Immuno-Oncology Summit Europe: Speaker Bios
Hinrich Abken, Ph.D., Professor & Head, Research, Molecular Medicine, University of Cologne
Dr. Hinrich Abken is Professor for Genetics & Immunology at CMMC (Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne) at the University of Cologne and Dept I Internal Medicine, Oncology-Hematology at the University Hospital Cologne where he is working towards the development of adoptive cell therapy of malignant diseases using engineered T cells. Dr. Abken studied medicine at Essen University, doctoral thesis at the Institute for Molecular Biology, and was post-doc at the Institute for Cell Biology (Prof Rajewsky). He received his venia legendi in Genetics and Immunology from the Faculty of Science of the Rheinische Wilhelms Universität Bonn where he was group leader at the Institute for Genetics. In 1993 he became C3 University Professor for Tumor Genetics at the Medical Faculty of the University of Cologne and is member of the CMMC with an Independent Research Group.
Amir R. Aref, Ph.D., Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Amir R. Aref, is a staff scientist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the Belfer Center, made the important discovery in that it is possible to culture primary tumors in a novel 3D microfluidic system, by digesting them with collagenase and capturing spheroids that are composed of a mixture of tumor and immune cells. In addition, he has demonstrated the ability to treat these tumor spheroids with small molecule inhibitors and measure cytokine responses by collecting conditioned media from the device. This innovative technology is a major advance upon traditional 2D cell line culture and even organoid systems, which require time to establish and lack the immune microenvironment.
Roy D. Baynes, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Head, Global Clinical Development, CMO, Merck Sharp & Dohme
Roy Baynes is Senior Vice President and Head, Global Clinical Development at Merck Sharp & Dohme. He was previously Senior Vice President of Oncology, Inflammation and Respiratory Therapeutics at Gilead Sciences and prior to that was Vice President Global Clinical Development, and Therapeutic Area (TA) Head for Hematology / Oncology, at Amgen Inc. He graduated as a Medical Doctor and obtained a Master of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. He has had a long and distinguished career in the haematology-oncology-and stem cell transplantation fields, including drug development, basic research, clinical practice, clinical research, teaching and administration. He is a member of many international societies, including the American Society of Hematology (ASH), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and has authored some 150 publications. Before joining Industry in 2002, he was the Charles Martin Professor of Cancer Research at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, an NCI designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA.
Stephen Beers, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Cancer Sciences Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton
Stephen Beers joined the University of Southampton, Faculty of Medicine in 2002. He leads a research group within Cancer Sciences studying antibody drugs and their mechanisms of action. The group’s research is currently focussed on two main areas: 1) the mechanisms of action of immunomodulatory mAb, and 2) how the tumour microenvironment affects antibody effector function and how this might be manipulated to enhance patient outcomes. Their work utilises a portfolio of complimentary models incorporating in vitro 3D modelling, appropriate in vivo model systems and primary clinical material.
Chiara Bonini, Ph.D., Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele and Ospedale San Raffaele, Milan
Kerry Chester, Ph.D., Professor, UCL Cancer Institute
Kerry Chester leads the Antibody Engineering Group at the UCL Cancer Institute. She has over twenty years’ experience in antibody engineering and antibody phage-display technology. Her main research interests are design and construction of antibody-based therapeutics and the interaction of these molecules with specific cancer targets. The work is largely translational; her group designed and manufactured the first single chain Fv antibody (scFv) to enter clinical trials and she is the academic lead of a GMP facility, manufacturing recombinant antibody-based cancer treatments for first-in-human trials. Current projects include bench-to-bedside development of antibodies for use as: cancer imaging agents, antibody drug conjugates, chimeric antigen receptors (CARS) and nano-medicines.
Shaun Cordoba, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Autolus
Angus Dalgleish, M.D., Professor, Oncology, St. George’s University of London
Professor Dalgleish was appointed as foundation chair of oncology at St George’s, University of London in 1991. He graduated MBBS at University College, London, in 1974, having done an intercalated BSc in anatomy with Professor J Z Young, FRS. After training as a general physician and specialist medical oncologist he joined Professor Robin Weiss, then head of the Institute of Cancer Research as a clinical research fellow in 1984. His project was on human retroviruses and he was a co-discoverer of the fact that HIV used CD4 as a receptor and senior author of the paper that first linked HIV infection to slim disease in East Africa. In 1987 he became a Medical Research Council clinical research fellow at the Northwick Park Clinical Research Centre. Here he continued his work on HIV pathogenesis and became part of an EU group focused on the correlates of immune protection. During this time, the association with the induction of immune activation and disease was shown to be absolute, correlating with the observations in chimpanzees. Professor Dalgliesh was awarded the Joshua Lederberg Prize in 2012.
John Desjarlais, Ph.D., CSO, Xencor, Inc.
Dr. Desjarlais is the Senior Vice President, Research and Chief Scientific Officer at Xencor, Inc. Since joining Xencor in 2001, Dr. Desjarlais has overseen the company’s engineering work on antibodies and other proteins. With his coworkers, Dr. Desjarlais has developed several novel technologies for the optimization of antibodies and other proteins, including a platform for generation of bispecific antibodies, and has led the discovery of multiple novel antibody drug candidates for treatment of a variety of diseases. Dr. Desjarlais manages all of Xencor’s research activities, from project conception and candidate generation through preclinical proof of concept and early development. Prior to Xencor, Dr. Desjarlais was an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Penn State University (1997-2001), where he developed and tested methods for the de novo design of protein sequences. He began his work in the field of protein design as a Jane Coffin Childs Fellow at U.C. Berkeley. Dr. Desjarlais holds a Ph.D. in Biophysics from the Johns Hopkins University and a B.S. degree in Physics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Joseph Dukes, Ph.D., Head, Preclinical Biology, Cell Biology, Immunocore Ltd
After finishing his under- and post-graduate studies in biochemistry and cell biology, Joe continued his research as a Post-doctoral fellow in the field of endocytic trafficking with a focus in oncology, at the University of Bath (Bath, UK). Following completion of his post-doctoral studies, Joe joined Immunocore Ltd in 2011 as a senior scientist in the preclinical group in Cell Biology. Joe now heads up this group which oversees the screening and in vitro safety and efficacy assessments of ImmTAC molecules prior to first time in human clinical trials.
Lindy Durrant, Ph.D., Professor, Cancer Immunotherapy, University of Nottingham; Joint CEO & CSO, Scancell
Dr. Lindy Durrant is an internationally recognised immunologist in the field of tumour therapy and has worked for more than 20 years in translational research, developing products for clinical trials including cancer vaccines and monoclonal antibodies for diagnostic imaging and therapy. She runs an academic team at the University of Nottingham producing oncolytic monoclonal antibodies for cancer therapy. The most advanced product is in Phase II clinical trial in the US for pancreatic cancer. She has over 120 publications and over 50 patents and has significant experience in working with Industry in the commercialization of the technology developed in her research. She is cofounder of and joint CSO of Scancell who developed two cancer vaccine platforms namely ImmunoBody® and moditope® with the most advanced product SCIB1 in Phase II clinical trials for the treatment of melanoma.
Andrea van Elsas, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Aduro Biotech Europe
Andrea van Elsas became Chief Scientific Officer of Aduro Biotech Europe in November 2015. He completed his thesis on melanoma antigens and their use in cancer immunotherapy in 1996 (Leiden University Medical Center). A KWF (Dutch Cancer Society) fellowship allowed him to study manipulation of T cell co-stimulation using antibodies blocking CTLA-4 for the treatment of cancer at the University of California in Berkeley, CA. He is a co-inventor on the original patents that formed the basis for the development of ipilimumab. After his academic career, Andrea joined Organon where he was involved in the foundation of the Organon Research Center in Cambridge, MA. Between 2007 – 2009, he served in Cambridge as Head of Oncology Biologics Discovery for Organon and POC team leader for Schering-Plough’s Immune Oncology portfolio. He managed various discovery alliances with biotech and academia in the field of Oncology and he is a co-founder of BioNovion.
Zelig Eshhar, Ph.D., Chair, Cancer Immunotherapy, Research and Development, Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv
Prof. Zelig Eshhar earned a BSc (1963) in Biochemistry and Microbiology and an MSc (1966) in Biochemistry, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His doctoral research (1968) was undertaken in the Department of Chemical Immunology at the Weizmann Institute of Science, supervised by Profs. David Givol and Michael Sela., Prof. Eshhar served as a Research Fellow with Prof Baruj Benaceraf in the Department of Pathology of Harvard Medical School. In 1976, he returned to the Weizmann Institute and joined the faculty in the Department of Chemical Immunology. From 1995-1998, and from 2002-2005, he served as Chairman of the Institute's Department of Immunology. Currently, Prof Eshhar serves as Active Prof Emeritus at the Weizmann Institute and from 2012 as Chairman of Immunology Research in Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Professor in the Faculty of Medicine of Tel Aviv University and Sackler School of Medicine. Amongst Prof. Eshhar’s honors and prizes are ESGCT Outstanding Achievement Award, 2013, the Journal of Human Gene Therapy, Pioneer Award for Seminal Work in Gene and Cell Therapy, 2014, the 2014 Massry Award for excellence in Immunotherapy and the Teva, Eli Hurwitz Award for excellence in Immunology, 2014, and in 2015 the most prestigious Israel Prize in Life Sciences.
David Feltquate, M.D., Ph.D., Vice President, Oncology Development, Bristol-Myers Squibb
Dr. Feltquate is currently Vice President of Oncology Development at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS). He joined the Oncology Development organization at BMS in 2006 and has held several positions of increasing responsibility. Most recently, he was the Development Lead for Ipilimumab/Nivolumab Life Cycle Management focusing on the development of both compounds in a variety of tumors including GI malignancies, GBM, HCC, GYN malignancies, and Hematologic malignancies. Prior to this, he was the Clinical Lead for nivolumab leading the clinical group in the strategy, design, execution, and analysis for the initial registrational program of nivolumab in Melanoma, RCC, and NSCLC including the first approval of an IO-IO combination (Ipi/Nivo in Melanoma). Dr. Feltquate received his undergraduate degree in Biology from MIT and M.D., Ph.D. (Immunology) degrees from the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He conducted residency training in Internal Medicine at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center where he also served as Chief Medical Resident. He received his Oncology Fellowship training at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center with a focus in GU Oncology.
Tariq Ghayur, Ph.D., Distinguished Research Fellow, DVD-Ig and Novel Biologics, Global Biologics, Abbvie, Inc.
Tariq Ghayur received his Ph.D. (1986) in Immunology from Department of Physiology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada. He did his post-doctoral training at McGill (1986-’88) and Dana Farber Cancer Institute (1988-’90). Prior to AbbVie, Tariq worked at BASF Pharma (1990 – 2001) and Abbott Laboratories (2001 – 2012). He has worked on both small molecule and therapeutic antibody discovery programs, mainly defining the biology/pathology of selected targets (target validation) and developing assays for high throughput screening and/or candidate selection. From 1998-2004, he led two therapeutic antibody discovery project teams and delivered 2 drug development candidates. In 1999, Tariq initiated the dual – / multi – targeting biologics program that resulted in the discovery of dual-variable-domain (DVD) – IgTM molecules and other multi – targeting biologics. Currently four DVD-Ig molecules are in clinical development.
David Gilham Ph.D Vice President Research and Development Celyad S.A.
David Gilham has recently moved in September 2016 to join Celyad S.A. as Vice President Research and Development. Prior to this, he was a Reader in Cancer Immunotherapy at the Institute of Cancer Sciences, University of Manchester. Dr Gilham has been working on engineered T cell therapy for over 20 years with Professor Robert Hawkins focusing upon understanding CAR structure and function and working to deliver early phase testing of first generation CAR T cells in Clinical trials in Manchester.
Bruno Gomes, Ph.D, Director, Tumour Immunology, Iteos Therapeutics
Bruno Gomes joined iTeos Therapeutics in 2015 and became Director of Tumor Immunology one year later. He was the project leader of the IDO1 inhibitor PF-06840003/EOS200271 who entered phase 1 clinical trial in September 2016. After an education of Doctor in Veterinary Medicine, he completed his PhD in immunology on the identification and characterization of a new signaling pathway in lymphocytes involved in allergic and inflammatory diseases. Then Bruno build a strong expertise in pharmacology, oncology and immuno-oncology as an Oncology Study Director in Sanofi and Research Scientist in Pierre Fabre Pharmaceuticals. Between 2010-2015, he served as Head of in Vivo Oncology in Pierre Fabre Pharmaceuticals. He led various preclinical and translational programs with targeted drugs, kinase inhibitors and onco-immunology drugs.
Lucie Heinzerling, M.D., Ph.D., MPH, Head of Dermatooncology, University Hospital of Erlangen
Prof. Heinzerling received her Ph.D. in immunology. She is a trained dermatologist and has worked at the University of Zurich (Institute of Medical Virology), at the Cantonal Hospital in St. Gallen, Switzerland, and at the Charité in Berlin. She has been a consultant for the German Technical Cooperation, the World Bank, and for McKinsey & Company. She holds an MPH from Harvard, has worked as Medical Director at the Poverty Action Lab in Busia, Kenya, and is currently Head of Dermatooncology at the University Hospital in Erlangen, Germany. Her research interests include immunotherapy in cancer including gene therapy, biomarkers, and oncolytic viruses. She has conducted numerous IITs.
Lana Kandalaft, Pharm.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor & Director, Center for Experimental Therapeutics, Department of Oncology, University of Lausanne; Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Ludwig Cancer Research Lausanne Branch
Prof. Lana Kandalaft is an Assistant Professor at UNIL and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine. She is currently heading the Center of Experimental Therapeutics, an integrated structure of clinical services, manufacturing facilities and laboratory platforms in the Department of Oncology, at the CHUV and the Swiss Cancer Center Lausanne. Prof Kandalaft has strong expertise in clinical development, regulatory policies and translational research. She is interested in translational cancer immunotherapies, including cancer vaccines, cell-based immunotherapy and genetically-modified cell therapy and moving novel research ideas into clinical trials. She has a special focus on immunotherapy of ovarian cancer and also heads a basic laboratory, which focuses on developing novel strategies for personalized vaccines. Previously, as the Director of Clinical Development and Operations of the Ovarian Cancer Research Center at University of Pennsylvania, Prof. Kandalaft played a crucial role in the development and implementation of cell-based and gene therapy clinical protocols. She successfully developed and submitted to FDA several IND applications for investigator-initiated clinical trials, led a team of research nurses and coordinators to manage the trials, and another team responsible for the process development and the production of cellular therapies. Prof. Kandalaft has a Pharm.D and Ph.D in cell biology and drug delivery from The Welsh School of Pharmacy, Cardiff, UK. She also holds a Masters in Translational Research (MTR) from the University of Pennsylvania, US. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship training at The National Cancer Institute, US.
Bo Kara, Ph.D., Head, Process Development, Cell & Gene Therapy Platform, CMC, GSK.
Bo Kara leads the development of manufacturing processes for GSK’s cell gene therapy vector and autologous cell processing platforms. Bo has nearly 30 years’ experience in designing research and development programmes to develop scalable and validatable manufacturing processes for biologics products. He has published widely and is primary inventor on a range of process/stem cell patents. He has developed a keen understanding of the technical, regulatory and commercial issues faced at each stage of the development of manufacturing processes.
Maria Karasarides, Ph.D., Senior Director, Immuno-Oncology, Global Medicines Development, AstraZeneca
Maria Karasarides, Ph.D. is a Sr. Director in the Immuno-Oncology Late Stage Clinical Group at AstraZeneca. She oversees the clinical strategy and scientific development of novel combinations utilizing an immunotherapy backbone with a key focus on identifying tumor-host interactions that propagate an anti-tumor immune response. Prior to joining AstraZeneca, Dr. Karasarides was a senior leader at early-stage companies within the Cambridge biotechnology hub, where she worked on the development of small molecule inhibitors, nanoliposomal chemotherapies and inducible gene therapy platforms across multiple tumor types. Prior to that she was with Bristol-Myers Squibb, NJ, where she was an integral member of the ipilimumab (Yervoy®) team and played a key role in the approval of Yervoy®. Dr. Karasarides holds a Ph.D. in biology/biochemistry and conducted her graduate research at the Cleveland Clinical Foundation, Cleveland, OH focusing on RAS /PI3K signaling followed by post-doctoral fellowships at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK, and the Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Boston, MA.
Ioannis Karydis, D.Phil., MRCP, Associate Professor, Oncology, Cancer Sciences Unit, University of Southampton
Tom Lillie, M.D., Ph.D., Vice President and Head, European Clinical Development, Merck Sharp & Dohme
Tom Lillie is the Vice President and Head of European Clinical Development for Merck Sharp & Dohme. Dr. Lillie completed his undergraduate training at Brasenose College, University of Oxford, where he was awarded a first class degree in pharmacology, cell biology and immunology, before earning his doctorate from the Department of Physiology at the University College of London. He then completed his medical education at the University College London Medical School, receiving honors distinction in clinical pharmacology and surgery. He is a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians. Tom has led global, regional and affiliate medical teams, encompassing both clinical development and medical affairs functions. He has extensive experience in clinical research phase 2 - phase 4, and in supporting regulatory, safety and reimbursement interactions. During his clinical and industry career he has specialised in oncology and haematology, but has also worked in cardiovascular and neurologic disease areas.
John Maher, MD, Ph.D., Consultant and Senior Lecturer, Immunology, Cancer Studies, King’s College London
Dr John Maher is a clinical immunologist and immunopathologist who leads the "CAR Mechanics" research group within King's College London. His research group is focused on the development of adoptive immunotherapy using CAR engineered and gamma delta T-cells. He is also chief scientific officer of a spin-out company named Leucid Bio and is a consultant immunologist within King's Health Partners.
Ryan McCoy, EngD, MEng, Senior Process Development Scientist, Industrialization Group, Cell and Gene Therapy, Catapult
Ryan McCoy has over 10 years’ process development experience in cell therapy and regenerative medicine, working in both industry and academic settings. He completed a MEng in Biochemical Engineering and an EngD in Biochemical Engineering and Bioprocess Leadership at University College London (UCL), before completing a post-doctorate at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). He has worked with a broad range of autologous and allogeneic cell therapy types, with particular focus historically on cancer immunotherapies and bone mechanobiology. At Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult his role as a Senior Process Development Scientist sees him utilising a risk-based approach, focusing on innovation and process efficiency, for Cost of Goods reduction and industrialisation of the field.
Alan Melcher, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Translational Immunotherapy, The Institute of Cancer Research, London
Professor Alan Melcher graduated in medicine from the University of Oxford in 1989, and trained in Clinical Oncology (Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy) in Cardiff, London and Leeds. Following completion of his PhD at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK) in London, he was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Mayo Clinic, Minnesota, before returning to the UK, where he became Professor of Clinical Oncology and Biotherapy in Leeds in 2007. In April 2016, he moved to The Institute of Cancer Research, London, as Professor of Translational Immunology and Honorary Consultant Oncologist at The Royal Marsden Hospital, London. He combines a clinical practice in melanoma with laboratory and translational research focused on oncolytic viruses and immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer.
Paul Moore, Ph.D., VP, Cell Biology and Immunity, Macrogenics, Inc.
Dr. Moore has approximately 20 years’ experience working in biotech, coordinating efforts focused on the discovery and development of novel biologic based therapies. He began his biotechnology career at Human Genome Sciences, where he directed genomic-based target discovery programs and the preclinical development of various protein and mAb based therapeutics for the treatment of cancer, metabolic, and autoimmune diseases. Notably these efforts led to the discovery of BLyS as a B-cell survival factor providing the basis for the development of Benlysta for the treatment for lupus. At MacroGenics, Dr Moore leads a group dedicated to the discovery, characterization and development of novel antibody based therapeutics including Fc-optimized and bispecific based DARTs for the treatment of cancer or autoimmune disease. Dr Moore obtained his PhD from University of Glasgow, performed post-doctoral work at Hoffman La Roche.
Dario Neri, Ph.D., Professor, Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich
Dario Neri studied Chemistry at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa and earned a PhD in Chemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich), under the supervision of Professor Kurt Wüthrich. He then performed post-doctoral research at the Medical Research Council Centre in Cambridge (UK), under the supervision of Sir Gregory Winter. He has now been a Professor at the ETH Zürich since 1996.
The research of the group Neri focuses on the engineering of therapeutic antibodies for the therapy of cancer and other angiogenesis-related disorders. Other research activities include the chemical proteomic discovery of novel vascular markers of pathology and the development of DNA-encoded chemical libraries. Dario Neri is a co-founder of Philogen (www.philogen.com), a Swiss-Italian biotech company which has brought five antibody-based products into multicenter clinical trials for the therapy of cancer and of rheumatoid arthritis.
Dario Neri has published over 300 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals. He is the recipient of the ISOBM Abbott Prize 2000, of the Amgen-Dompe’ Biotec Award 2000, of the Mangia d’Oro 2001, of the Prous Award 2006 of the European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry, of the Robert-Wenner-Prize 2007 of the Swiss Cancer League, of the SWISS BRIDGE Award 2008, of the Prix Mentzer of the French Medicinal Chemistry Society in 2011, of the Phoenix Prize 2014 and of an ERC Advanced Grant in 2015.
Christian Ottensmeier, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Experimental Cancer Medicine, University of Southampton
Dr. Christian Ottensmeier is Professor of Experimental Cancer Medicine at the University of Southampton. He graduated in Münster, Germany and began his specialist training there. After a 3 year training fellowship at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, he moved to Southampton. He completed his oncology training and also undertook his Ph.D. He has been a consultant in medical oncology since 2000. Clinically his interests are thoracic malignancies and melanoma, and he has co-developed a number of national NCRI studies in lung cancer. He manages a broad and active clinical trials portfolio in both lung cancer and melanoma. Christian leads the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre in Southampton and the early translation of immunotherapeutic strategies into the clinic is his core academic interest. He has served on a number of industry advisory boards and DSMBs for industry led studies and is also a member of the Clinical Development partnership between Cancer Research UK and Astra Zeneca. Christian holds programmatic funding from Leukemia and Lymphoma Research and Cancer Research UK.
Mark Paris, Ph.D., Technical Liaison, Mitra Biotech
Mark is the technical lead for Mitra’s biopharma marketing effort and works with clients to craft custom solutions for their drug development needs. He spent 16 years in commercial antibody discovery and clinical development focusing on immuno-oncology. He has >12 years of experience running core molecular and immunohistochemistry labs. He is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University with a Ph.D. in Genetics.
Madhusudan Peshwa, Ph.D., CSO, MaxCyte
Dr. Peshwa currently serves as Chief Scientific Officer at MaxCyte, having joined the Company in 2005. He was Executive Vice President for Research and Development at NewNeural, a start-up stem cell therapy company. Previously, Dr. Peshwa served as Vice President of Manufacturing and as Vice President of Process Sciences at Dendreon Corporation (NASDAQ: DNDN), where he was responsible for development, characterization and manufacture of an autologous dendritic cell vaccine product from concept to late Phase III pivotal studies. His expertise is in the areas of design, characterization, scale-up and implementation of processes, and in cGMP systems for the development of engineered cell and tissue products and for biopharmaceuticals production. Dr. Peshwa obtained his PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota and his BTech in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India. He is a co-author on over 35 scientific publications and is a co-inventor on five, issued or under review, patent applications.
Sergio A. Quezada, Ph.D., Professorial Research Fellow, UCL Cancer Institute
Dr. Sergio Quezada is a Professorial Research Fellow and Group Leader at UCL Cancer Institute in London where he heads the Immune Regulation and Tumour Immunotherapy Laboratory. Prior to this, Dr. Quezada worked with Dr. James Allison at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center studying the mechanisms governing anti-tumour T-cell immunity, and how these mechanisms can be manipulated for the generation of potent anti-tumour immune responses. Dr. Quezada’s research interest at UCL remains focused in the study of the mechanism of action of anti-CTLA-4, anti-PD-1 and other immune-modulatory antibodies targeting co-inhibitory and co-stimulatory pathways (including ICOS, 4-1BB, OX-40) and used as novel anticancer therapies. His group has particular interest in the evolution of the immune response to cancer, the impact of immune-modulatory antibodies in the fate and function of tumour reactive T cells, and the role that the tumour microenvironment plays in the response and resistance to such therapies. Dr Quezada is a Cancer Research UK Career Development fellow and the recipient of a Cancer Research Institute investigator Award.
Christine Rothe, Ph.D., Vice President, Discovery & Alliance Management, Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Christine Rothe serves as VP Discovery & Alliance Management at Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. In this position she oversees technology development as well as the discovery process of selecting and profiling of Anticalin® proteins. In addition, she holds responsibility for the Alliance Management team. She joined Pieris in 2010 as Senior Director Alliance Management. Prior to joining Pieris, she worked at MorphoSys AG in various positions in R&D and Alliance Management. She received a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from the University of Regensburg, Germany. Before joining industry she held a research position at the University of Regensburg.
Sabatos-Peyton, Ph.D., Senior Investigator II, Exploratory Immuno-Oncology, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR)
After graduating from Fordham University with a B.S. in Biology, Catherine spent a year at the University of Oxford on a Fulbright Fellowship, studying the role of the immune system in autoimmune diseases. During her Ph.D. in Immunology at Harvard University, Catherine was part of the team that first described TIM-3, now known as a critical checkpoint protein. Catherine did a short postdoctoral fellowship at UCSF, after which she spent 5 years at the University of Bristol in England, studying the role of IL-10 Tregs in autoimmune regulation with a fellowship from the UK Multiple Sclerosis Society. Catherine returned to the US and Boston in 2012; she was Director of Immunology at a biotech startup (CoStim Pharmaceuticals) developing therapeutic antibodies against checkpoint proteins for cancer treatment. CoStim was acquired by Novartis in February 2014, and Catherine has continued there as the research lead on the Novartis TIM-3 and LAG-3 programs.
Maike Schmidt, Ph.D., Scientist and Group Leader, Cancer Immunology, Genentech, Inc.
Maike Schmidt is currently a groupleader in the Cancer Immunology Research Department at Genentech, focusing on target validation and biomarker discovery, esp. in the context of innate and acquired resistance to checkpoint blockade. Through previous positions at Genentech, she has long-standing experience with biomarker discovery spanning early stage preclinical discovery to late stage clinical implementation, for diverse therapeutics including oncogenic kinase inhibitors and anti-angiogenic drugs. She obtained her undergraduate training from the Marburg University, Germany and her PhD from Dundee University, Scotland.
Katherine J. Seidl, Ph.D., Director, Immunotherapy, bluebird bio
Katherine Seidl, Ph.D., has served as Director, Immunotherapy, at bluebird bio, Cambridge, MA since June 2016. Katherine was formerly with Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research where she held several positions with increasing responsibility over a nearly 6 year tenure. Most recently Kathy served as a Senior Scientist in the department of Oncology in Cambridge, MA driving the strategy for biologics in Immuno-oncology. Prior, Kathy spent nearly five years in Novartis, Basel, Switzerland working on early drug discovery targets in autoimmune disease with a focus on Type I Diabetes, Celiac Disease and Transplantation indications. Prior experience in pre-clinical and translational research include Daiamed, Wyeth, and Pfizer. Kathy holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from Stanford University, and a B.A. in Biology from Swarthmore College.
Armin Sepp, Ph.D., Senior Scientific Investigator, Systems Modeling and Translational Biology, GlaxoSmithKline
Academic: Undergraduate and PhD in organic chemistry from Tartu University in Estonia. FEBS Fellow at MRC Immunochemistry Unit at Oxford University, working on complement, and post-doc at MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, working on emulsion-based in vitro selection of enzymes.
Industrial: Senior Scientist at Domantis Ltd, MRC LMB spin-off in Cambridge, working in the field in vitro selection and evolution of domain antibody fragments. Following the acquisition of the company by GlaxoSmithKline progressed to Senior Scientific Investigator at the Systems Modeling and Translational Biology group, focussing primarily on the pre-clinical eary stage cross-species/cross-platform predictive physiologically-based pharmacokinetics of biologics.
GSK Associate Fellow from 2016.
Andrew Sewell, Ph.D., Distinguished Research Professor and Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator, Infection and Immunity, Cardiff University School of Medicine
Sewell group research is focused around T-cell ligands and the receptors that recognise them (e.g. αβTCR, γδTCR, CD4 and CD8). The αβTCR can exploit the MHC class I presentation pathway to target any cell based on its expression of any protein in vivo, thereby accessing a far greater range of targets than are accessible to monoclonal antibodies and there is much current interest in αβTCR-based therapeutics. Some current areas of interest include:
- Dissection of successful immune responses to melanoma after adoptive transfer of Tumour Infiltrating Lymphocytes;
- Soluble TCR therapy;
- TCR gene transfer therapy;
- New CAR-T technologies;
- Artificial (non-biologic) T-cell antigens as vaccines;
- T-cell diagnostics before the onset of symptoms in autoimmune disease;
- The human T-cell receptor database and novel methodologies for TCR chain pairing;
- Unconventional (non-HLA-restricted) T-cell responses to infection and tumours
Daniel E. Speiser, M.D., Professor, Clinical Tumor Biology & Immunotherapy, Department of Oncology, University of Lausanne
As clinician-scientist and Member of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Research, Dr. Speiser leads the Clinical Tumor Biology & Immunotherapy Group, and the Unit for Investigator-Initiated Trials at the Department of Oncology CHUV, University of Lausanne, Switzerland. He performs clinical studies representing a step-by-step development towards more efficient cancer vaccines, with the aim to identify vaccine components contributing to protective T cell responses. Dr. Speiser graduated in 1982 and received a Doctorate in Medicine in 1986 at the University of Zürich, Switzerland. Then he completed his clinical education in internal medicine, immunology, (hemato-) oncology and transplantation. He had the pleasure to work five years in the laboratory of Rolf Zinkernagel, specializing in infection and tumor immunity. Subsequently, he extended his experience to basic and clinical immunology and habilitated at the University of Geneva in 1995. During his career, he accomplished many R&D projects, for example by developing experimental immunotherapy in mouse models with naturally arising pancreatic tumors, with Pam Ohashi and Tak Mak at the Ontario Cancer Institute and the University of Toronto, Canada.
Hans Stauss, MD, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Immunity & Transplantation, University College London
Professor Hans J. Stauss is the Head of Clinical Immunology at the Royal Free Hospital, as well as the Head of the UCL Research Department of Immunology and co-Director of the UCL Division of Immunity and Transplantation. He is also the Director of the Infection, Immunology and Inflammation program of the Academic Health Science Centre of UCLP.
Previously he was the Head of the Tumour Immunology section at Hammersmith Hospital. He studied for his Doctor of Medicine (MD) in 1982 at the University of Freiburg and went on to do his PhD at the University of Chicago in 1987. He is a fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists (FRCPath) since 2007.
The main focus of his work is the analysis of antigen-specific T lymphocyte responses to tumours and the development of immunotherapy approaches for the treatment of cancer and chronic infection. In order to facilitate the development of immunotherapy, he led the development of the new UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation, which will focus on new vaccines, and on innovative cell and gene therapy approaches for the treatment of viral infection, cancer and other diseases.
Catelijne Stortelers, Ph.D., Senior Project, Leader Technology, Discovery, Ablynx NV
Catelijne Stortelers has a background in cancer research, with over 15 years’ international experience in industry and academia. She holds a PhD in Cell Biology, focused on ErbB receptors, and did post-graduate research on LPA receptors at the Netherlands Cancer Institute before joining Ablynx nine years ago. Currently she is senior project leader technology in Discovery, to further explore opportunities to expand the Nanobody platform.
Stefan Symeonides, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, Experimental Cancer Medicine, Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre, University of Edinburgh
Stefan Symeonides is a Medical Oncologist and Senior Lecturer in Experimental Cancer Medicine at the Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre and at the linked Edinburgh Cancer Centre (NHS Lothian). After clinical training in the UK (Cambridge & Edinburgh), Australia (Melbourne) & New Zealand (Christchurch), and research in academia (Cambridge & Edinburgh), clinic (Edinburgh) and industry (AstraZeneca, various UK Biotechs), he is currently in a CSO Clinician Scientist Fellowship and leads bridging the space between pre-clinical and clinical cancer drug development in Edinburgh, linking laboratory and clinical research. In the clinic, he leads the Phase I Trials Unit and also has a specialty focus on renal cancers within the Uro-oncology team. He leads a growing portfolio of early phase trials and also continues in drug development, working with CRUK’s Centre for Drug Development and in an advisory role for a number of UK Biotechs. His research focus is on novel therapeutic discovery and development. Although he works across cytotoxic, small molecule, metabolic and even psychological therapies, his main focus is immunotherapies and he is the clinical lead for the Edinburgh Cancer Immunology Research Network. He is particularly interested in combining cancer immunotherapies to improve their activity. His current FAK-PD1 trial (NCT02758587) of combination PD-1 (pembrolizumab) and FAK (defactinib) inhibition is an example of how scientific discoveries at the Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre (Serrells et al, Cell 2015) are being translated into the clinic (running in centres UK-wide across the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre network), while maintaining the link with ongoing laboratory work to refine and optimise treatment.
Sebastian Theurich, M.D., Lecturer, Internal Medicine, Hematology and Oncology, University Hospital Cologne, Germany
Martin Treder, Ph.D., CSO, Affimed
Martin Treder joined Affimed’s Management Team in 2015. He has a strong track record in preclinical and clinical biotherapeutic research and development, having established a broad research pipeline of programs in targeted cancer therapy and immuno-oncology. Dr. Treder has more than 15 years of professional experience including as co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of CT Atlantic AG and co-founder of U3 Pharma AG.
Dr. Treder graduated with Honors from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia and obtained a diploma in Biology at the University of Würzburg, Germany. He earned his PhD working in Prof. Axel Ullrich's group at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried-Munich, Germany.
Bob Uger, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Trillium Therapeutics, Inc.
Dr. Uger is responsible for developing and implementing Trillium’s scientific direction, and oversees both internal product development and external research discovery programs. He also acts as the Company’s scientific liaison with respect to global collaborations with academic and hospital research scientists. Dr. Uger was previously Vice-President, Research & Development at Trillium Therapeutics (private company). He joined Trillium from Aventis Pasteur where he was a Senior Research Scientist involved in cancer vaccine research. He received his Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Toronto.
Nicolai Wagtmann, Ph.D., EVP & CSO, Innate Pharma
Nicolai Wagtmann, Ph.D, is Executive Vice President and Chief Science Officer at Innate-Pharma, a biopharmaceutical company discovering and developing first-in-class therapeutic antibodies for treatment of cancer. Prior to joining Innate Pharma, he was Vice President and Head of Cancer and Immunobiology at Novo Nordisk, where he built a portfolio of therapeutic antibodies. Nicolai received his Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Copenhagen and has held academic appointments at the Center for Immunology in Marseille, France and at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, where he discovered the human inhibitory Killer Ig-like Receptors (KIR) and several other checkpoint receptors that regulate cells of the innate immune system.
Jon Wigginton, M.D., Senior Vice President, Clinical Development & CMO, MacroGenics
Jon Wigginton, M.D., currently serves as Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Clinical Development at MacroGenics, Inc., a Maryland biotechnology company focused on immunotherapeutic approaches for cancer and autoimmune disease. Dr. Wigginton previously served as Therapeutic Area Head of Immuno-Oncology, Early Clinical Research at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), where he led the early clinical development of the BMS Immuno-Oncology portfolio including anti-PD-1, anti-PD-L1 and various immunotherapy combinations including anti-CTLA-4/anti-PD-1 among others. He also served in a governance leadership role for discovery efforts in immuno-oncology at BMS. Prior to joining BMS, Dr. Wigginton served as Director of Clinical Oncology at Merck Research Laboratories, where he led early- and late-stage clinical development teams for small molecules and biologics. During his academic career, Dr. Wigginton held several positions at the National Cancer Institute, Center for Cancer Research (NCI-CCR), including Head of Investigational Biologics Section, Pediatric Oncology Branch, where he led an integrated basic science and early clinical research effort focused on combination immunotherapy. Dr. Wigginton also served previously as President of the International Society for the Biological Therapy of Cancer (now the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer). He received his B.S. in Biology and his M.D. from the University of Michigan.
Robert W. Wilkinson, Ph.D., Director of Oncology Research MedImmune Ltd
Based in Cambridge, with a team of talented scientists, Dr Wilkinson is charged with the generation and delivery of novel candidate biotherapeutics. His team, uses the latest therapeutic strategies (incl. antibody and protein based platforms, oncolytic virotherapy and oligonucleotides) and is focused on immuno-oncology, as well as tumour targeted therapies, such as antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). Molecules to come out of the group include the GITRL agonist, MEDI1873, and anti-PD-L1 antibody, Durvalumab, which is now in Phase III clinical trials in a range of cancer types.
Previously, Dr Wilkinson has held leadership roles with AstraZeneca and Imperial Cancer Research Fund Technology (now Cancer Research Technology) and received his PhD in Experimental Immunology from The University of Birmingham Medical School; and has co-authored over 50 publications in the field of drug discovery, immunology and cancer.
Wei Xu M.D., Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Cancer Immunotherapy Discovery, Roche Pharmaceutical Research and Early Development, Roche Innovation Center Zurich
Dr. Wei Xu, is currently a senior scientist at the Roche Innovation Center in Zurich (Hoffmann-La Roche), leading several drug discovery programs in cancer immunotherapy. His lab is interested in understanding of immune regulation on co-stimulatory and co-inhibitory pathways of myeloid cells and T cells in the context of tumor microenvironment. He was trained as a MD in internal medicine in China and PhD in immunology at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Dr. Xu performed his post-doctoral training at the Baylor Institute for Immunology prior to join Roche.