Speaker Biographies

Speaker Biographies by Track

Plenary

Preclinical and Translational Immuno-Oncology

Immunomodulatory Approaches

CARs, TILs, TCRs

Biomarkers for Immuno-Oncology

Combination Immunotherapy

Bispecific Antibody Design and Applications



Plenary

Stanley Riddell, MD, Scientific Director, Clinical Research, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; Professor, University of Washington School of Medicine
Dr. Stan Riddell is a world leader in developing immunotherapies, which harness the power of the immune system to fight cancers and dangerous infections. His research focuses on detailing the complex biology of immune cells called T cells and pioneering therapies that use genetically reprogrammed T cells to specifically recognize and destroy diseased cells. These therapeutic T cells zero in on specific protein targets known as antigens, using either natural molecules called T-cell receptors or synthetic molecules called chimeric antigen receptors. Chimeric antigen receptors, also known as CARs, combine elements from T-cell receptors and from other immune cell-produced antibody molecules. His team’s breakthroughs are helping researchers make progress for patients who need better therapies.

Roy D. Baynes, MD, PhD, Senior Vice President and Head, Global Clinical Development, CMO, Merck Sharpe & Dohme
Dr. Roy D. Baynes, M.D., Ph.D., serves as Senior Vice President of Global Clinical Development and Chief Medical Officer at Merck Research Laboratories. Prior to Merck, Dr. Baynes served as Senior Vice President of Oncology, Inflammation and Respiratory Therapeutics and Senior Vice President of Oncology Therapeutics at Gilead Sciences Inc. Prior, Dr. Baynes was Vice President of Global Clinical Development and Head of Hematology & Oncology at Amgen Inc., after serving as Vice President of Oncology for Supportive Care. Before joining Amgen in 2002, he was the Head Professor of Cancer Research and director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program and the Hematological Malignancies Multidisciplinary Clinic at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, a comprehensive cancer center at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. There, he also held the positions of Professor of Medicine and Professor of Oncology. Dr. Baynes has been an Independent Director of Retrophin, Inc. since 2016. Dr. Baynes has authored more than 150 publications and is a member or fellow of several international medical societies. He is a member or fellow of several medical societies and has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and abstracts. Dr. Baynes received his medical degree and doctorate in philosophy from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and completed his medical training in the Department of Hematology and Oncology at Johannesburg Hospital. He has had a long and distinguished career in the hematology-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) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and has been recurrently named among America’s top physicians.


Preclinical and Translational Immuno-Oncology

Carlo Boutton, PhD, Head Nanobody Explorative Technologies, Discovery, Ablynx - Sanofi
Carlo Boutton obtained his PhD in 1999 at the University of Leuven (Belgium) on a subject that investigated the physico-chemical behavior of proteins under high-electromagnetic (laser) fields. After his PhD he joined Algonomics (currently Lonza) where he contributed to the development of EpiBase: a platform to predict and identify T-cell epitopes in biologics. In 2003 he joined Tibotec (subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson) where he was involved in several anti-HIV and anti-HCV projects. He joined Ablynx in 2007 where he focused on improvements of the Nanobody platform and new therapeutic applications for Nanobodies, including bispecifics, immunotherapeutics and ADCs. After the acquisition of Ablynx by Sanofi he holds the position of Head Nanobody Explorative Technologies. Together with his team he is working on a next generation Nanobody platform.

Catarina Brito, PhD, Lab Head, Advanced Cell Models Lab, Animal Cell Technology Unit, iBET Catarina Brito has 20 years of experience in Research & Development, with expertise on stem cell bioprocessing, 3D culture systems and development of cell-based assays. She is the head of the Advanced Cell Models Laboratory, within the Animal Cell Technology Unit of iBET and ITQB-NOVA (Portugal). Her research is mostly translational, focused on development of advanced human cell models to study deregulation of cellular microenvironment in disease progression and its impact in therapeutic response. Her projects are focused on Cancer (carcinomas) and Central Nervous System diseases.

Sara Colombetti, PhD, Global Head of Oncology Discovery Pharmacology, Pharma Research and Early Development (pRED), Roche Innovation Center Zurich
I have received my Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular biology at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan (Italy). After a post-doc in cancer immunotherapy at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (Lausanne  branch) and later at Cytos Biotechnology (Zurich) I have joined the Roche Innovation Center Zurich in 2009, where I have being appointed as Head of the Oncology Discovery Pharmacology Department in 2016 and Global Head of Discovery Pharmacology in 2018.

Lindy Durrant, PhD, Professor of Cancer immunotherapy, University of Nottingham; CSO, Scancell Ltd
Lindy is Professor of Cancer Immunotherapy at the University of Nottingham and CSO of Scancell Ltd. She has developed two vaccine platforms ImmunoBodyTM and ModitopeTM which induce potent killer CD8 T cells and and cytotoxic CD4 T cells to post-translational modifications respectively. The first ImmunoBodyTM, SCIB1, has completed a phase I/II clinical trial in which 14/16 patients with melanoma have been disease free for five years. The first product from the ModitopeTM platform will enter the clinic next year. Lindy has over 150 peer reviewed publications and is also the inventor on 66 patents, 55 of which have been awarded. She was award of the Waldenstrom prize for cancer Immunotherapy in 2018.

Andrew Exley, PhD, Medical Assessor, Biologicals and Biotechnology Unit, MHRA
Dr Andrew Exley is a Medical Assessor in the Biologicals and Biotechnology Unit within the Licensing Division of the MHRA in London. He provides bench to bedside expertise in immunology and regulatory affairs including diagnostics, biomarkers, and clinical endpoints, from a background of extensive experience as a consultant immunologist. Medical training includes undergraduate studies at Balliol College, Oxford (BA Hons Physiological Sciences) and The Royal London Hospital (MB BS). Postgraduate studies include the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital ( MD “TNFa and Septic Shock”), and the University Hospitals of Birmingham (FRCP, FRCPath Immunology).  Dr Exley provides scientific and regulatory advice on cytokines, monoclonal antibodies, novel chimaeric proteins, antibody-drug conjugates, synthetic antigen mimics, and ATMPs including gene therapies, CAR T cells, novel cell therapies. Support is provided for national, decentralised and centralised procedures through the assessment of clinical dossiers together with scientific and regulatory advice within accelerated PRIME and EAMS_PIM procedures.

Denise Faustman, MD, PhD, Director of Immunobiology, Medicine, Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital
Denise Faustman, MD, PhD is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital where she runs The Immunbiology Laboratories devoted to novel approaches to autoimmunity and oncology. She has for 20 years spearheaded the development of antibodies targeted TNFR2, a protein that is dominant in the tumor microenvironment with early translation to the clinic.

Melanie Glossop, BSc, CChem, FRSC, Head of Chemistry, Centauri Therapeutics
Mel Glossop is Head of Chemistry for Centauri Therapeutics Limited. She is responsible for the strategy, delivery and execution of the Centauri chemistry immunotherapy portfolio across a range of chemical disciplines including aptamers, peptides, carbohydrates and antibodies. Mel has established a diverse patent portfolio leading to both private and public investment, underpinning the Centauri linker platform. In 2017 she was listed as one of 10 Movers and Shakers in UK BioBusiness for Great Science (BioBeat 2017). Before joining Centauri Therapeutics, Mel led the chemistry programme for Agalimmune, enabling the synthesis and scale-up of the lead asset from discovery through to CMC. Prior to this, Mel spent 17 years at Pfizer, leading multiple global chemistry teams, both in-house and externally to enable delivery of molecules from hit-to-lead through to candidate-nomination and development. Mel is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and is currently serving as a member of the RSC’s Professional Standards Board.

Elizabeth Hardaker, PhD, Associate Director & Head, Oncology In Vivo Pharmacology Group, AstraZeneca
Not Available

Russell W. Jenkins, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, MGH Cancer Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Jenkins obtained his Bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Virginia in 2002 and his MD/PhD at the Medical University of South Carolina in 2012. He completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in 2014 and his clinical oncology training in the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center in 2017. He conducted his post-doctoral research in David Barbie's lab at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute where he developed a novel platform to study ex vivo response to PD1- blockade using organotypic tumor spheroids. In 2018, he joined the faculty at the MGH Cancer Center in the Center for Melanoma and Center for Cancer Research. Dr. Jenkins is the inaugural Termeer Early Career Investigator in Systems Pharmacology and a member of the Laboratory for Systems Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School. The Jenkins laboratory studies mechanisms of response and resistance to PD-1 blockade with a focus on developing rational combination therapies to overcome resistance to cancer immunotherapy.

Tony Ng, FMEDSCI, MB, ChB, MRCP, FRCPath, PhD, Head of School of Cancer and Pharmaceutical Sciences, King’s College London, CRUK City of London Centre Executive Member, Richard Dimbleby Chair of Cancer Research, Group Leader, KCL Breast Cancer Now Research Unit, Director, KCL and UCL Comprehensive Cancer Imaging Centre, Chair of Molecular Oncology, UCL Cancer Institute
Tony Ng is the Head of KCL School of Cancer and directs the CRUK KCL-UCL Comprehensive Cancer Imaging Centre. His team has shown in a Phase II head and neck anti-HER cancer therapy trial, that blood exosomal/immune marker measurements, can accurately the risk of tumour recurrence after treatment (ASCO 2018). As a trained immunologist, Ng et al. have recently demonstrated the role of innate lymphoid cells in aggressive human breast cancer. His team is actively improving on the use of the recurrence risk model derived from the combined imaging-exosome-immune tests, to design and validate a risk-stratified imaging surveillance strategy, for early detection of cancer recurrence.
He is a Joint PI in the CRUK NCITA - National Cancer Imaging Translational Network Accelerator; lead investigator of the Tumour Immunology imaging project within the Breast Cancer Now funded Research Unit at KCL; and joint lead for the Cross-Disciplinary approaches enhancing biotherapeutics Theme of the newly formed UCL-Barts-King’s-Crick CRUK Major Centre/City of London Centre.  He also leads the exosome and immune cell CyTOF analysis within the EU Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI) 2 Immunotherapy consortium IMMUcan. He was elected as a Fellow to the European Academy of Cancer Sciences.

Stefan Ries, PhD, Global Head of External Innovation, Oncology, pRED Oncology, Roche Pharma, Roche Innovation Center Munich
Since 2015, Stefan Ries heads the External Innovation Team at Roche, pRED Oncology. He brings a wealth of experience in oncology research and development, having spent more than 15 years in various leadership roles at Roche as well as MediGene, a Munich based biotech company. Stefan did his postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco, in the laboratory of Dr. Frank McCormick. He holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Regensburg, Germany.

Armin Sepp, PhD, Scientific Leader and GSK Fellow, IVIVT DMPK Modelling, GlaxoSmithKline
Armin Sepp is Scientific Leader and GSK Fellow at the DMPK Modeling group of GlaxoSmithKline where he is providing early stage project support for biotherapeutic projects covering mAbs, antibody fragments as well as cell and gene therapy products. His post-doctoral training in protein engineering and in vitro evolution at the MRC Immunochemistry Unit in Oxford and MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge was followed by antibody engineering as Senior Scientific Investigator at Domantis Ltd start-up in Cambridge which focussed on the development of human heavy and light chain antibody variable domains (dAbs) as a novel therapeutic platform until acquired by GlaxoSmithKline in 2007. From there on, the need for improved predictive mechanistic understanding of the tissue distribution, penetration and elimination properties of these novel therapeutics, as well as biologics in general, led him to modelling and simulation, with focus on cross-platform/cross-species physiologically based pharmacokinetics of therapeutic proteins from pre-clinical species to humans, as well as mechanistic description and analysis of bispecific antibody interactions with cell surface targets.

Eric Smith, PhD, Senior Director, Bispecific Antibodies, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
Dr. Eric Smith received his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Duke University in 1997.  Following a postdoctoral fellowship at NYU he joined Regeneron in 2002 as a member of the Antibody and Trap Technologies group, where he worked on cytokine traps and related molecules.  In 2008 he was a founding member of the Bispecific Antibodies team and is currently the Sr. Director of Bispecifics at Regeneron.

Elena Spanjaard, PhD, Global Head of Regulatory Affairs, Celyad
Elena Spanjaard is the Global Head of Regulatory Affairs at Celyad. Elena is responsible for the global regulatory strategies that support Celyad’s CAR-T product pipeline for solid tumors and hematological malignancies. Trained in immunology, she earned her PhD from Boston University School of Medicine and completed her post-doctoral training at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Elena has held positions in academic and biopharma organizations supporting development of cell and gene therapies, biologics, and small molecules for a wide range of therapeutic areas with a special focus in immuno-oncology.


Immunomodulatory Approaches

Stephen A. Beers, PhD, Professor of Immunology and Immunotherapy, Centre for Cancer Immunology, Cancer Sciences Unit, University of Southampton
Stephen Beers is Professor of Immunology and Immunotherapy at the Centre for Cancer Immunology, University of Southampton. He leads a research group 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.

Laura Codarri Deak, PhD, Principal Scientist, Cancer Immunotherapy, Roche Pharmaceutical Research and Early Development
I have been carrying out research in the field of immunology for 18 years spanning from viral-, transplant-, tumor-immunology, and autoimmunity. Since end of 2013 I am a Discovery Scientist working in the field of Cancer Immunotherapy at Roche Innovation Center of Zurich. Here I apply the knowledge acquired in my previous years to lead the discovery and early development of molecules with greatest potential to become treatment for cancer patients.

Mark Cragg, PhD, Professor, Experimental Cancer Biology, Antibody & Vaccine Group, Cancer Sciences Unit, University of Southampton
Mark Cragg is Professor of Experimental Cancer Biology in the Cancer Sciences Unit of Southampton University Faculty of Medicine. His research concerns how therapeutics result in tumour regression with a focus on antibodies and small molecules. The aim is to understand how these therapeutics delete tumour cells, how resistance occurs and how it might be overcome. Over the last decade, he has investigated many different therapeutic agents such as rituximab, bexxar, imatinib, gefitinib, cetuximab and tarceva and has been involved in the development of next generation antibody reagents such as ofatumumab and obinutuzumab, as well as first in class antibodies such as BI-1206. Throughout the strategy undertaken is highly translational with iterative cycling between in vitro experiments, appropriate in vivo model systems and primary clinical material. He sits on advisory boards for several charities and institutes and has published over 150 research papers.

Tanja de Gruijl, PhD, Professor and Chair of Translational Tumor Immunology, Medical Oncology, VU University Medical Center Amsterdam
Tanja de Gruijl heads the Immunotherapy and Immune monitoring Lab at the Cancer Center of the Amsterdam university medical centers, where she has been appointed Professor of Translational Tumor Immunology and holds a Fenna Diemer Lindeboom Chair. She has over 25 years of experience in the field of tumor immunology and over 200 publications to her name. Her research ranges from preclinical topics to immune monitoring of Phase I-III clinical trials and includes topics like the immune potentiation of tumor-draining lymph nodes and  the tumor microenvironment, control of myeloid differentiation, immunological arming of oncolytic adenoviruses, and nanobody-mediated targeting of (NK)T-cell subsets.

Her research has been supported by fellowships and grants from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Royal Dutch Cancer Society (KWF) and she is a recipient of a competitive research award of the Prostate Cancer Foundation. She has supervised the research that has led to the allogeneic DC vaccination platform of the VUmc spin-off company DCPrime BV and is co-founder of LAVA Therapeutics. She is a member of the Grant Review committee of the Melanoma Research Alliance, a member of the scientific council of the Dutch Cancer Society, has chaired the Dutch Tumor Immunology Working Party, and has recently been elected as at-large director on the board of directors of the Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC).

Jane Grogan, PhD, Head Adaptive Tumor Immunity & Principal Scientist, Cancer Immunology, Genentech
Jane Grogan, PhD, is the Head of Adaptive Tumor Immunity and a Principal Scientist in Cancer Immunology Discovery Research at Genentech. Her research focuses predominantly on mechanisms of T cell activation, tolerance-induction and epigenetic modifiers, using integrative approaches, combining bioinformatics, biology and diagnostics. Her lab has identified key regulators of effector and regulatory T cells, and has moved multiple targets into clinical development for Autoimmune and Oncology indications: including anti-lymphotoxin in rheumatoid arthritis; and anti-TIGIT for cancer immunotherapy. Her current roles include liaisons across Early Discovery Research, Clinical Development and Business Development. Jane trained at the University of Melbourne, Australia, completed her PhD in Leiden University, The Netherlands, and her post-doctoral training as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the DRFZ in Berlin, and as a Howard Hughes Fellow at the University of California San Francisco. She also hosts the biweekly podcast series “Two Scientists Walk into a Bar”.

Sophia N. Karagiannis, BA, MS, PhD, Reader, Translational Cancer Immunology, St. John’s Institute of Dermatology, School of Basic & Medical Biosciences, King’s College London
Dr. Sophia Karagiannis is a Reader in Translational Cancer Immunology at King’s College London. She heads a cancer antibody discovery team focused on designing novel agents for skin, ovarian and breast cancers and striving to understand the cross-talk between patient immune cells and cancer. Major research streams in the Karagiannis laboratory include: a) dissecting B cell and antibody responses and understanding how these are modulated by the tumour microenvironment; b) interrogating the humoral response to discover potential biomarkers for stratification and to inform patient-focused treatments; c) designing Fc-modified antibodies with enhanced effector functions; d) elucidating the mechanisms of action of antibodies engineered with modified Fc regions and of different isotypes, namely IgG1, IgG4 and IgE, in disease-relevant models. The group are the first to design and translate an IgE class antibody recognizing a cancer antigen to a Phase I clinical trial in patients with solid tumours.

Roman Kischel, MD, Director Research & Early Development Lead, Amgen Research Munich GmbH
Roman Kischel is Director Research at Amgen Research (Munich) GmbH, Germany.  Roman leads a group developing novel BiTE antibody constructs for different cancer indications.  He has been with Amgen and before the acquisition by Amgen with Micromet for 19 years, working mainly on design and characterization of BiTE antibody constructs.  Previously Roman worked at the Institut für Immunologie at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich.  Roman received his M.D. from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität.

Manfred Kraus, PhD, Director In Vivo Pharmacology & Oncology, In Vivo Pharmacology & Oncology, Pfizer
Responsible for the scientific in vivo strategy of oncology discovery and development programs. Ph.D. and Postdoctoral work in Immunology/Genetics with Klaus Rajewsky at the University of Cologne and Harvard University on B cell antigen receptor signaling. Manfred gained drug discovery experience at EMD Serono, Merck, AstraZeneca and Pfizer. He developed advanced genetically engineered mouse models to support biomarker development, patient and responder stratification for targeted oncology therapeutics. He has been the research project leader of several kinase, epigenetic and immune-oncology programs. 

James Legg, PhD, Senior Vice President, Research, Crescendo Biologics
James Legg Ph.D is SVP Research at Crescendo Biologics where he is responsible for managing Crescendo’s Immuno Oncology Portfolio from research through to preclinical development as well as the biology/pharmacology functions. James has 15 years’ experience in biologics drug discovery, mostly in the oncology area and has been responsible for the successful progression of multiple oncology biologics programmes through the research phases of drug discovery. Prior to joining Crescendo, James was a member of the oncology leadership team at MedImmune, the Biologics arm of AstraZeneca and held key scientific positions at Cambridge Antibody Technology.

James has a BSc in Applied Biology from Bath University, a Ph.D in Molecular Cell Biology from Imperial College, London and undertook PostDoctoral research at Imperial Cancer Research Fund (Now CRUK) in London.

Jeanette Leusen, PhD, Associate Professor and Head Immunotherapy Group, Translational Immunology, University Medical Centre Utrecht
Dr. Jeanette Leusen, received her PhD in 1995 at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She became associate professor and head of the immunotherapy group of the University Medical Center in Utrecht in 2006, and head of the UMAB facility in 2012. She has co-authored more than 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals on the working mechanisms of therapeutic antibodies, but also on IgA as a novel class of antibody for the treatment of both malignant as infectious disease.

Michelle Morrow, PhD, Vice President, Preclinical Translational Pharmacology, F-star
Michelle has over 12 years’ industry experience as a scientific leader of immuno-oncology projects from target validation through to clinical development, she joined F-star in 2017 to establish the Preclinical Translational Pharmacology department. Prior to joining F-star Michelle was a project and team leader at Medimmune Ltd (formerly Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT)) where she successfully established many preclinical model systems and led a number of research projects, including a role as discovery project leader for durvalumab (Imfinzi™).

Michelle holds a PhD in Immunology from the University of Cambridge and performed post-doctoral research into childhood Leukaemia at the Institute of Child Health, London.

Dario Neri, PhD, Professor, Biomacromolecules, Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, ETH Zürich
Dario Neri was born in Rome on 1 May 1963, but grew up in Siena (Italy). He 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 (Nobel Prize Chemistry 2002). After a post-doctoral research internship (1992-1996) at the Medical Research Council Centre in Cambridge (UK), under the supervision of Sir Gregory Winter (Nobel Prize Chemistry 2018), he became professor at ETH Zürich in 1996.

Dario Neri is currently Full Professor of Biomacromolecules at the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, ETH Zürich. The research of the Neri group focuses on the engineering of therapeutic antibodies for the therapy of cancer and other angiogenesis-related disorders and on the development of DNA-encoded chemical libraries.

Dario Neri is a co-founder of Philogen (www.philogen.com<http://www.philogen.com/>), a Swiss-Italian biotech company which has brought various antibody products into multicenter clinical trials for the treatment of cancer and of chronic inflammatory conditions.

Dario Neri has published 400 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.

Karin Enell Smith, PhD, Senior Scientist, Preclinical Development, Alligator Bioscience AB
Dr Karin Enell Smith earned her Ph. D. in 2008 at Lund University within immuno-oncology. 2009 she joined Alligator Bioscience within Preclinical Development of immune-modulatory antibodies. She is today Senior Scientist within several preclinical projects at Alligator Bioscience.

Hans van der Vliet, MD, PhD, CSO, LAVA therapeutics; Medical Oncologist, Amsterdam UMC
Hans van der Vliet, MD PhD is scientific founder and CSO of Lava Therapeutics, a biotech company that develops proprietary Vγ9Vδ2 T-cell engager, and  a medical oncologist and associate professor at the department of medical oncology of the Amsterdam UMC, VU University and Cancer Center Amsterdam.


CARs, TILs, TCRs

Hinrich Abken, PhD, Professor, Chair Gene-Immunotherapy, Regensburg Center for Interventional Immunology, University Regensburg
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. Prof. Abken's group is committed to the adoptive cell therapy and the development of novel T cell targeting strategies, in particular, by chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). Dr. Abken's group was one of the first groups working on recombinant chimeric receptors for targeting T cells since the early 1990s, and is internationally leading in pre-clinical research of adoptive therapy with T cells engineered with chimeric antigen receptors. As one of the pioneers in CAR/immunoreceptor research, the Abken group introduced a number of novel CAR modifications now in routine practice including the second-generation CAR, the modified spacers, the TRUCK strategy and others were developed by this group. Current research is aimed at improving T cell targeting of cancer, at developing novel strategies in modulating an immune response and at translating the T cell strategy into clinical trials.

James Arnold, PhD, Professor, Cancer Cell Biology and Imaging, Kings College London
Not available

Renier Brentjens, MD, PhD, Director, Cellular Therapeutics Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Professor, Pharmacology, Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences
Dr. Brentjens obtained an MD/Ph.D. (microbiology) from SUNY Buffalo, completed a residency in medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and a medical oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). Currently, Dr. Brentjens is a member of the faculty at MSKCC and an attending physician on the leukemia service. As a medical oncology fellow during his training at MSKCC, Dr. Brentjens initiated the initial pre-clinical studies demonstrating the potential clinical application of autologous T cells genetically modified to target the CD19 antigen through the retroviral gene transfer of artificial T cell receptors termed chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). Following the completion of his medical oncology training, Dr. Brentjens became the principal investigator of his own laboratory. As a PI, Dr. Brentjens successfully translated these studies to the clinical setting of treating patients with relapsed CD19+ tumors including chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). Ongoing pre-clinical research in the laboratory is focused on the further development of CAR-modified T cells designed to overcome the hostile immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment through the generation of “armored CAR T cells” currently being translated to the clinical setting as second-generation CAR-modified T cell clinical trials. Additionally, work in the Brentjens’ lab has expanded this CAR technology to target additional tumor antigens expressed on other tumors including targeting the MUC-16 antigen expressed on ovarian carcinomas as well as the more ubiquitous WT-1 tumor-associated antigen. These latter projects are similar in the process of translation to the clinical setting.

Jo Brewer, PhD, Vice President, Allogeneic Research, AdaptImmune
Jo Brewer is VP of Platform Sciences and is one of Adaptimmune’s founding scientists. She has 15+ years’ research experience in immunology and the biotech industry, specializing in TCRs and adoptive T cell therapy for oncology. Jo currently leads several research teams to bring on new generations of T cell products for patients. Before moving into immunology, she earned a MA and PhD from the University of Cambridge, UK.

George Coukos, Full Professor and Director, Oncology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV) and University of Lausanne (UNIL); Director, Lausanne Branch, Ludwig Institute of Cancer Research Chief, Service of Immuno-Oncology, CHUV
Prof. Dr. George Coukos is Full Professor at the Faculty of Biology and Medicine in Lausanne, Director of the Department of Oncology at the University Hospital (CHUV) and University of Lausanne (UNIL), and Director of the Ludwig Cancer Research Lausanne Branch. He is also the Head of Immuno-Oncology at CHUV. A leading investigator in the field of tumor immunology and ovarian cancer, he is the PI of many early-phase clinical studies in cancer immunotherapy. Furthermore, he is interested in elucidating fundamental mechanisms in the tumor microenvironment (TME) that determine the fate of antitumor immunity, focusing on the study of the deregulation of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs). These studies are expected to yield novel pharmacologic approaches to restore antitumor immunity as well as novel methodologies to select and expand TILs for adoptive therapy. He is also involved in the study of the tumor vasculature as a barrier to effective T cell infiltration in many tumors, but also as a potential target for therapy. Prof. Coukos is pursuing T cell engineering approaches as a means to address the deregulation of T cells in the TME, and for redirecting them against relevant tumor targets, including the vasculature, with the ultimate goal of translating basic discovery to the clinic.

Phil Darcy, PhD, Professor, NHMRC Principal Research Fellow, Laboratory Head Cancer Immunotherapy, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Professor Darcy is a tumor immunologist and an internationally renowned expert on cancer immunotherapy.  His work has focused on developing novel T cell based immunotherapy approaches for cancer in preclinical mouse models and translating this into patients. Over the past 20 years he has shown that adoptive transfer of gene-engineered mouse and human T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) targeting solid cancer antigens could effectively eradicate cancer in mice. A Phase I clinical trial leading from this work was recently completed at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia that represented a first in Australia using this approach with another CAR T cell trial currently underway in solid cancers. More recently his studies have involved combining gene-engineered T cells with other immune based therapies including checkpoint inhibitors which is showing tremendous promise in preclinical models and patients.

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

Reno Debets has received his MSc degree (1991, cum laude) in Biological Sciences at the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands, and has received his PhD degree (1996, cum laude) in the field of inflammation at the Dept of Immunology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He subsequently worked as a postdoctoral fellow for 3 years at DNAX Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA (currently part of Merck laboratories), where he contributed to the discovery and functional characterization of novel cytokines.

Reno Debets is chairing the laboratory of Tumor Immunology, Dept of Medical Oncology, Erasmus MC-Cancer Institute (since 2000). He is a certified Immunologist (since 2005), an Associate professor (since 2010), and chair of Academic Center of Expertise (ACE) ‘Tumor Immunology and Immune Therapy” at Erasmus MC (since 2016). Research in his laboratory aims to understand how solid tumors evade immune control and develop and explore therapeutic strategies to (re-) establish tumor-specific T cell responses.

 

David E Gilham, PhD, Vice President, R&D, Celyad
Dr. David Gilham first joined Celyad in April 2016 as member of the Scientific Advisory Board. As from September 1st, 2016, David became Vice-President R&D, heading the implementation of our Research and Development strategy for our programs in immuno-oncology. Dr. Gilham received his Ph.D in Molecular Pharmacology at the University of Dundee prior to moving to Bristol University in 1996 to work on CAR T cells with Professor Robert Hawkins. The group moved to Manchester in 1998 where his research activity has focused on engineering T-cells for cancer therapy and developing the necessary pre-clinical studies to support translation of this therapy into phase I/II clinical trials in Manchester. Prior to joining Celyad, David was a Reader in the Institute of Cancer Sciences, University of Manchester, UK and led the Clinical and Experimental Immunotherapy Group based within the Manchester Cancer Research Centre.

Weidong Han, PhD, Professor, Biotherapeutic, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing, China
Weidong Han has obtained his PhD degree in Clinical Hematology from Chinese PLA Postgraduate Medical School in 2001 and worked in Department of Molecule & Immunology of Chinese PLA General Hospital. In 2003, he did Postdoctoral work at the University College London. In 2006, he was promoted to Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Presently, he is the Director of Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Director of Clinical Translational Ward, the General Hospital of PLA. Since 2001, he focused on mechanism research involved in cancer treatment resistance and clinical translation of cell therapy. He has published over 80 articles.

Robert Hawkins, MB BS, MRCP, PhD, FRCP, CEO, Immetacyte Ltd.; Honorary Professor, Medical Oncology, University of Manchester

Robert Hawkins is Cancer Research UK Professor at the University of Manchester and Christie Hospital. In addition to clinical training he was an MRC Research Fellow with Dr Greg Winter and Dr Cesar Milstein at the MRC laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. His PhD was in antibody engineering and as a Cancer Research UK Senior Clinical Fellow he developed translational research interests in antibody based gene therapy. He was first appointed as a consultant in Cambridge in 1995 and then became Professor of Oncology at the University of Bristol in 1996. In 1998 he moved to the Christie Hospital to become Professor and Director of Medical Oncology. Clinically, He heads a clinical research group undertaking trials renal cancers and also a range of early phase clinical trials of biological agents. He also leads a group undertaking translational research into immunotherapy of cancer with a focus on adoptive cell therapy. In addition, to pre-clinical research he has developed a GMP cell therapy unit to provide clinical grade cell manufacturing – this is now a commercial spinout company (Cellular Therapeutics Ltd). He is/has been the coordinator of several major European Union consortia in this field including the on-going clinical trials project (www.ATTACK-cancer.eu). He has published widely in scientific and clinical journals.

Daniel Irimia, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, USA
Daniel Irimia is a bioengineer and a medical doctor by training. He is an Associate Professor in the Surgery Department at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Shriners Burns Hospital, and Harvard Medical School. He was recently awarded the "Pioneers of Miniaturization" prize from the Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society for his work on microfluidic tools for probing leukocyte functions in health and disease.

Michael Klichinsky, PharmD, PhD, Co-Founder, Vice President, Discovery, Carisma Therapeutics
Michael is a co-inventor of the CAR Macrophage technology and a scientific co-founder of Carisma Therapeutics Inc. In his role as VP of Discovery Research, he oversees the research & discovery efforts of the company. Michael developed CAR Macrophages during his doctoral thesis under the co-mentorship of Saar Gill and Carl June at the University of Pennsylvania. Michael’s scientific expertise is in the intersection of immunology, synthetic biology, cancer immunotherapy, and translational pharmacology. Michael previously earned a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Sciences in Philadelphia, and a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Mark Lowdell, PhD, Director, Centre for Cell, Gene & Tissue Therapeutics, RFH; Professor, Cell & Tissue Therapy, University College London
Mark Lowdell has been Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer since the formation of INmuneBIO in September 2015. The company is an immunotherapy company developing treatments to reprogram the innate immune system to fight disease. Lowdell is also professor of Cell and Tissue Therapy at University College London, where he has led a translational immunotherapy group since 1994. Since February 2009, he has also been Director of Cellular Therapy at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. Professor Lowdell received his Ph.D in clinical immunology from London Hospital Medical College, University of London in 1992 and is a qualified immunopathologist.

John Maher, FRCPath, PhD, Consultant & 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 Oofficer of a spin-out company named Leucid Bio and is a consultant immunologist within King's Health Partners.

Andrew Sewell, PhD, Distinguished Research Professor and Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator, Infection & Immunity, Cardiff University School of Medicine
Andy Sewell’s research interests have focused around how organisms deal with environmental adversity. He began his career at the University of Liverpool by applying his training in chemistry towards phytoremediation strategies. He then moved to the University of Utah in 1990 to work on gene activation by environmental stress and was promoted to the Faculty there in 1994. Tugged heartstrings saw him return to Oxford in 1995 to work on the strategies HIV and other viruses use to subvert human T-cell immunity. That same Welsh girl was influential in his relocation to Cardiff in 2006 to take up a position as Distinguished Research Professor in the School of Medicine. He continues in Cardiff and is currently a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator. His research focuses on T-cell antigens and the receptors that recognize them. This takes the Sewell laboratory in many different directions including transplant tolerance, autoimmune disease, immunity to infection and cancer immunotherapy. Of relevance to this meeting, the Sewell laboratory uses engineered T-cell receptors and engineered T-cell ligands (peptides and synthetic compounds) to manipulate the immune system for therapeutic benefit.


Biomarkers for Immuno-Oncology

Roxana Dronca, MD, Associate Professor of Oncology, Consultant and Chair, Division of Hematology-Oncology, Mayo Clinic
I am a medical oncologist with clinical and research interests in the field of tumor immunology and immunotherapy. My research focus is to understand the mechanisms and dynamics of anti-tumor immunity in patients with advanced malignancies and to identify immunological biomarkers predicting response to therapy and guiding individualized treatment administration. So far, my efforts have allowed me to work with a large number of like-minded clinical and basic scientists to develop innovative ways to cancer therapy utilizing individualized, patient-specific, endogenous anti-tumor immunity approaches. For the past 5 years, I have been working with Dr. Haidong Dong’s laboratory in addressing how T cells respond to anti-PD-1 therapy in melanoma patients and in developing and testing strategies to overcome primary and secondary resistance to immune checkpoint inhibitors. In addition, given the variability in response to these novel immunotherapeutic agents and the desire to extend their long-term benefit to more patients, I have become increasingly aware of the urgent need for the development of biomarkers that can help predict treatment outcomes and ensure that these treatments, which may have significant toxicities, are offered to patients more likely to benefit. Therefore, in the past few years, I have been collaborating with Dr. Haidong Dong in developing an individualized strategy based on the sensitivity of peripheral blood tumor-reactive PD-1+CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) to anti-PD-1/PD-L1 blockade. Our goal is to develop immunological non-invasive biomarkers that would help inform clinical decision-making by selecting patients with melanoma (and possibly other malignancies) who are most likely to benefit from PD-1 and PD-L1 blockade, or identify early patients who are acquiring resistance during the course of administration. To support these studies, we have created a biorepository of peripheral blood and tissue in patients initiating treatment with anti-PD1 therapy at Mayo Clinic and have developed a biomarker discovery program with national and international collaborators.

Christophe Le Tourneau, MD, PhD, Senior Medical Oncologist, Department of Drug Development and Innovation (D3i), Institut Curie, Paris, France
Christophe Le Tourneau is senior Medical Oncologist at the Institut Curie and Professor of Medicine at Paris-Saclay University. He is heading the Department of Drug Development and Innovation (D3i) as well as the Head and Neck Clinic. Christophe Le Tourneau was certified in Medical Oncology in 2005 and got his PhD in Clinical Epidemiology in 2007. He did a 2-year Clinical Research Fellowship at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Canada, in the Drug Development Program. His main interests are precision medicine, phase I clinical trials with a special attention at the methodology to conduct these trials, as well as Head and Neck oncology. Christophe Le Tourneau is the principal investigator of numerous phase I and II trials, as well as of clinical trials in Head and Neck oncology. He ran the first randomized precision medicine trial (SHIVA01) that compared the efficacy of matched targeted therapy versus conventional chemotherapy in patients with advances cancer. He has published 160+ peer-reviewed papers in international journals.

Darius M. Dziuda, PhD, Professor, Mathematical Sciences, Central Connecticut State University
Dr. Darius M. Dziuda is Professor of data science and statistics at Central Connecticut State University. Dr. Dziuda has extensive academic and biotech industry experience in bioinformatics, with a special attention given to multivariate biomarker discovery for medical diagnosis, prognosis, and personalized medicine. Author of novel data science methods for identification of parsimonious multivariate biomarkers that are robust and biologically interpretable. Author of the book Data Mining for Genomics and Proteomics: Analysis of gene and protein expression data (Wiley 2010). Author of the chapter Current Trends in Multivariate Biomarker Discovery in the book: M. Grootveld (editor), Metabolic Profiling: Disease and Xenobiotics. The Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, UK 2015.

Kenneth Emancipator, MD, Executive Medical Director, Companion Diagnostics and Translational Medicine, Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD)
Dr. Emancipator led Merck’s translational program which defined the PD-L1 “TPS 50 tumor,” revolutionized non-small cell lung cancer treatment, and enabled Keytruda to become “first to first line” and the leading anti-PD-1 drug. The PD-L1 test was the first FDA-approved companion diagnostic for immunotherapy and is now approved for six tumor types.

Dr. Emancipator was one of six individuals to receive the 2015 PhRMA Research and Hope Award for Biopharmaceutical Industry Research on Merck’s behalf. He also received the 2017 Philip Levine Award for Outstanding Research and the 2019 Israel Davidsohn Award for Distinguished Service from the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

Dr. Emancipator received his AB degree from Harvard University and MD from St. Louis University. He held appointments at US National Institutes of Health, US Food and Drug Administration, Cornell University, Beth Israel Medical Center, Bayer Healthcare, Siemens Healthcare, and Abbott Molecular before joining Merck.

Bruno Gomes, DVM, PhD, Head of Oncology Biomarkers, Early Clinical Development Oncology, Roche Pharma Research and Early Development
Bruno Gomes joined Roche in 2017 as Head of Oncology Biomarkers. He is leading a team responsible for the biomarker strategy of all oncology and immuno-oncology projects from Discovery till proof of concept in Human (phase 1b/2). He is also leading a cutting-edge tissue biomarker and digital pathology team. Before joining Roche, he was Director of Tumor Immunology at iTeos Therapeutics where he led immuno-oncology programs such as the adenosine A2a inhibitor EOS100850 and the IDO1 inhibitor PF-06840003/EOS200271. 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 built a strong expertise in pharmacology, oncology and immuno-oncology with positions of increasing responsibilities in Sanofi and 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.

Felix Faber, CEO and Founder, MindPeak GmbH
Felix Faber founded MindPeak in 2018. Previously, he co-founded Bytro Labs, a games company that merged with Stillfront and IPO’d in 2015 on Nasdaq Stockholm with current market cap of 700m€. He spent several months in Silicon Valley with the German Accelerator. He studied computer science at U Freiburg together with his MindPeak Co-Founder Dr. Tobias Lang. He also is a former world champion in robotic soccer.

Lukas Heukamp, MB, PhD, Director Molecular Pathology, Molecular Pathology, Institut für Hämatopathologie Hamburg
Lukas C.  Heukamp is a Pathologist by training and is the head of molecular diagnostics of the Lung Cancer Network NOWEL.org. He practices pathology at the Institute for Hematopathology Hamburg .

Lukas Heukamp studied Medicine, Molecular Biology and Immunology at King’s College London und University College London. His completed his PhD thesis in tumor immunology at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London and the University of Leiden, NL. He trained as a Pathologist at the University of Bonn. His main research focus is on the molecular stratification of lung cancer patients. He has published more than 140 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Sheeba Irshad, MD, PhD, Senior Clinical Lecturer, Cancer and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kings College London
Sheeba Irshad (KCL) is a CRUK Clinician Scientist with a translational research programme investigating the role of immunotherapies in chemotherapy resistant cancers. Sheeba is the translational lead and coordinating investigator for a translational trial platform with biomarker endpoints (PHOENIX). PHOENIX explores the potential interactions between DNA damage response inhibitors and immunotherapy in triple negative breast cancers and is due to open at 10 UK centres in September 2019.  She is also the Clinical Deputy Head of the KCL Breast Cancer Now Unit responsible for the running of the breast cancer profiling translational research protocol allowing access to archived or prospective primary, residual, metastatic tumour tissue and blood samples.

Eugean Jiwanmall, MSc, MBA, Senior Research Analyst, Technology Evaluation & Medical Policy, INDEPENDENCE BLUE CROSS
Eugean Jiwanmall’s past professional experiences include basic science and clinical research. In his current role as a Senior Research Analyst for Medical Policy & Technology Evaluation at Independence Blue Cross’ Medical & Claim Payment Policy Department within Facilitated Health Networks and Medical Affairs, he has served as the subject-matter-expert, writer, reviewer, communicator, presenter, consultant, adviser/facilitator, and decision-maker for hundreds of medical policy topics and technology assessments within dozens of clinical disciplines and multiple business areas. Eugean has participated in numerous roles in a number of conferences and summits etc. upon invitation.

Eugean is finishing graduate work in bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences with honors from Drexel University (minor was in business administration), a master’s degree of public health in evaluative clinical sciences from Dartmouth Medical School, and an MBA in healthcare management and economics with honors from Drexel University.

Daniel R. Karlin, MD, MA, CEO, HealthMode, Inc.
Daniel R. Karlin, MD, MA, CEO of HealthMode, Founding Board Member of Digital Medicine Society and Editorial Board Member of Digital Biomarkers Journal, Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Column Health in 2013. Build and Led Clinical, Informatics, and Regulatory Strategy for Pfizer’s Digital Medicine and Innovation Research Lab.

Benedikt Kessler, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry and Life Science Mass Spectrometry, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford
Benedikt Kessler graduated from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH in Zurich, Switzerland in Biochemistry in 1992. He received his PhD in Immunology at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Lausanne in 1998. He then joined the laboratory of Hidde L. Ploegh at Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA, to study the role of proteolysis in antigen processing and presentation. After three years, he established a research platform in proteomics at HMS. He has then been called to the University of Oxford in the UK, where he currently holds a Professorship in Biochemistry and Life Science Mass Spectrometry at the Target Discovery Institute (TDI). The Kessler group is focused on ubiquitin and protease biology with a specialty in mass spectrometry, proteomics and recently in metabolomics. Expertise in his laboratory is also used to define “molecular signatures” in disease processes and accelerate target discovery in translational research.

Graham Pockley, PhD, CEO, multimmune GmbH; Professor of Immunobiology, John van Geest Cancer Research Centre, Nottingham Trent University
Graham Pockley is the CEO of multimmune GmbH. multimmune’s unique and proprietary technology platform is based on the discovery (by Gabriele Multhoff and Claus Botzler) that a cell surface bound form of Hp70 is selectively, and widely expressed on the plasma membranes of many tumour entities, and is developing innovative theranostics on the basis of this cell surface-expressed form of Hsp70. His talk will report on an approach for isolating circulating tumour cells (CTCs) based on their expression of membrane Hsp70 using the cmHsp70.1 monoclonal antibody. Graham Pockley is also Professor of Immunobiology and Director of the John van Geest Cancer Research Centre (JvGCRC) at Nottingham Trent University. The JvGCRC uses integrated genomic, proteomic, immunological and bioinformatics platforms to identify biomarkers of disease and disease progression, predict therapeutic responses and develop new diagnostics and immunotherapeutics.

Camelia Quek, PhD, Senior Scientist Postdoctoral Scientist, Cancer Immunotherapy & Biomarkers, Melanoma Institute Australia
Dr Camelia Quek is a medical researcher at Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney. Her early research in non-coding RNAs has bridged wet-lab based molecular biology and biochemistry with computational biology, making notable contributions to the new class of diagnostic biomarker in exosomes. She implements a multi-disciplinary approach of computational and molecular biology to unlock the underlying molecular mechanisms in complex diseases including neurological disorders and skin cancer. Her current research involved Phase I, II and III clinical trials in advanced metastatic melanoma, particularly focus on identifying molecular biomarker that correlates with response and resistance to cancer therapy. She designs and implements a scientific channel for high-throughput biomarker discovery using next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics for selecting patients who will obtain maximal benefit from treatment without experiencing drug toxicities and resistances to improve patient outcomes.

Wouter Scheper, PhD, Senior postdoc, Molecular Oncology and Immunology, Netherlands Cancer Institute
Having spent >4 years in the Ton Schumacher lab, I have focused on (1) dissecting the specificities and functionalities of tumor-infiltrating T cells, and (2) developing novel technologies that enable the analysis of molecular and functional features of intratumoral T cells in a high-throughput manner. Finally, a special focus is now to use these technologies to develop personalized T cell therapies using neoantigen-targeting T cell receptors.

Jo Van Ginderachter, PhD, VIB Group Leader, Tumor-host interactions, Lab of Cellular and Molecular Immunology, VIB-Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Jo Van Ginderachter graduated as bio-engineer at Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 1995 and obtained his PhD in the lab of Cellular and Molecular Immunology at the same university in 2002, studying the impact of the innate and adaptive immune system on the growth and metastasis of mouse lymphoma models. He continued his postdoctoral training in Brussels funded by a competitive Prospective Research for Brussels grant. Jo Van Ginderachter became staff scientist in the Cellular and Molecular Lab in 2006, Assistant professor at VUB in 2010, Group Leader of VIB in 2012 and Full Professor of Immunology at VUB in 2014. He is now heading the Cellular and Molecular Immunology Lab. He is an author of 88 scientific publications and 4 book chapters and is inventor on 5 patents. He is also member of the Board of the Belgian Immunological Society, the Belgian Association for Cancer Research and Flanders Vaccine. The mission of his lab is to use the heterogeneity of myeloid cells (monocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells) as an in vivo sensor to track inflammatory responses and as a target for therapeutic intervention, not only in cancer, but also in liver and brain diseases.


Combination Immunotherapy

John Bell, PhD, Senior Scientist, Innovative Cancer Therapeutics, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
John Bell is a Senior Scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) and has run an independent research program since 1987. He established and oversees the GMP virus manufacturing facility at the OHRI used to produce viral vectors for use in Phase I and II clinical trials. Vectors from this facility have been used in clinical studies in Canada, the US, Europe and Asia. He is the Director of BioCanRx, a Network of Centre of Excellence for the rapid translation of immune based therapies for the treatment of cancer. BioCanRx supported a team of investigators that have successfully designed and manufactured the first “made in Canada” CAR T product directed against CD19. He has co-founded two start-up Biotechnology companies (Jennerex Biotherapeutics and Turnstone Biologics) for the commercialization of viral therapeutic products.

Ivan Diaz Padilla, MD, PhD, Executive Medical Director, Global Clinical Development Lead ; DNA-damage repair program, Oncology Global Clinical Development, Ares Trading, S.A. [Merck Group]
Not Available

Jakob Dupont, MD, MA, Chief Medical Officer, Gossamer Bio
Dr. Dupont is the Chief Medical Officer of Gossamer Bio. Dr. Dupont most recently served as Vice President and Global Head of Breast and Gynecologic Cancer Development for Genentech/Roche. He was responsible for global development of Herceptin®, Perjeta®, Kadcyla®, ipatesetib, taselisib, and Tecentriq®, among others, and co-led the Genentech/Roche Breast Cancer Disease Area Strategy Team. Dr. Dupont was instrumental in a number of regulatory approval in breast cancer including: Tecentriq for Triple Negative Breast Cancer; Kadycla for adjuvant HER2+ Breast Cancer; Subcutaneous Herceptin; Perjeta for adjuvant HER2+ Breast Cancer and others.  Prior to his recent role at Genentech/Roche, Dr. Dupont was Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he oversaw the successful submissions of eight investigational new drug applications (INDs) and 26 clinical trial initiations, and also participated in the execution of major corporate initiatives, including OncoMed’s initial public offering and a partnership agreement with Celgene. Dr. Dupont began his career in the biotech industry with Genentech/Roche where he served as Global Medical Director of Avastin® and was Group Director and Medical Director overseeing the angiogenesis pipeline, playing a key role in the development and approval of Avastin in ovarian, cervical and breast cancers as well as three IND filings of novel anti-angiogenic agents. Prior to first joining Genentech/Roche in 2006, Dr. Dupont was a faculty member and laboratory researcher at Memorial Sloan-Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center and oversaw a Phase 1 solid tumor and GYN oncology clinic and a tumor immunology laboratory. Dr. Dupont has received numerous grants and awards and has co-authored 45 peer-reviewed publications and 16 patents. He also served as adjunct clinical faculty in medical oncology at Stanford University, overseeing a GYN Oncology clinic.

Dr. Dupont received his undergraduate degree in philosophy from Vassar College and an M.A. in philosophy from New York University. He studied pre-medical science at Columbia University and received his M.D. from the Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He also served as Assistant Chief Resident at MSK and completed his Medical Oncology Fellowship at MSK Cancer Center, his Internal Medicine Residency at the New-York Presbyterian Hospital—Cornell Campus, and his Internal Medicine Internship at The University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor.

Tina J. Hieken, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery, Mayo Clinic
Tina J. Hieken, M.D., F.A.C.S, is a surgical oncologist and Associate Professor of Surgery at Mayo Clinic.  After graduation from Boston University School of Medicine, she completed the Boston University Surgical Residency Program followed by the University of Illinois at Chicago Specialized Cancer Center Surgical Oncology Fellowship. Her clinical focus is on breast and melanoma surgical oncology.  Her research interests are translational and include applications of molecular signatures in cancer and cancer-risk prediction, characterization of endogenous tissue microbiomes and microbial function in health and disease, neoadjuvant immunotherapy and combinatorial therapy and drivers of immune response and toxicity.

Gordon J. Freeman, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School
Gordon J. Freeman, PhD works in the Department of Medical Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Freeman earned his BA in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and PhD in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Harvard University. His research has identified the major pathways that control the immune response by inhibiting T cell activation (PD-1/PD-L1 and B7-2/CTLA-4) or stimulating T cell activation (B7-2/CD28). In 2000, Dr. Freeman discovered PD-L1 and PD-L2, and showed they were ligands for PD-1, thus defining the PD-1 pathway and the drug target: block the interaction. He showed the function of PD-1 was to inhibit immune responses and that blockade enhanced immune responses. He showed that PD-L1 is highly expressed on many solid tumors such as breast and lung, as well as some hematologic malignancies and allows these tumors to inhibit immune attack. He received the 2014 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology for this work that led to development of PD-1 pathway blockade for cancer immunotherapy.

Franco Marincola, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, Refuge Biotechnologies
Not Available

John Maher, MD, Consultant, Immunology, Kings College London
Dr John Maher is a clinical immunologist and immunopathologist who leads the "CAR Mechanics" research group within King's College London. He played a key role in the early development of second generation CAR technology that has proven disruptive in the clinic. His research group is focused on the development of adoptive immunotherapy using CAR engineered and gamma delta T-cells. He is also the scientific founder and chief scientific officer of a spin-out company named Leucid Bio. In addition, he is a consultant immunologist within King's Health Partners and Eastbourne Hospital.

Philipp Müller, PhD, Senior Principal Scientist, Cancer Immunology & Immune Modulation, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG
Dr. Philipp Müller received his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Basel in 2009 (Biozentrum, Prof. Jean Pieters), with a major focus on the immunology of infectious diseases, immune cell signaling and in vivo models of immune cell function as well as development. During the last 11 years his research has been dedicated to cancer immunology and immunotherapy. He has worked on and published in high ranking journals on the immune-promoting properties of Antibody-Drug-Conjugates, bispecific antibody formats as well as agonistic antibodies, such as anti-CD40, and their therapeutic combination with immune-checkpoint blockade. Dr. Philipp Müller is currently leading a research/project team as Senior Principal Scientist within the Cancer Immunology & Immune Modulation Department of Boehringer Ingelheim (Biberach an der Riß, Germany) with a major focus on next generation oncolytic viruses and other first in class IO therapies.

Karoline Schjetne, PhD, Vice President Scientific Affairs, Vaccibody
Karoline W. Schjetne joined Vaccibody in August 2017 as Vice President Scientific Affair. Karoline has more than 12 years of biotech and pharma industry experience within the area of immunotherapy and inflammatory diseases. Her professional experience spans from development and commercialization of medical devices for CAR-T cells, pre-marketing activities of novel biological drugs and successful launch of IL12/IL23 inhibitor for Crohns disease, lastly as part of medical affairs in Janssen Pharmaceuticals.  Karoline holds a PhD in immunology from University of Oslo followed by a postdoctoral scholarship where she also did an internship at Harvard Medical School.

Dimitris Skokos, PhD, Director, Immunity & Inflammation, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
Dimitris Skokos is a Director in the Immunity and Inflammation department at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals as well as an Adjunct Faculty Professor at Rockefeller University. He was born and raised in Athens, Greece. In 1998, he double majored receiving degrees in BioMedical Science and Biotechnology, from Ecole Superior in Paris and in Cellular Biology and Physiology from the University of Paris, with High Honors. After earning his Master’s and Ph.D. in Molecular Immunology from Pasteur Institute, he joined the laboratories of Ralph Steinman (Nobel laureate, 2011) and Michel Nussenzweig at Rockefeller University, studying the role of tolerance and immunity in inflammation. In 2008, he joined Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he and his team are leading Regeneron’s efforts in cancer immunotherapy. Dimitris holds more than 10 patents and 25 publications and was part of the team that developed the recently FDA approved treatment for metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, Libtayo. He has had the honor to work with esteem scientists, George D. Yancopoulos and Roy P. Vagelos.

Paul Song, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Translation Medicine, NKMax America
Paul Y. Song, MD is Chief Operating Officer and Chief Medical Officer of NKMax America where oversees all translational and clinical research programs and day to day operations. Dr. Song graduated with honors from the University of Chicago and received his M.D. degree from George Washington University. He completed his residency in radiation oncology at the University of Chicago where he served as Chief Resident and did a brachytherapy fellowship at the Institute Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France. He was also awarded an ASTRO research fellowship in 1995 for his research in radiation inducible gene therapy.


Bispecific Antibody Design and Applications

Roland Kontermann, PhD, Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Institute of Cell Biology and Immunology, University of Stuttgart
Roland Kontermann received his PhD in molecular biology from the University of Heidelberg in 1992. From 1993-1996 he was a postdoctoral research fellow in Sir Gregory Winter’s laboratory at the MRC Centre for Protein Engineering in Cambridge (UK) where he started his work in the field of recombinant antibodies and phage display technology. From 1996-2000 he was a group leader at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Tumor Research (IMT) at the University of Marburg, where he also obtained his habilitation in molecular biology. Between 2001 and 2004 he was head of biotechnology and later on head of research of a co-founded Biotech company working in the field of targeted drug delivery systems. In 2004 he was appointed Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Institute of Cell Biology and Immunology (University of Stuttgart), endowed until 2014 by the Deutsche Krebshilfe. Current research interests focus on the development of recombinant antibodies and bispecific and bifunctional antibody fusion proteins with improved biological and pharmacokinetic properties for cancer therapy and other indications.

Mark Throsby, PhD, CSO, Merus NV
Mark Throsby has served as the Chief Scientific Officer of Merus since January 2013 and previously served as the Chief Operating Officer from October 2008 to January 2013. His responsibilities include strategic scientific leadership, management of discovery, pre-clinical research and translational research, business development support, external collaborations and partnerships management. Before joining Merus, from October 2000 to October 2008, he served as a senior scientist and then as director of antibody discovery for Crucell N.V., a biotechnology company specializing in vaccines and biopharmaceutical technology. Dr. Throsby holds a PhD in neuro-immunology from Monash University.

Paul Widboom, PhD, Associate Director, Antibody Discovery, Adimab LLC
Not available

Marlon J. Hinner, PhD, Principal Scientist, Group Leader Phage Display, Large Molecule Research, Roche Pharma Research and Early Development (pRED), Roche Innovation Center Munich
Not available

Stefano Majocchi, PhD, Therapeutic Program Lead, Light Chain Bioscience
Not available

Matthew J. Bernett, PhD, Associate Director, Protein & Antibody Engineering, Xencor, Inc.
Matthew Bernett, Ph.D. is currently an Associate Director in the Protein Engineering group at Xencor, Inc., located in Monrovia, California. Since joining Xencor as a scientist in 2005, he has been involved in all aspects of the company’s discovery and engineering efforts. Nine antibodies (six of which are bispecifics) engineered by Dr. Bernett and the team at Xencor are currently in clinical development. Presently, his work focuses on the design of novel antibody and cytokine based bispecifics, and how to best leverage the strength of Xencor’s protein engineering capabilities to create the next generation of protein and antibody therapeutics.

Maria Karasarides, PhD, Executive Director, ImmunoOncology, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
Not Available

John Babcook, PhD, Senior Vice President, Discovery Research, Zymeworks
Maria Karasarides, Ph.D., Executive Director, Global Oncology Development at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is overseeing the development of immune modulatory therapies that include checkpoint inhibitors, immune agonists, CD3 directed bi-specific antibodies, co-stimulatory agents and antibody drug conjugates.  Her focus on iterative drug development is aimed at modulating the interface between tumor biology and host immunity to maximize response to therapy and ultimately shift malignant disease patterns.

Prior to joining Regeneron, Dr. Karasarides was a senior leader at AstraZeneca, ImmunoOncology Global Medicines Development late stage clinical group, where she led the clinical strategy and scientific development of novel durvalumab (ImfinziTM) and tremelimumab based combinations with a key focus on identifying tumor-host interactions that propagate the anti-tumor immune response.  

Dr. Karasarides’ experience spans academic research and pharmaceutical development in clinical development, translational research and medical affairs with a special focus on ImmunoOncology.   Prior to joining AstraZeneca, Dr. Karasarides was a 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®.  She continued at Bristol-Myers Squibb as the brivanib Global Medical Lead, responsible for Global Medical Affairs Strategy, and later went on to establish and lead the US brivanib Medical Affairs team.

Julian Andreev, PhD, Research Fellow, Oncology & Angiogensis, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Julian Andreev is a Ph.D. scientist with >15 years of experience in the Biopharmaceutical Industry.  Right after his dissertation research in Dr. Joseph Schlessinger’s lab, he joined newly-formed Molecular Oncology group at EMD Serono Research Institute as Principal Investigator.  At Serono, Julian played a major role into expansion of research activities into oncology drug discovery. Following his tenure at Sanofi Cambridge Research Center, Julian joined New York-based Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, where he established a research group studying mechanisms of intracellular trafficking of therapeutic antibodies and their targets. Julian Andreev received his B.Sc. in Biology and M.Sc. in Biotechnology from Hebrew University, Jerusalem.  After training at Max-Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Tuebingen, Germany, he received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from New York University, NY in 2000.

Jamie Baker, PhD, Chemistry, University College London
Dr James Baker is a Reader in Chemical Biology at University College London, UK. His research group is highly interdisciplinary, with interests in the development of innovative methodologies in bioconjugation, chemical biology and organic synthesis, and application of these to the design of new targeted therapeutics and diagnostics. He is also a co-founder of the spin-out company ThioLogics (www.thiologics.com), which offers site-specific conjugation methods for the assembly of next generation Biologics.  Dr Baker was an RCUK fellow at UCL from 2007-2012, a lecturer 2012-2014, and a Senior Lecturer 2014 until present.

Dimitris Skokos, PhD, Associate Director, Immunology & Inflammation, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
Dimitris Skokos is a Director in the Immunity and Inflammation department at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals as well as an Adjunct Faculty Professor at Rockefeller University. He was born and raised in Athens, Greece. In 1998, he double majored receiving degrees in BioMedical Science and Biotechnology, from Ecole Superior in Paris and in Cellular Biology and Physiology from the University of Paris, with High Honors. After earning his Master’s and Ph.D. in Molecular Immunology from Pasteur Institute, he joined the laboratories of Ralph Steinman (Nobel laureate, 2011) and Michel Nussenzweig at Rockefeller University, studying the role of tolerance and immunity in inflammation. In 2008, he joined Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he and his team are leading Regeneron’s efforts in cancer immunotherapy. Dimitris holds more than 10 patents and 25 publications and was part of the team that developed the recently FDA approved treatment for metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, Libtayo. He has had the honor to work with esteem scientists, George D. Yancopoulos and Roy P. Vagelos.

James Legg, PhD, Senior Vice President, Research, Crescendo Biologics
James Legg Ph.D is SVP Research at Crescendo Biologics where he is responsible for managing Crescendo’s Immuno Oncology Portfolio from research through to preclinical development as well as the biology/pharmacology functions. James has 15 years’ experience in biologics drug discovery, mostly in the oncology area and has been responsible for the successful progression of multiple oncology biologics programmes through the research phases of drug discovery. Prior to joining Crescendo, James was a member of the oncology leadership team at MedImmune, the Biologics arm of AstraZeneca and held key scientific positions at Cambridge Antibody Technology.

James has a BSc in Applied Biology from Bath University, a Ph.D in Molecular Cell Biology from Imperial College, London and undertook PostDoctoral research at Imperial Cancer Research Fund (Now CRUK) in London.

Anne Mansson-Kvarnhammar, PhD, Senior Scientist, Alligator Bioscience AB
Dr. Anne Månsson Kvarnhammar earned her PhD 2009 at Lund University, Sweden, working on the immune response in allergic rhinitis. This area was further pursued during a postdoc position at Karolinska institutet. In 2012, Dr. Kvarnhammar joined Novo Nordisk, Denmark, working with developing models to predict and reduce the clinical immunogenicity to biologics as well as novel tolerance concept. In February 2017, Dr. Kvarnhammar joined Alligator Bioscience. As Senior Scientist she is Scientific Lead for the ATOR-1144 and ATOR-1015 programs.

Mathieu Cinier, PhD, Scientific Director, Affilogic
Affilogic is a privately-owned biotech company specialized in discovery and development of a novel class of protein therapeutics called Nanofitins. Since joining Affilogic in 2011, Dr. Mathieu Cinier successfully led 60+ Nanofitin generation programs for a wide range of applications, and Nanofitin-based biotherapeutics are currently being developed in collaboration with Sanofi, Takeda Pharmaceutical and other undisclosed international pharmaceutical companies. He also applied its extensive protein engineering knowledge to expand the potential of the Nanofitin technology, and is now assuming the position of Scientific Director.

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