Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s 2nd Annual

Biomarkers for Immuno-Oncology

Enabling the Precise Selection of Immunotherapy for a Better Therapeutic Response

11-12 March 2020


Patient stratification and selection is a crucial step for those developing and providing immunotherapy. However, the heterogeneity of tumours makes it difficult to develop accurate predictive biomarkers for cancer patient populations. Thankfully there is a significant effort across academia and industry to do just this. Combining outputs from genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics, as well as looking into more discreet blood niches, such as circulating tumour cells and exosomes, may indeed provide the answers we need. At Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s 2nd Annual Biomarkers for Immuno-Oncology conference we will address this and more.

Final Agenda



11:15 Organizer’s Remarks

Joel Hornby, BSc Hons, Conference Director, Cambridge Healthtech Institute

11:20 NEW: Chairperson’s Remarks

Reno Debets, PhD, Professor, Laboratory of Tumor Immunology, PI, Medical Oncology, Erasmus MC-Cancer Institute

11:30 Strategies to Improve Antitumor Efficacy of Genetically Engineered T Cells**

Stanley Riddell, MD, Scientific Director, Clinical Research, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; Professor, University of Washington School of Medicine

Immune cells can be readily genetically modified to express natural tumor targeting antigen receptors or synthetic chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) that activate immune cell signaling pathways to result in destruction of tumor cells expressing the relevant target molecule. The presentation will discuss advances in our understanding of receptor signaling and the development of strategies that combine therapeutic agents to improve efficacy and safely extend the spectrum of cancers that can be treated with cell therapies.

12:00 PD-1 Antibodies Are Transforming Cancer Treatment

Kandeepan GaneshalingamKandeepan Ganeshalingam, MD, Executive Director,Therapeutic Area Head Oncology, European Clinical Development Global Clinical Development, MRL, Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD)

PD-1 antibodies have shown significant activity as monotherapy across multiple cancer types and lines of therapy. Precision medicine tools have been used to identify subjects most likely to respond to PD-1 antibody monotherapy, to provide insight to potential resistance mechanisms, and to inform combination therapies. A number of these combinations have demonstrated significant activity in additional tumor types and lines of therapy.

12:30 Enjoy Lunch on Your Own


13:30 Chairperson’s Opening Remarks

To be Announced

Anguraj Sadanandam, PhD, Team Leader, Associate Professor, Molecular Pathology, Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London

13:35 Mapping the Immune Landscape of High-Risk Chemotherapy Resistant Breast Cancers

Irshad_SheebaSheeba Irshad, MD, PhD, Senior Clinical Lecturer, Cancer and Pharmaceutical Sciences, King’s College London

Many patients with early breast cancers are treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT). While those patients who achieve a pathological complete response (pCR) or minimal residual cancer burden (RCB)-I at surgery have an excellent long-term outcome, the majority of patients with who have moderate (RCB-II) or extensive (RCB-III) residual disease suffer a much poorer outcome. An improved understanding of the biology and significance of the immune microenvironment (both within tumours and peripherally) in chemotherapy-resistant breast cancers will inform the rational development of more effective therapy.

14:05 PD-L1 as a Companion Diagnostic for Tumors beyond Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: It’s the Same Thing, Only Different**

Emancipator_KennethKenneth Emancipator, MD, Executive Medical Director, Companion Diagnostics and Translational Medicine, Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD)

The PD-L1 companion diagnostic had a huge impact on the clinical development of pembrolizumab, making it the first immunotherapy approved as a first-line agent for non-small cell lung cancer. However, this is just the beginning of the story, not the end. Adapting the PD-L1 diagnostic to incorporate immune cell expression facilitated approval of pembrolizumab for several additional indications, and may shed light on the mechanism of action of checkpoint inhibitors


14:35 Detection and Characterization of Key Biomarkers in Immuno-Oncology
Michael_BurgessRob Burgess, PhD, Sino Biological, Inc.

Founded in 2007, Sino Biological, Inc. is a global leader in the development and manufacturing of affordable, high-quality ISO9001-certified reagents, including, but not limited to, recombinant proteins, antibodies and cDNA clones—all in-house. The company boasts the world’s largest selection of recombinant proteins at 6000+, and acts as a one-stop shop for researchers and pharmaceutical companies around the world.  We help our customers to obtain the best reagents and services to accelerate the pace of research and drug discovery to improve human health.  An overview of the company’s product and CRO service portfolios as it pertains to the detection of biomarkers related to immune-oncology will be given.


PrecisionForMedicine_Oncology 14:50 Innovation in Biomarker Driven Oncology
sarvary-fourrier-clareClare Sarvary Fourrier, Senior Vice President, Clinical Operations – Europe, Precision for Medicine, Oncology and Rare Disease
Biomarkers have created astonishing new opportunities for oncology research – from patient stratification to choice of MOA – helping realise the full potential of precision medicine. Yet, Biomarker-driven studies also present challenges. Innovations in Biomarker Driven Oncology, presented by Clare Sarvary-Fourrier, Senior Vice President Precision for Medicine, Oncology and Rare Disease, offers much-needed insights into the evolving best practices around biomarker-driven studies. Topics include: successful delivery of bio-marker driven studies; operationalising innovation; electronic data records and EDC connectivity.

15:05 Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing


15:45 Attend Concurrent Track

Measuring Performance Status with Digital Tools: A Case Study in Metastatic Solid Tumors

Karlin_DanDaniel R. Karlin, MD, MA, CEO, HealthMode, Inc.

Performance status is widely used to qualify patients for different treatment regimens or eligibility for clinical trials. The research-standard measures have low inter- and intraobserver agreement, low patient-clinician agreement, do not capture low PO intake, lack subjectivity or an audit trail. Can a digital wearable and smart-phone passively and continuously collect activity data at sufficient coverage levels for analysis? We have run a feasibility study and there are some interesting observations.

16:15 CO-PRESENTATION: Taking the Pain out of PD-L1 Scoring – Artificial Intelligence Supported IHC Quantification in Routine Diagnostics

heukamp_lukasLukas Heukamp, MB, PhD, Director Molecular Pathology, Molecular Pathology, Institut für Hämatopathologie Hamburg

Felix Faber, CEO and Founder, MindPeak GmbH

Immunohistochemistry has become the core biomarker predicting response to novel Immuno-checkpoint Inhibitor therapies. Still, pathologist face a number of challenges in using PD-L1 IHC. Accurate quantification is cumbersome and requires extensive training. In this talk, we present an AI method for IHC quantification including PD-L1 that supports pathologists in relevant scoring schemes. We have tested this method in a clinical setting with promising results for reproducibility, efficiency and accuracy.

16:45 Novel Data Science Approaches for the Identification of Multivariate Biomarkers for Simultaneous Diagnosis of Multiple Cancer Diseases

Dziuda_DariusDarius M. Dziuda, PhD, Professor, Mathematical Sciences, Central Connecticut State University

State-of-the-art data science methods are used in this project to search for characteristic gene expression patterns that are common for multiple cancer diseases. TCGA NGS data for several thousand patients, several tissues, and several tumor types have been utilized. A parsimonious multivariate biomarker and – based on this biomarker – classifier of high sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of differentiating between the tumor and normal states have been identified.

17:15 Problem Solving Breakout Discussions (See complete list of Problem-Solving Breakout Discussion)

Why Digital Biomarkers?

Karlin_DanModerator: Daniel R. Karlin, MD, MA, CEO, HealthMode, Inc.

  • What measurements are improved with digital tools?
  • Better, Faster, More Robust? Sorting hype from reality in digital tools
  • Regulatory aspects and challenges

Immunotherapies Beyond Melanoma and Lung Cancers

Irshad_SheebaModerator: Sheeba Irshad, MD, PhD, Senior Clinical Lecturer, Cancer and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kings College London

  • Strategies for converting cold tumours into hot tumours
  • Coordinated clinical trial designs of immunotherapies
  • Immunotherapy combinations

18:15 Dinner Short Course Registration

18:45 Dinner Short Course

Recommended Short Course*

Dinner SC3: Engineering of Bispecific Antibodies and Multi-Specific Non-Antibody Scaffolds - LEARN MORE

Mathieu Cinier, PhD, Scientific Director, Affilogic

Mattias Levin, PhD, Senior Scientist, Antibody Engineering, Alligator Bioscience AB


8:00 Registration and Morning Coffee


8:30 Chairperson’s Remarks

To be Announced

Maggie Cheang, PhD, Team Leader, Genomic Analysis Clinical Trial, The Institute of Cancer Research

8:35 Anti-PD-1 Monotherapy versus Combined Anti-PD-1 and Anti-CTLA-4 Immunotherapy in Metastatic Melanoma: Who Will Benefit?**

Camelia QuekCamelia Quek, PhD, Senior Scientist, Postdoctoral Scientist, Cancer Immunotherapy & Biomarkers, Melanoma Institute Australia

Immune checkpoint inhibitors including anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 have led to durable anti-tumour effects in patients with metastatic melanoma and other cancer types. However, approximately 60% of patients treated with immunotherapy fail to achieve long-term durable response rates due either to failure to respond or to emergent drug resistance. A strong rationale for biomarker development that stratifies patients who might benefit from immune checkpoint inhibitors is urgently needed.

8:55 Quantifying Response and Characterizing Resistance to Neoadjuvant Anti-PD1 in Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinoma (NSCLC)**

Cottrell_TriciaTricia Cottrell, PhD, Assistant Professor, Pathology and Molecular Medicine, Queens University

Neoadjuvant anti-PD-1 may improve outcomes for patients with resectable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and provides a critical window for examining pathologic features associated with response. Unique features of immune-mediated tumor regression include immune activation, massive tumor cell death, and tissue repair. Multiplex immunofluorescence is a powerful new approach for characterizing the tumor immune microenvironment, both for biomarker and mechanistic discovery. However, careful optimization and validation are warranted.

9:15 Proper Evidence Generation to Establish Clinical Values

Eugean JiwanmallEugean Jiwanmall, MPH, MBA, Senior Research Analyst, Technology Evaluation & Medical Policy, INDEPENDENCE BLUE CROSS

Understanding and developing per clinical needs are essential aspects during discovery of biologically & clinically relevant biomarkers. Getting these biomarkers to become part of routine clinical care is an exciting and fulfilling journey, which should include a number of key pathways that must be anchored and supported by reliable evidence. Different phases from exploratory mechanisms to connecting biomarkers to therapeutic decisions require certain quantities and qualities of evidence. States of evidence for biomarkers and therapies based upon them can evolve simultaneously or in sequence, but must cross certain thresholds to gain ubiquitous clinical usefulness. Having sufficient evidence for practical employment of precision medicine’s tools and solutions is essential, and production of this evidence base is & will remain a necessity.

10:05 Coffee Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

10:15 Speed Networking in the Exhibit Hall


10:50 Immuno-Oncology, Circulating Biomarkers, Using Circulating Tumour Cells and Beyond**

Lu_Yong-JieYong-Jie Lu, MD, PhD, Professor, Molecular Oncology, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London

Cancer detection and precision medicine requires frequent tests. However, the current gold standard cancer diagnosis, tissue biopsy, is very invasive and does not represent the overall molecular mark-up. ‘Liquid biopsy’, particularly circulating biomarkers, has potential for a step-change in cancer diagnosis, treatment stratification and post-treatment surveillance. I will briefly summarise the current circulating biomarkers in immune-oncology and present our own research data of circulating tumour cells and other circulating biomarkers.

11:20 Attend Concurrent Track

Clinical Proteomics Enters Clinical Trials: A Generic GCP-Compliant Workflow for the Routine Analysis of Patient-Derived FFPE Samples by Quantitative Mass Spectrometry

ducret axelAxel Ducret, PhD, Senior Principal Scientist Pharmaceutical Sciences, Roche Pharma and Early Development (pRED), F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd

Quantitative mass spectrometry is becoming a more routine technique for the analysis of human clinical samples. Along with gradual acceptance by the regulators, it provides a mean to test hypothesis in the most relevant framework, in clinical human samples. In this presentation, I will show our latest test case studies and review our current experience in developing GCP-compliant protocols for the routine analysis of FFPE tissue samples at CROs.

11:50 Attend Concurrent Track

KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: Challenges in Assessing the Efficacy of Immune-Oncology Drugs

Christophe-Le-TourneauChristophe Le Tourneau, MD, PhD, Senior Medical Oncologist, Department of Drug Development and Innovation (D3i), Institut Curie, Paris, France

Due to their unique mechanism of action, immuno-oncology drugs display patterns of responses that are specific and sometimes challenging to handle in clinical practice. I will review these different patterns of response that include durable responses, pseudoprogression, hyperprogression and dissociated responses, and provide some guidelines on how to handle them in the clinic.

MaxCyte 12:20 Networking Lunch in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing


13:05 Chairperson’s Remarks

Graham Pockley, PhD, CEO, multimmune GmbH; Professor of Immunobiology, John van Geest Cancer Research Centre, Nottingham Trent University

13:10 Membrane Hsp70 – A Novel Target for Isolating Circulating Tumour Cells

Pockley_GrahamGraham Pockley, PhD, CEO, Multimmune GmbH; Professor of Immunobiology, John van Geest Cancer Research Centre, Nottingham Trent University

We provide evidence that a monoclonal antibody (mAb) against a membrane-bound form of Hsp70 (mHsp70) – cmHsp70.1 – can be used to isolate viable circulating tumour cells (CTCs) from peripheral blood of tumour patients. As the expression of mHsp70 remains stably upregulated on migratory, mesenchymal CTCs, metastases and cells that have been triggered to undergo EMT, we propose that approaches based on capturing cells that express mHsp70 are advantageous over those based on EpCAM expression.

13:40 FEATURED PRESENTATION: Leveraging Novel TCR/Antigen Discovery Technologies for (Pre)Clinical Applications

Wouter Scheper, PhD, Senior Postdoc, Molecular Oncology and Immunology, Netherlands Cancer Institute

There is a growing interest in trying to understand the cellular states of tumor-infiltrating T cells, for example using scRNAseq and high-dimensional mass cytometry. However, these technologies so far do not inform on the actual tumor-specificity of intratumoral T cells. We have developed functional T cell receptor profiling platforms that allow the unbiased assessment of T cell specificities, and aim to leverage these technologies for developing next-generation TCR gene therapies.

14:10 Exploring the Ubiquitin Landscape in Immuno-Oncology

Pinto-Fernandez_ AdanAdan Pinto-Fernandez, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford

The deubiquitylating enzyme USP18 is a major negative regulator of the innate immune response, in particular of the modulation of the Interferon (IFN) signalling. USP18 is the only human enzyme that processes the Interferon stimulated gene 15, ISG15, a ubiquitin-like protein tightly regulated in the context of innate immunity, in vivo. In this study we explored potential new roles of USP18 and ISG15 in Immuno-Oncology.

14:40 Close of Summit

**Presentations delivered via a live, interactive video conferencing platform.**

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Modulating the Tumour Microenvironment