the Pediatric Immunology and Allergy Division of the UCSD School of Medicine in 1969.
    Hamburger's laboratory research with immunoglobin E (IgE) during the early 1970s led to the synthesis of a peptide, human immunoglobin E pentapeptide (HEPP), that inhibited allergic reaction in a limited "in vivo" test. He published his findings in an article in Science (August 1, 1975) entitled "Peptide Inhibition of the Prausnitz-Kustner Reaction." The University of California obtained two patents for HEPP: "Polypeptide Agents for Blocking the Human Allergic Response" (1976) for the peptide, and "Method for Blocking Allergic Response" (1979) for a method of delivery. In March of 1977, amid optimism over HEPP's potential as a cure for allergy sufferers, Syntex Corporation, a Palo Alto biotechnology firm, bought the rights and a two year research option to develop HEPP as a product. Syntex dropped the project after a year and a half when no suitable test animal could be found to replicate human response. In 1978, Hamburger entered into an option agreement with the University of California and formed APCo, Inc. (Allergy Peptide Company, Inc.), with the purpose of advancing his research through the first stages of FDA approval.
    In 1981, Hamburger and UCSD doctors Richard O'Connor and Gary Hahn formed Immunetech Research Partners to finance further stages of the peptide research. This partnership purchased the assets of APCo, Inc., including all of its research materials and, signed a research and development agreement with Immunetech, Inc., a separate company formed with venture capitalist Ray McKewon of the Enterprise Management Company. Immunetech, Inc., then purchased both UC-owned patents and attempted to develop HEPP as a product but eventually dropped the project. Hamburger was the first executive vice president of Immunetech, Inc., and was involved in research and development until 1985.
    Robert Hamburger retired from UCSD in 1990 as emeritus professor and continues to conduct private research and development activities.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.

    Preferred Citation

    Robert Hamburger Papers, MSS 232. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.

    Acquisition Information

    Not Available


    Laboratory notebooks and research files containing medical records are restricted until the year 2067. Files containing administrative files are restricted until 2084.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    APCo, Inc
    Cytotech, Inc
    Immunetech Research Partners
    Immunetech, Inc.
    McKewon and Timmons Investment Bankers.
    Syntex Corp
    University of California, San Diego -- Faculty -- Archives
    University of California, San Diego -- History -- Archives
    University of California, San Diego. School of Medicine. Dept. of Pediatrics.
    Allergy--Immunological aspects
    Biotechnology industries--California--San Diego County
    Growth factors
    Immunoglobulin E
    Immunoglobulin E -- immunology
    Immunology -- Research -- United States
    Pediatricians -- United States -- Biography
    Peptides -- Immunology
    Peptides -- Synthesis
    Peptides -- Thereapeutic use