Immunomodulatory Approaches

Stephen A Beers, PhD, Professor, Immunology and Immunotherapy, Cancer Immunology, University of Southampton

Stephen Beers joined the University of Southampton, Faculty of Medicine in 2002. He leads a research group within the Centre for Cancer Immunology 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 thivivo model systems and primary clinical material.

Colin E. Correnti, PhD, Senior Scientist & Director, Protein Sciences, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Colin Correnti, PhD is a senior scientist and director of the Molecular Design and Therapeutics Core at the Fred Hutch in Seattle Washington. His group engineers and produces mammalian proteins using a customized lentiviral expression system and supports multiple drug discovery efforts. His research is at the interface of immunology and biophysics, where he combines antibody discovery and protein design to develop new CAR-T cell and bispecific immunotherapies for rare pediatric cancers.

Rony Dahan, PhD, Assistant Professor, Immunology, Weizmann Institute of Science

Dr. Dahan is the head of the Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Lab at Weizmann Institute of Science. He completed his PhD in Molecular Immunology at the Technion- Israel Institute of Technology in 2010. He served as a postdoctoral fellow in Cancer Immunology at the Laboratory of Prof. Jeffrey Ravetch at Rockefeller University in New York from 2013 until joining the faculty of the Immunology Department of the Weizmann Institute of Science in August 2017. Dr. Dahan is the incumbent of the Rina Gudinski Career Development Chair.

Joseph Dukes, PhD, Director & Head of Biology, and Program Leader, Immunocore Ltd.

Joe completed his PhD and post-doctoral research in the endocytic pathway and cellular trafficking at the University of Bath, England. In 2011 Joe left academia to join Immunocore as a Senior Scientist in the preclinical group. Joe went on to help implement and shape the bespoke in vitro approach to preclinical studies as well as lead projects from early stage discovery to preclinical candidate nomination. Joe now leads the Biology department encompassing the Discovery, Screening and Preclinical groups as well as Research Biology, which has a focus on translational biology and mechanism of action of ImmTAC molecules. In addition, Joe is also the Program Leader for the second ImmTAC molecule to reach the clinic, currently in Phase 1 dose escalation studies.

Karin Enell Smith, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Preclinical Development, Alligator Bioscience

Dr Karin Enell Smith earned her Ph. D. in 2008 at Lund University working with cytokine-based immunotherapy in mouse glioma models. 2009 she joined Alligator Bioscience as a scientist establishing immuno- and bioassays within Preclinical Development of immune-modulatory antibodies. She is today Senior Scientist working as Scientific lead and Project leader within several preclinical projects at Alligator Bioscience.

Awen Gallimore, DPhil, Professor, Immunology, Infection and Immunity, Cardiff University

Awen Gallimore is a Professor at the Division of Infection and Immunity, Cardiff University. She gained a DPhil in Professor Andrew McMichael's laboratory in Oxford, studying the anti-viral role of cytotoxic T cells in SIV infection, subsequently moving to Professor Rolf Zinkernagel's laboratory to study the correlates of anti-viral immunity. Her current focus is on examining the impact of regulatory T cells (Treg) on anti-tumour immunity, with an emphasis on understanding the nature of the reciprocal relationship between anti-tumour immune responses and the tumour microenvironment. The group takes basic research using animal models of cancer through to testing novel immunotherapies in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC).

Michael Hedvat, PhD, Group Leader, Cell Biology, Xencor, Inc.

Michael Hedvat is Group Leader of cell biology at Xencor, Inc. Xencor is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing Fc-engineered and bispecific antibodies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, allergic diseases, and cancer. Currently, 11 candidates engineered with Xencor's XmAb technology are in clinical development internally and with partners including Novartis, Merck, Morphosys, Janssen, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Alexion. Prior to joining Xencor in 2015, Dr. Hedvat was a research scientist in the translational oncology group at Kyowa Hakko Kirin, CA. He received his B.S. at University of California, Santa Barbara and his Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from City of Hope, and completed a postdoc at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.

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 tumor microenvironment; b) interrogating patient humoral responses for potential biomarkers to aid stratification and to inform patient-focused treatments; c) designing Fc-modified antibodies with enhanced effector functions and antibody-drug conjugate approaches; 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, PhD, Director, Research, Amgen Research Munich

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 16 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.

Christian Klein, PhD, Distinguished Scientist, Head, Oncology Programs, Cancer Immunotherapy Discovery, Roche Pharmaceutical Research and Early Development, Roche Innovation Center Zurich

Christian Klein, Distinguished Scientist is Head of Oncology Programs and Department Head Cancer Immunotherapy Discovery 3 at the Roche Innovation Center Zurich, Roche Pharmaceutical Research & Early Development specialized in engineering of (bispecific) antibodies and the discovery, validation and preclinical development of antibody-based Cancer Immunotherapy (CIT). During his 16 years at Roche he has made major contributions as research project team leader to the development and FDA/EMA approval of GAZYVA/GAZYVARO (obinutuzumab, GA101), and to the preclinical development of 12 clinical stage bispecific antibodies, immunocytokines and antibody fusion proteins. He lead research teams developping Roche’s novel bispecific antibody technologies e.g. the CrossMAb technology and the immunocytokine and T-cell bispecific antibody platforms. He obtained his diploma in biochemistry from University Tübingen and his doctorate in biochemistry from Technical University Munich. 2017 he completed his habilitation in Biochemistry at the Ludwig-Maximilians University (LMU) in Munich, and since then is an external lecturer there.

Matthew McCourt, BSc. Vice President of Immuno-Oncology Kymab, Cambridge UK

Matthew McCourt joined Kymab in 2015 to build the pharmacology and translational science capability within the organisation Before working at Kymab he has gained greater than 25 years’ experience in biopharmaceutical research and development across a range of disease areas and technology platforms. Previously, Matthew worked at the biologics arm of Astra Zeneca; MedImmune based in Cambridge where he had responsibility for the leadership for the oncology portfolio of biologics developed from the Cambridge site in the UK (formerly Cambridge Antibody Technology, CAT). At MedImmune and CAT, Matthew provided leadership for multiple projects ranging from fibrotic and respiratory disease and as Director of Oncology Biology led the discovery and preclinical development of Medimmune’s immune-oncology portfolio of biologics from Cambridge UK. Prior to working at MedImmune, Matthew worked as a Senior Scientist at British Biotech and led the pre-clinical development of a number of biologics and small molecule based therapeutics.

Dario Neri, PhD, Professor, Biomacromolecules, Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, ETH Zürich

Dario Neri studied Chemistry at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa and earned a PhD in Chemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich), under the supervision of Professor Kurt Wüthrich. He then performed post-doctoral research at the Medical Research Council Centre in Cambridge (UK), under the supervision of Sir Gregory Winter. He has now been a Professor at the ETH Zürich since 1996. The research of the group Neri focuses on the engineering of therapeutic antibodies for the therapy of cancer and other angiogenesis-related disorders. Other research activities include the chemical proteomic discovery of novel vascular markers of pathology and the development of DNA-encoded chemical libraries. Dario Neri is a co-founder of Philogen (www.philogen.com), a Swiss-Italian biotech company which has brought five antibody-based products into multicenter clinical trials for the therapy of cancer and of rheumatoid arthritis. Dario Neri has published over 300 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals. He is the recipient of the ISOBM Abbott Prize 2000, of the Amgen-Dompe’ Biotec Award 2000, of the Mangia d’Oro 2001, of the Prous Award 2006 of the European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry, of the Robert-Wenner-Prize 2007 of the Swiss Cancer League, of the SWISS BRIDGE Award 2008, of the Prix Mentzer of the French Medicinal Chemistry Society in 2011, of the Phoenix Prize 2014 and of an ERC Advanced Grant in 2015.

Sergio A Quezada, PhD, Professor, University College London Cancer Institute

Dr. Sergio Quezada is a Professorial Research Fellow and Group Leader at UCL Cancer Institute in London where he heads the Immune Regulation and Tumour Immunotherapy Laboratory. Prior to this, Dr. Quezada worked with Dr. James Allison at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center studying the mechanisms governing anti-tumour T-cell immunity, and how these mechanisms can be manipulated for the generation of potent anti-tumour immune responses.

Dr. Quezada’s research interest at UCL remains focused in the study of the mechanism of action of anti-CTLA-4, anti-PD-1 and other immune-modulatory antibodies targeting co-inhibitory and co-stimulatory pathways (including ICOS, 4-1BB, OX-40) and used as novel anticancer therapies. His group has particular interest in the evolution of the immune response to cancer, the impact of immune-modulatory antibodies in the fate and function of tumour reactive T cells, and the role that the tumour microenvironment plays in the response and resistance to such therapies.

Dr Quezada is a Cancer Research UK Career Development fellow and the recipient of a Cancer Research Institute investigator Award.

R.J. Tesi, MD, CEO and CMO, Inmune Bio

Dr. Tesi is President, Chief Executive Officer and acting Chief Medical Officer since the formation of the Company in September 2015. From November 2011 to May 2015, Dr. Tesi was CEO, President and Acting Chief Medical Officer of FPRT Bio Inc., a development-stage biotech company formed to develop XPro1595 for the treatment of neurodegenerative disease and other inflammatory diseases. From November 2010 to October 2011, Dr. Tesi was Chief Medical Officer of Adienne SRL, an emerging biotech company in Bergamo, Italy focused on products to treat patients with hematologic malignancy. From June 2007 to September 2010, Dr. Tesi was CEO and President of Coronado Biosciences, a company he founded. Dr. Tesi received his MD degree from Washington University School of Medicine in 1982. Dr. Tesi has been a licensed physician since 1982, an academic transplant surgeon and Fellow of the American College of Surgery before transitioning to industry in 1997.

Jonathan Zalevsky, Ph.D. Senior Vice President, Research, & Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Zalevsky joined Nektar in July 2015 as Vice President of Biology and Preclinical Development to lead biological and translational research and guide strategy for the Nektar discovery portfolio. During his tenure at the company, Dr. Zalevsky’s expertise in immunology, as well as his experience across biological modalities and therapeutic areas, have helped fuel the growth of the company’s immuno-oncology and immunology pipeline. Dr. Zalevsky led the discovery and preclinical development for NKTR-358 (a T regulatory cell stimulatory agent being developed for auto-immune diseases with partner Eli Lilly & Co.) and NKTR-262 (a small molecule TLR agonist being developed in combination with NKTR-214).

Prior to joining Nektar, Dr. Zalevsky had over 15 years of experience within both large pharmaceutical and small biotechnology companies. Previously, Dr. Zalevsky was Global Vice President and Head of the Inflammation Drug Discovery Unit at Takeda Pharmaceuticals. As the leading immunologist for Takeda, he was responsible for an immunology pipeline that spanned from early target discovery to late-stage development and launched products. Prior to working at Takeda, Dr. Zalevsky held a number of research and development positions at Xencor, where he was responsible for the discovery and development of Xencor's first four clinical-stage assets.

Dr. Zalevsky received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Tetrad Program at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF). He received dual bachelor degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Combination Immunotherapy

Roy D. Baynes, MD, PhD, Senior Vice President and Head, Global Clinical Development, Chief Medical Officer, Merck Sharpe & Dohme

Roy Baynes is Senior Vice President and Head, Global Clinical Development and Chief Medical Officer at Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD). He was previously Senior Vice President of Oncology, Inflammation and Respiratory Therapeutics at Gilead Sciences and prior to that was Vice President Global Clinical Development and Therapeutic Area (TA) Head for Hematology / Oncology, at Amgen Inc. He graduated as a Medical Doctor and obtained a Master of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. He has had a long and distinguished career in the haematology-oncology-and stem cell transplantation fields, including drug development, basic research, clinical practice, clinical research, teaching and administration. He is a member of many international societies, including the American Society of Hematology (ASH) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and has authored some 150 publications. He has been recurrently named among America’s top physicians. Before joining Amgen in 2002, he was the Charles Martin Professor of Cancer Research at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, an NCI designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA.

Daniel Chen, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer, IGM Biosciences

Dan is Chief Medical Officer at IGM Biosciences, focused on the development of novel engineered therapeutics. Prior to IGM, he was Vice President, Global Head of Cancer Immunotherapy in Development at Genentech/Roche, contributing to over 20 cancer immunotherapy programs. He is currently co-chair of the Cancer Immunotherapy Committee, an arm of the Cancer Research Institute (CRI), and serves on the Board of Directors for the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC). His publications include the often referenced Chen and Mellman manuscripts, “Elements of cancer immunity and the cancer-immune set point” and “Oncology meets Immunology: the Cancer-Immunity Cycle.” Dan received his BS degree in Biology from MIT, MD PhD from USC (Microbiology & Immunology) and completed medicine and medical oncology training at Stanford. He also completed a post-doctoral fellowship with Mark Davis (Immunology/Stanford) and then stayed on to run the metastatic melanoma clinic at the Stanford Cancer Center. Dan continued to care for melanoma patients at Stanford until 2016.

Angus Dalgleish, MD, FRCP, FRACP, FRCPath, FMedSci, Foundation Professor of Oncology SGUL and Principal of the Institute of Cancer Vaccines and Immunotherapy, Institute of Infection and Immunity, St Georges University of London

Professor of Oncology at St. George’s University of London and Principal of the ICVI. Main research areas include immune-modulators, including the development of Lenalidomide with Celgene. Chief Investigator and Principal Investigator of trials for IMM-101 and have grants to develop low dose Naltrexone and CBD for cancer treatments.

Alexander Eggermont, MD, PhD, Professor Surgical Oncology, University Paris-Sud, Director General, Direction, Gustave Roussy Comprehensive Cancer Center

Alexander M.M. Eggermont is Director General of Gustave Roussy Comprehensive Cancer Center, Cancer Campus Grand Paris, France. Professor of Oncology (classe exceptionnelle) (2012-20) at the Paris-Sud University in Paris, France. He is President of the European Academy of Cancer Sciences, Chairman of Cancer Core Europe and the past President of ECCO and EORTC. He is past Full Professor of Surgical Oncology (2003-2016) as well as Endowed Professor of International Networking in Cancer Research (2011-2018) at Erasmus University MC Rotterdam, Netherlands. Joseph Maisin Chair in Oncology at Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. PhD in tumor immunology at Erasmus University Rotterdam (1987) and Fellow of the NCI Surgery Branchhead: S.A. Rosenberg), Bethesda, USA. He is a melanoma and soft tissue sarcoma specialist and tumor immunologist/immunotherapist. Scientific output : 36 PhD theses. >800 peer reviewed publications. H-Index: >90, Citations >40.000. Awards: 2014 ASCO statesman award; 2015: France Legion d’Honneur; 2016 Dutch Surgical Society Award; 2017 SSO Clinical Research Award; 2018 Doctorate Honoris Causa (University Essen, Germany)

Ioannis Karydis , BM, BCh, MA, DPhil, MRCP, Associate Professor in Medical Oncology, Cancer Sciences, University of Southampton

Dr. Ioannis Karydis developed an interest in immuno-oncology during his specialist training in the Oxford Cancer Centre in the UK. He went on to secure a clinical research fellowship in the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine in the University of Oxford looking into mechanisms of tumour escape. After a further senior fellowship in the Oxford Early Phase Clinical Trials Unit, he was appointed associate professor in the University of Southampton, where his focus is on developing techniques for precision onco-immunotherapy. His particular area of interest is advanced immunometrics and its application to optimise output from early phase trials and guide combinatorial drug development

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.

Johan Lantto, PhD, Project Director, Immuno-Oncology, Symphogen

Dr. Lantto is a Project Director at Symphogen A/S, a Danish clinical late-stage antibody oncology-focused company. Dr. Lantto holds a Ph.D. in Immunotechnology from Lund University, Sweden, where he studied antibody evolution and repertoire development. Dr. Lantto has more than 20 years of experience with antibody engineering and the development of antibody mixtures. For the past 14 years, Dr. Lantto has worked for Symphogen where he has been involved in the development of technology platforms as well as been responsible for antibody drug discovery projects within infectious disease and oncology. Dr. Lantto is currently heading Symphogen’s Immuno-oncology program aimed at developing novel therapeutic antibodies and antibody combinations for cancer immunotherapy.

Christophe Le Tourneau, MD, PhD, Head, 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 the Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines 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 140+ peer-reviewed papers in international journals.

Jeanette Leusen, PhD, Associate professor, Laboratory for translational Immunology, Immunotherapy group, University Medical Center Utrecht

Jeanette Leusen studies the working mechanisms of therapeutic antibodies and the biology of Fc receptors. As therapy for cancer, monoclonal antibodies are used that specifically target tumor cells. In the clinic, an antibody called rituximab is used for patients with non-hodgkin's lymphoma, trastuzumab for treatment of certain breast cancers, and cetuximab for metastatic colorectal cancer. Although clinical results are promising, therapeutic responses to antibody therapy remain heterogeneous, and warrant further investigation. Previous work showed clinical responses induced by cancer therapeutic antibodies to critically depend on immune cell Fc receptors, that bind the constant part of antibodies. Fc receptors are expressed on immune cells and induce phagocytosis, cellular cytotoxicity and facilitate antigen presentation: in mice lacking Fc receptors, cancer therapeutic antibodies lose their effect on tumor growth, and in cancer patients FcR polymorphisms directly impact therapeutic responses to antibodies like rituximab. At present, the immunotherapy group investigates the underlying mechanisms of Fc-mediated therapeutic antibody function on two levels: 1) signaling required from Fc receptors 'outside-in' killer immune cells, and 2) 'inside-out' control of Fc receptors. Furthermore, the immunotherapy group studies IgA as a next generation therapeutic antibody, for cancer but also for viral targets, such as RSV and influenza.

Stefano Majocchi, PhD, Research Scientist & Project Leader, Research Department, Novimmune SA

Stefano Majocchi obtained his Master’s degree in biotechnology from the École Supérieure de Biotechnologie de Strasbourg, Louis Pasteur University, France. He then joined the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, University of Lausanne, Switzerland, where he obtained his doctoral degree. Since 2013, he has been working within the Research Department of Novimmune SA, Geneva, Switzerland. He is currently leading the discovery and development of novel bispecific antibodies for solid tumors.

Melanie Medcalf, PhD, Senior Scientist, Drug Discovery, F-star Biotechnology Ltd

Melanie has over 10 years’ experience in antibody engineering and discovery and is currently leading a mAb2 project in the area of immuno-oncology. Prior to joining F-star, she worked in the Antibody Discovery and Protein Engineering department at MedImmune Ltd (formerly Cambridge antibody Technology (CAT)) where she coordinated a team within the Protein Science group. She holds a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Leeds, and a BSc in Microbiology from the University of Nottingham.

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 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 focus on an NK cell-based therapy for the treatment of tumours expressing a membrane form of Hsp70. 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.

Elena Spanjaard, PhD, Global Head of Regulatory Affairs, 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.

Per thor Straten, PhD, Professor, Department of Hematology, Center for Cancer Immune Therapy, University Hospital Herlev

Per thor Straten received his Masters Degree in Biology from the University of Copenhagen in 1992. He obtained his Ph.D from The Open University, London, in 1998, in the area of tumor immunology, focusing on clonotype analyses of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes. Per thor Straten was appointed director of CCIT (Centre for Cancer Immune Therapy, Herlev University Hospital, Denmark) when the centre was established in October 2006. Per thor Straten is Author/co-author of more than 180 articles on tumor immunology and immunotherapy and is the author of a number of patent applications. Main focus of his research is regulation of T cell responses, and immunological effects of exercise.

Robert Wilkinson, PhD, Director, Oncology Research, MedImmune

Dr Robert Wilkinson, Director of Oncology Research at MedImmune Ltd, Cambridge UK, has a strong track record in delivering multiple anti-cancer candidate drugs (both, small and large molecule) into the clinic, harnessing novel technologies and directing large multidisciplinary teams. He oversees pre-clinical oncology research ranging from target identification to candidate drug selection and IND enabling support. The Department utilises the latest biotherapeutic technologies incl. mono- and bispecific antibodies, antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), novel protein mimetics, oncolytic virotherapy and oligonucleotides. Dr Wilkinson has made significant contributions in the discovery of several novel immuno-oncology (IO) therapies, including recently FDA-approved Imfinzi® (durvalumab), an anti-PD-L1 antibody used in the treatment of NSCLC and bladder cancer. Other IO molecules discovered by his group incl. MEDI1873, a GITRL agonist (Phase I) and MEDI5752, a PD-1/CTLA-4 (Phase 1) bispecific antibody. From 2001-2012, Dr Wilkinson held several leadership roles within AstraZeneca and made significant contributions to the discovery and delivery of several small molecules into the clinic incl. Barasertib (AZD1152), an Aurora B kinase inhibitor and AZD538, a CDK2 inhibitor. Dr Wilkinson received a PhD in Experimental Immunology from The University of Birmingham Medical School and then spent several years within Cancer Research Technology (the drug discovery arm of Cancer Research UK), where he established a tumour immunotherapy group and was key to the successful collaboration with Antisoma Plc., which led to the out-licensing of two candidate anti-cancer antibodies. Dr Wilkinson has co-authored over 60 peer reviewed scientific papers in the field of cancer drug discovery and immunology; and is a strong contributor to cancer research community having held honorary lectureships at several leading UK universities, successfully co-supervised multiple PhD programs, and is an Executive Committee member for the British Association of Cancer Research (BACR) and Industrial Committee member for the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC).

Adoptive T-Cell Therapy

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.

Jacqueline Barry, PhD, Chief Clinical Officer, Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult

Jacqueline Barry is the Chief Clinical Officer for the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT), the UK’s centre for the acceleration of the translation of cell therapies towards commercialisation. Before this this Jacqueline was Director of Regulatory at CGT and prior to her time at CGT she worked at the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service in a number of senior regulatory and quality positions, the responsibility for which included designing the regulatory strategy for the Cellular Therapies developed by the Blood Transfusion Service, acting as Responsible Person for Blood and Qualified Person for medicinal product release. Before that she held a number of post-Doctoral academic posts at the University of Edinburgh studying neuromuscular regeneration. She has considerable experience in the development, translation, clinical trial and approval of cell based medicinal products and therapies.

Attilio Bondanza, Novartis/ Innovative Immunotherapies Unit, San Raffaele Hospital Scientific Institute, Milano, Italy

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Lee Carpenter, PhD, Principal Scientist, Stem Cell Research, Adaptimmune Ltd.

I began my interest in stem cell biology whilst undertaking a post-doctoral senior fellowship at the University of New South Wales, to reprogram somatic beta-cells of the to restore function of the endocrine pancreas in Type I diabetes. Switching to pluripotent stem cells whilst at the University of Cambridge (Department of Genetics), as Group Leader I was interested in discovery of novel genes that could direct stem cell fate, enabling derivation of selected cell types for regenerative therapy. Those interests continued whilst at the University of Oxford and NHS Blood and Transplant, where I adopted human induced pluripotent stem cells as a model system to derive various lineages of blood, for applications in transfusion medicine. Whilst at Adaptimmune Ltd, I am responsible for deriving T cells for applications in immuno-oncology.

Andre Choulika, Chairman, CEO, Cellectis Inc

I’m the Chairman, CEO and founder of Cellectis, a biopharmaceutical company focused on oncology. The company’s mission is to develop a novel generation of therapy based on engineered T-cells to treat cancer. Cellectis capitalizes on its 14 years of expertise in genome engineering, based on TALEN™, meganucleases and the state-of-the-art electroporation technology Pulsagile, to create a new generation of cancer immunotherapy for treating leukemias and solid tumors. Cellectis adoptive cancer immunotherapy for chronic and acute leukemias is based on the first allogeneic T-cell chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) technology. CAR technologies are designed to target surface antigens expressed on cells. These treatments reduce toxicities associated with current chemotherapeutics and have the potential for curative therapy. The Cellectis Group is focused on life sciences and uses leading genome engineering technologies to build innovative products in various fields and markets.

I received my Ph.D. in molecular virology from the University of Paris VI (Pierre et Marie Curie). Then, I completed a research fellowship in the Harvard Medical School Department of Genetics. Later, while working in the Division of Molecular Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, I developed the first approaches to meganuclease-based human gene therapy. I have a business and management training from the HEC Business School (Challenge +). I have also been the President of the French biotechnology association France Biotech for 4 years and a half.

Phil Darcy, PhD, Professor, NHMRC Principal Research Fellow, Laboratory Head Cancer Immunotherapy, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Australia

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, Assoc prof, 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 cytokines and skin 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 interleukin-1 family members.

Reno Debets is head of the laboratory of Tumor Immunology, Department of Medical Oncology, Erasmus MC-Cancer Institute (since 2000). He is a certified Immunologist (since 2005) and an Associate professor (since 2010). Reno Debets’ laboratory takes part in international consortia and consists of 15 people, including PhD students and postdoctoral fellows. Research of his laboratory is involved in three activities towards new or ongoing patient studies: Development and testing of T cell receptor-engineered T cells, Understand and intervene with cross-talk between tumor cells and micro-milieu, Immune monitoring of T cell phenotype and function

Mark A. Exley, PhD, Vice President, Cellular Immunology, AgenTus Therapeutics, Inc.

London University trained Dr. Exley ‘postdoc-ed’ at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School (HMS). Mark worked in industry on tolerizing and stimulating vaccines in immune-mediated and other diseases (respectively), returning to HMS as Faculty to functionally define human ‘NKT’ cells and help ascribe their roles, developing NKT cell-specific mAbs. He became Professor at Manchester University, UK, before returning to the US as VP, Cellular Immunology, Agenus (and now AgenTus). Mark continues to focus on regulation of immunity, innate lymphocytes and how this understanding can be exploited clinically in cancer (published NKT trial) and other diseases.

Robert Hawkins, PhD, Professor; Honorary Consultant, Medical Oncology, Cancer Sciences, University of Manchester, Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

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.

Anja Liebeskind-Englbrecht, Head of Market Access Strategy, Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Limited

Not available

Anna Mondino, PhD, Head, Lymphocyte Activation Unit, Immunology, Transplantation and Infectious Diseases, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, DIBIT

Anna Mondino, PhD is the head of the Lymphocyte Activation Unit at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, Italy. She trained in Cell Biology and Molecular Oncology in Turin (University of Torino, Italy) and in New York (New York University, USA) for her PhD, and in Immunology in Minneapolis (University of Minnesota, USA) as a postdoctoral fellow. Her group is interested in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms at the basis of T cell responses and of T cell-dependent tumor rejection. Current research activities are centered on the implementation of innovative adoptive T cell therapy strategies.

Dr. Thomas Nerreter, PhD, Senior Research Fellow, Internal Medicine II, University Hospital Wuerzburg, Germany

Dr. Nerreter studied biology in Frankfurt a. M. with a focus on virology and tumor immunology. Getting experience in modulating immune responses using small-molecule inhibitors during his doctoral studies in Wuerzburg, he joined the expanding field of CART cell therapy right after receiving his PhD. In the past years, he gained experience and expertise in evaluating new targets for the use of CAR-T cells also in solid tumors, worked on novel detection methods for tumor-associated antigens and is developing new CAR formats.

Oliver Nussbaumer, PhD, Head of Cell Research, Cell Research, GammaDelta Therapeutics Ltd

Oliver studied General Biology in Austria before specializing in Molecular and Cell Biology. In his PhD research in Immunology, he uncovered novel innate and immune-modulatory capabilities of blood derived γδ Τ cells, leading to several publications and a patent application. In 2013, he joined Professor Hayday’s research group at King’s College London and The Francis Crick Institute with the aim to work on human tissue resident γδ T cells which had been challenging to isolate and study in the past. Under Professor Hayday’s supervision, Oliver identified a method to extract and grow these highly intriguing cells in large numbers, making them for the first time available for lab studies. These protocols, together with the initial research findings, formed the basis for King’s College London, The Francis Crick Institute and Cancer Research Technology to found GammaDelta Therapeutics in 2016.

Michaela Sharpe, PhD, Head of Nonclinical Safety and Immunotherapy Strategy, Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult

Michaela Sharpe is the Head of Nonclinical Safety and Immunotherapy Strategy at the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult. Michaela has over fifteen years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry, both in the biotechnology sector and large pharma, where she has specialised in the nonclinical development of cell-based therapies and therapeutic vaccines. She was Head of the Stem Cell Safety Group at Pfizer, and prior to joining the Catapult, she ran her own consultancy business. Michaela oversees Immunotherapy Strategy for the Catapult, as well as leading a team with significant expertise in the design of non-clinical safety programmes and the development of specialist clinical assays. She has implemented nonclinical development programmes for pluripotent stem cell therapies, somatic cell therapies, immune therapies, genetically modified cell therapies and tissue engineered products. Michaela has a PhD in Genetics from the University of Cambridge and did her post-doctoral research at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford.

Peggy Sotiropoulou, PhD, Director, R&D, Celyad

Peggy Sotiropoulou joined Celyad in 2017. As Director of the R&D department, she leads a broad-ranging internal research program that aims to develop new strategies in CAR T cell design to target haematological and solid malignancies. Prior to Celyad, Peggy spent 17 years in Academic research in oncology. Before moving to industry, Peggy was associate Professor in the Université Libre de Bruxelles, in Brussels, Belgium, and published landmark papers in journals such as Nature and Nature Cell Biology. The aim of Peggy in Celyad is to translate cutting-edge research and innovation into actual treatments for patients.

Fiona Thistlethwaite, MB, PhD, Consultant, Medical Oncology, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Thistlethwaite is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at The University of Manchester. She graduated from The University of Cambridge MB PhD programme in 1999. Her PhD, under the supervision of Professor Sir Martin Evans, explored the molecular mechanisms that lead to cancer in inherited breast cancer syndromes.

Following training posts at Liverpool Royal, The Royal Marsden and The Christie, she became a consultant at The Christie in 2007. Her clinical practice is in Experimental Cancer Medicine and immune-oncology and her academic focus is clinical trial development in immunotherapy and adoptive T-cell therapy.

Dr Thistlethwaite is a member of the ESMO Congress Scientific Committee (Immunotherapy Track) and has been an invited speaker at ESMO Congress and also hosted an immuno-oncology preceptorship meeting at The Christie School of Oncology. Fiona leads a recently formed Manchester health consortium, iMATCH, which has been awarded almost £7 million by Innovate UK to ensure that more patients benefit from a new generation of advanced cell therapies

Kirsty Wydenbach, PhD, Deputy Unit Manager, Senior Medical Assessor, Clinical Trials Unit, Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

Having joined the MHRA in 2009, Kirsty is a Senior Medical Assessor and the Deputy Unit Manager in the Clinical Trials Unit. She has been involved in the UK regulation of clinical trials across all therapy areas and all phases of development, including trials for chemical and biological products, Advanced Therapy Products and many first-in-man studies. She has also been involved in European discussions aiming to establish an EU harmonised approach to clinical trials, particularly for Developmental Safety Update Reports (DSURs) and Reference Safety Information (RSI). More recent EU priorities have included the new Clinical Trial Regulation and Kirsty currently sits on the safety subgroup of the Clinical Trials Facilitation Group (CTFG) that is working on how safety reporting aspects will be implemented. She is also the co-chair for safety for the EU NTC Curriculum for European regulatory agency assessors and was an EMA expert for the update of the First-in-Human guideline. Other recent work has included collaboration with external industry groups regarding adaptive and novel trial designs and she is a collaborator on the upcoming ECMC consensus paper on complex innovative trials. Kirsty has also presented a review of all UK CAR T-cell trials to the Clinical Trials, Biologicals and Vaccines Expert Advisory Group (CTBVEAG) on behalf of the MHRA CTU.

Biomarkers for Immuno-Oncology

Matthew Albert, MD, PhD, Principal Scientist, Cancer Immunology, Genentech

I began my medical education at Cornell University Medical College and The Rockefeller University, where I worked with mentors Drs. Nina Bhardwaj and Robert Darnell to solve a 25 year-old problem in immunology, which revealed a role for cell death in the initiation of anti-tumor and anti-viral T cell responses. I continued to explore this immunologic pathway as a group leader at the Institute Pasteur, where we gained new insights into immune regulation of viral hepatitis and bladder cancer. I have also participated in several taskforces, being the Immunologist member of the Chikungunya efforts led by Institut Pasteur after the 2005 outbreak in Southeast Asia. In an effort to scale this vision of ‘next-generation’ immune monitoring and contribute to the exciting field of Cancer Immunology, I am excited to have joined Genentech. Here, I aim to build a new approach to biomarker research, supporting numerous drug development programs, and helping to establish a cost-effective path for bringing new treatment modalities to the clinic.

Helen Angell, BSc, PhD, MD, Principal Scientist, Translational Science, Oncology IMED Biotech Unit, AstraZeneca

Dr Helen K. Angell received a first-class B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Manchester, with industrial placement at MedImmune, Cambridge, and was awarded the Bioscience Horizons Young Scientist Award, 2008. She received a Ph.D. entitled ‘Immune Modulation of the Tumour Microenvironment’ from the University of Nottingham School of Pharmacy, funded by AstraZeneca and EPSRC. Dr Angell then took a postdoctoral role with Dr Jérôme Galon in the Laboratory of Integrative Immunology at the Cordeliers Research Centre, Paris. Here she contributed to the development and implementation of the ‘Immunoscore’. Her main research focus was the characterisation and phenotyping of immune subpopulations, cytokines, chemokines and tumour alterations, associated with CRC progression, recurrence and metastasis. In January 2014 Dr Angell joined AstraZeneca’s Oncology IMED Biotech Unit, Translational Science and is now working as a Principle Scientist, driving strategies for segmentation of immunotherapy and small molecule combination studies with the aim to enhance patient selection for clinical trials.

Vivian Barak, PhD, Prof, Head, Immunology Lab for Tumor Diagnosis, Oncology, HADASSAH-Medical Center

  • Main interests and studies on Tumor Markers and on Cytokines –clinical applications
  • Head, Immunology Lab for Tumor Diagnosis, Hadassah Medical Center
  • Past, ISOBM President
  • Head, Israeli Standardization Lab for Tumor Markers and Cytokines
  • President, ISOBM 2018 Cong

Jan H. Bergmann, PhD, MD, Senior Scientist, Genomics Platform Technologies and Immune Receptor Discovery, AgenTus Therapeutics

Dr. Bergmann heads the Genomics and Bioinformatics platform technologies group at AgenTus, an immmuno-oncology biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of breakthrough T cell and CAR-T cell therapies. Dr. Bergmann oversees the development and implementation of cutting-edge sequencing-based methods aimed at functional immune receptor discovery and characterization. Dr. Bergmann further is discovery program lead for AgenTus’ TCRs against novel phosphopeptide tumor target neo-epitopes. He supports AgenTus’ T-RxTM precision discovery platform for TCRs and CARs, and contributes to AgenTus’ parent company (Agenus)’s Translational Medicines group in the design and evaluation of NGS-based patient profiling and clinical monitoring strategies in the space of cancer neo-epitope vaccines and checkpoint antibodies. Dr. Bergmann draws experience from a rich functional genomics and technology-centered background developed through positions held at the University of Edinburgh’s Wellcome Trust Center for Cell Biology, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Cancer Center and at the New York Genome Center.

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.

Kenneth Emancipator, DABP, MD, Executive Medical Director and Head of Companion Diagnostics, Translational Medicine, Merck & Co.

Dr. Emancipator led Merck’s unique approach to developing the “PD-L1 test,” which defined the “TPS 50 tumor,” revolutionized the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, and catapulted Merck past its major competitor. Merck began 4-5 years behind, but became “first to first line” and the market leading anti-PD-1 drug. Keytruda (pembrolizumab) is the foundation of Merck’s oncology business and its top-selling drug. The PD-L1 test, commercialized by Agilent, is the first FDA-approved companion diagnostic for immunotherapy and now is a companion diagnostic for Keytruda in four tumor types, with a positive trial announced for a fifth. In recognition of his work in the Keytruda program, Dr. Emancipator received the 2017 Philip Levine Award for Outstanding Research from the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and was one of 6 individuals to receive, on behalf of Merck, the 2015 PhRMA Research and Hope Award for research by a biopharmaceutical company.

Tina J Hieken, MD, FACS, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery, 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 the endogenous breast microbiome and microbial function in health and disease, neoadjuvant immunotherapy and drivers of immune response in the tumor microenvironment, and using technological advances and minimally invasive techniques to deliver patient-focused high quality surgical oncology care.

Kathleen M. Mahoney, PhD, MD, Instructor of Medicine, Medicine, Hematology-Oncology, Bethe-Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Targeting immune checkpoint pathways, such as PD-1 and its ligand PD-L1, have shown promising clinical benefit with significantly less toxicity than prior immune therapies. My research interest lies in better understanding the biology of the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway, as well as other B7 family proteins and immune evasive molecules, and their function in the tumor microenvironment, in order to help guide treatment decisions and improve patient outcomes.

Irina Nazarenko, PhD, Group Leader, Exosome and Tumor Biology, Medical Center, University of Freiburg

Irina Nazarenko is the head of the Exosome and Tumor Biology Group at the Medical Center University of Freiburg, Germany. The main focus of her group is the role of Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) in metastatic cancer progression and their application in the liquid biopsy. New in vitro system allowing modeling of 3D tumor environment, EVs isolation and study of their function under 3D conditions is one of the recent works. Furthermore, her team is working on the concept of “high precision liquid biopsy,” addressing the relevance of different EVs subtypes as a biomarker source. Being trained in genetics and molecular biology at the Moscow State University, Irina Nazarenko started to work with EV during her postdoctoral training at the German Cancer Research Center. She is one of the founders of the International Society of Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) and a founder and managing director of the German Society of Extracellular Vesicles (GSEV).

Christiane Opitz, PhD, Group Leader, Brain Cancer Metabolism, German Cancer Research Center, DKFZ

The failure of Epacadostat, an inhibitor of the tryptophan-degrading enzyme indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) in a phase 3 clinical trial in unstratified malignant melanoma patients underscores the importance of using biomarkers to select patients for treatments with enzyme inhibitors. Our multiplex approach allows for time efficient and precise measurement of tryptophan and its metabolites in multiple clinical samples and therefore is ideally suited to stratify patients to treatments modulating tryptophan metabolism. In addition, the tool can be used to monitor treatment response to modulators of tryptophan metabolism.

Graham Pawelec, MA, PhD, FGSA, Professor of Experimental Immunology, Second Department of Internal Medicine, University of Tuebingen Clinical School, Germany, Affiliated Scientist, Cancer Solutions Program, Health Sciences North Research Institute, Canada

Training: Research in transplantation immunology, Dept. Surgery, University of Cambridge, UK, under Prof. Sir Roy Calne. My first contribution to science: demonstration of immunosuppressive effects of the new agent Cyclosporin A on T cells rather than B cells. Subsequent research on histocompatibility issues in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, leading an interest in graft-versus-leukemia and anti-cancer immunity in general, later focusing on immune ageing in this context in the lab in Germany and Canada.

Mohini Rajasagi, PhD, MD, Director Translational Oncology and Clinical Biomarkers, Oncology Clinical Research, Merck Sharpe and Dohme (MSD)

Mohini has 10 years of Oncology experience, she has worked at DFCI, Pfizer and BMS. Mohini received her B.S. in Biotechnology (with distinction) at Bangalore University, her M.Sc in Biotechnology (with distinction) at University of Essex and her PhD (Summa cum laude) at German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). Afterward, she completed her postdoctoral fellowship training at Dr. Catherine Wu’s lab at DFCI. Mohini is a trained cancer immunologist, with extensive experience in academic and pharmaceutical institutions. Her key focus has been on T cell and macrophage biology, Ag presentation, and immune cell signaling, with expertise in Immuno-Oncology discovery and translational biomarkers. Mohini authored or co-authored in several high impact journals including, Nature Reviews Cancer, Nature Biotechnology and Blood. Her work set the stage for several Phase I studies of multi-epitope personalized neoantigen vaccines for cancers and as biomarkers to predict response. Mohini’s postdoctoral work on neoantigens has contributed towards the launch of a startup company funded by Third Rock Ventures, Neon Therapeutics (Cambridge, MA).

Ed Schuuring, MD, Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Pathology, Pathology, University Medical Center Groningen

Three decades his research focuses on the identification of prognostic/predictive epigenetic and molecular markers for clinical outcome, response to chemo-radiotherapy, gene-targeted therapy and treatment-resistance in lung, GIST, head&neck cancer, as well as the early detection of cervical cancer in scrapings. More recently his interest expanded to monitoring plasma ctDNA as a bloodborne-based molecular tool to predict response to targeted and immune-therapy. He is heading the laboratory of Molecular Pathology offering the latest innovative methods for treatment-decision-making in the region North-Netherlands. Since 1997 he is active in (inter)national committees and advisory boards on implementing Molecular Pathology, the organisation of international proficiency mutation testing in lung tissue biopsies and plasma ctDNA, and co-authored various international guidelines on Molecular Pathology. He graduated in Medical Biology in 1985 and PhD in 1993 in Molecular Biology (University of Amsterdam). He worked as a staff clinical scientist in Molecular Pathology at LUMC (1991-2000) and UMCG (2001-now).

Milosevic Slavoljub, MD, Head of Technology and Innovation, Medigene AG

Dr. Milosevic Slavoljub is a trained molecular biologist and immunologist with many years of academic, entrepreneur and biotech experience. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular Immunology from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology and Tumor Genetics, Munich. Prior to moving to his current role as the Head of Technology and Innovation, Medigene AG he was a Group Leader at the Institute of Molecular Immunology at Helmholtz Centrum Munich.

Jun Zhu, PhD, Professor, Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Sema4, a Mount Sinai venture

Jun Zhu, PhD is Professor of Genetics and Genomic Sciences and a member of Institute of Genomics and Multiscale Biology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Head of Data Science at Sema4, a Mount Sinai venture for personalized medicine. Dr. Zhu was trained in both computer science and biomedical science. His research focuses on methodologies for integrating diverse data into probabilistic causal networks for elucidating complex diseases as well as method development for analyzing and comparing disease-related networks.

Oncolytic Virus Immunotherapy

Evren Alici, MD, PhD, Head, Gene and Cell Therapy Group, Division of Hematology, Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital, Sweden

Dr. Evren Alici is an Assistant Professor of Hematology at Karolinska Institutet, Department of Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden. He received his MD and did his residency at the Ege University. He received his Ph.D. in 2006 at Karolinska Institutet. His main research interest is natural killer cells, multiple myeloma, lentiviral and retroviral gene transfer, stem cell transplantation and immunology. He is a member of several international and national committees, advisory boards and scientific meetings.

John Beadle, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, PsiOxus Therapeutics

John is Chief Executive Officer of Psioxus Therapeutics Ltd. a privately held company developing immuno-oncology therapeutics. Headquartered in Oxford, UK, with offices in Philadelphia, USA, PsiOxus is focused upon developing a pipeline of cancer gene therapy products for the treatment of patients with solid tumors. John was previously Co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of PowderMed Ltd., a private Oxford, UK biotech company, which he helped to build and lead before a successful trade sale in 2007 to Pfizer. He then became Entrepreneur in Residence at Imperial College London through Imperial Innovations and has since held the role of CEO in a number of start-up and early stage biotech companies. He was CEO of both Myotec Therapeutics and Hybrid Biosytems, before merging the two companies in 2011 to form PsiOxus Therapeutics.

In his early career, John held Research and Development roles of ascending seniority within The Wellcome Foundation, GlaxoWellcome and GlaxoSmithkline, where he was most recently the Vice President of Global Medical Operations. He was then Vice President of Product Development at the vaccines company PowderJect. John graduated as a Medical Doctor at the University of Witwatersrand and received his Master of Business Administration from the London Business School.

John C. Bell, Senior Scientist, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, University of Ottawa

John Bell is a PhD scientist trained in virology, immunology and cancer biology. He has been involved in the development of oncolytic virus products for over 20 years and has been a Scientific Co-Founder of Jennerex Biotherapeutics and Turnstone Biologics. He is the Scientific Director of BioCanRx, a trans-Canadian Network that funds collaborative projects between scientists and clinicians to accelerate the most promising anti-cancer immune-therapeutics from discovery into clinical testing. He is the Director of the Canadian Oncolytic Virus Consortium, a Terry Fox Foundation funded team grant focused on the development of oncolytic virus therapeutics. John’s research program aims at understanding at the molecular level interactions between oncolytic viruses, tumour cells and the patient’s immune system with the goal of using this information to optimize OV development.

Michael F Burgess, PhD, President, Research and Development, Turnstone Biologics

Dr. Mike Burgess is President of R&D at Turnstone Biologics. Prior to this he led strategy and execution of translational medicine, early-stage clinical trials and clinical pharmacology across all therapeutic areas, including oncology at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Before joining BMS Mike held several different senior leadership positions at Roche, including acting global head of Roche Pharma Research and Early Development (pRED) and senior vice president and global head of oncology research and early development. Before joining Roche, Mike spent 7 years at Lilly working on early stage oncology trials. Mike received his medical degree (MBChB) and a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Bristol, UK and spent 10 years as a practicing physician in pediatrics and pediatric oncology

Gabriella Campadelli-Fiume, Sc.Dr., Professor of Virology, University of Bologna, Italy

Gabriella Campadelli-Fiume has an academic background as Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Virology at the University of Bologna, Italy. Her research led to the discovery of nectin1, a major HSV receptor, and of epithelial integrins as additional receptors. She has developed first and second generation retargeted oHSVs, the related IP protection, and in currently involved in the preclinical validation. Major fields of interest include design and preclinical efficacy of oncolytic HSVs retargeted to tumor-specific receptors.

Robert Coffin, PhD, Co-Founder and CEO, Replimune

Robert Coffin is co-founder and CEO of Replimune. Previously he was Founder & CTO of BioVex Inc, a spin out from his research group at University College London in 1999. Rob was the inventor of all BioVex products including OncoVEXGM-CSF (talimogene laherparepvec; T-VEC; Imlygic) and oversaw all research and clinical development including bringing T-VEC through to two pivotal phase 3 studies in melanoma and head & neck cancer. BioVex was acquired by Amgen in 2011 where Rob was VP Global Development until 2013. T-VEC was approved by the FDA for use in advanced melanoma in October 2015, the first oncolytic therapy or gene therapy to be approved in the US. Rob was awarded a PhD in virology from Imperial College London prior to his move to University College London in 1991.

Akseli Hemminki, MD, PhD, CEO and Founder, TILT Biotherapeutics Ltd.

Akseli Hemminki (MD, PhD, eMBA pending in 2018) is the founder, CEO and Board Chairman of TILT Biotherapeutics, and Professor of Oncology at the University of Helsinki. In addition to his world leading medical and scientific track record with oncolytic viruses, Akseli has solid experience with founding, financing, and operation of biotech firms. Akseli founded TILT in 2013, rapidly securing multiple rounds of seed financing. Prior to founding TILT, he had co-founded Oncos Therapeutics Ltd (currently Targovax ASA), a company involved in clinical translation of several families of oncolytic viruses. Akseli served as Chairman of the Board, Chief Scientific Officer, and Board member at Oncos. He also pioneered individualized patient-by-patient use of oncolytic immunotherapy under the EU Advanced Therapy Directive, and personally treated 290 patients using 10 different oncolytic adenoviruses. He continues to see cancer patients giving him hands-on knowledge in clinical application of immuno-oncology. Akseli has authored nearly 300 peer-reviewed manuscripts or book chapters on cancer research and oncolytic viruses, many of them published in the best journals of the field. He has been involved in a dozen clinical trials in Europe and U.S. He is also an inventor on >10 patent applications relating to oncolytic viruses, including all of TILT´s patents.

Douglas J. Jolly, PhD, Executive Vice President, Research & Pharmaceutical Development, Tocagen Inc.

Douglas Jolly, Ph.D., is a co-founder of Tocagen and has served as our executive vice president, research and pharmaceutical development since December 2007. He is an internationally recognized expert in the field of gene therapy and its pharmaceutical application. Over the last 25 years he has been a senior biotechnology executive involved in translating gene-based products from research through clinical development at the following companies: Viagene, Inc., where he was also a co-founder, Chiron Corporation, Oxford BioMedica plc, where he ran the U.S. subsidiary, BioMedica Inc., and Advantagene, Inc., where he most recently served as president. He has published more than one hundred scientific articles and is an inventor on more than forty-five issued patents. Before entering the biopharmaceutical industry, Dr. Jolly pursued his academic career in biophysics and molecular biology at the Weizmann Institute; Harvard Medical School; Scripps Clinic; University of California, San Diego; and The French National Institute for Health and Medical Research, INSERM, in Paris. Dr. Jolly holds a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Glasgow.Dr. Jolly is a current board member and past chairman of the Industrial Liaison Committee of the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy.

Ulrich M. Lauer, MD, Professor & Vice Chairman, Internal Medicine VIII, Medicine, University Hospital Tübingen, Germany

Prof. Dr. U.M. Lauer is serving as an Associate Professor, Senior Physician, and Research Group Leader at the University Hospital Tübingen, Germany. Prof. Lauer has published over 100 peer reviewed articles, especially in the areas of virotherapy and gene therapy. Since 2006 Prof. Lauer is Head of the German Oncolysis Consortium (GOC). Prof. Lauer for the first time has applied recombinant oncolytic vaccinia virus-based virotherapeutics in a locoregional manner in patients exhibiting peritoneal carcinomatosis. Prof. Lauer´s current research is focused on Experimental & Translational Oncology, Patient-indivualized Virotherapy (Tumor Tissue Slice Technology & Organoids), Oncolytic Virus Technologies (Measles vaccine virus, Vaccinia Virus, Herpes simplex virus), Suicide gene Arming of Oncolytic Viruses, Innate immunity mediated Tumor Therapy and Epigenetic Tumor Therapy.

Angelica Loskog, CEO, Lokon Pharma AB

Angelica Loskog is the CEO of Lokon Pharma and a Professor of immunotherapy at Uppsala University in Sweden. Further, she is a scientific advisor to the venture capital company Nexttobe AB and is a board member of several of their portfolio companies including Hansa Medical (Publ), Bioimics, Vivolux and Repos Pharma.

Eric Quemeneur, PharmD, PhD, CSO, Transgene

Eric (PharmD, PhD, HDR) joined Transgene at the end of 2014 with the mission to renovate the product portfolio, and to boost innovation on cancer vaccines and oncolytic viruses. His scientific background and professional experience is in protein engineering, and toxicology. In his previous positions at Biomerieux, Hoechst AG (now Sanofi), French Army Health Service, and at CEA, he has always pushed for improving the translation from basic science into applications. He was involved in the launch of 5 spinoff companies from his former labs.

Stephen J. Russell, MD, PhD, CEO, Vyriad, Inc.

Dr. Russell is a Professor of Molecular Medicine, Consultant Hematologist at Mayo Clinic Rochester and serves on the Board of Trustees of Buena Vista University, Iowa. He was formerly the Dean for Discovery and Experimental Research at Mayo Clinic. He obtained his MD from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and his PhD from the University of London, England. He trained at University College Hospital and the Royal Marsden Hospital, London, then moved to Cambridge, England where he led a research team in the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology, founded Cambridge Genetics, a biotechnology/drug discovery company that succeeded through a series of mergers, and was a practicing consultant hematologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. In 1998 he moved to Mayo Clinic where he chaired the Department of Molecular Medicine, built a comprehensive translational gene and virus therapy program, developed innovative technologies for targeting viruses to cancer cells, and orchestrated the first-in-human testing of oncolytic Measles and Vesicular stomatitis viruses. In addition to his academic faculty role, he is currently serving as CEO of Vyriad, an oncolytic virotherapy company.

His research is focused on developing engineered viruses for the treatment of disseminated malignancies and demonstrating their efficacy in clinical trials. Research themes in his laboratory include the engineering of viral membrane glycoproteins, targeting cell to cell fusion, targeting virus entry, using cellular microRNAs to reprogramme virus tropism, modulating and exploiting virus-tumor-immune system interactions, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies of virus-based therapies, noninvasive monitoring and imaging of viral.

Steve H Thorne, CSO, Western Oncolytics

Dr. Thorne has many years of experience working with different oncolytic vaccinia and related viruses. This includes design, engineering, pre-clinical testing, translational development and IND-enabling and early phase clinical testing. He has pioneered the use of these vectors alone, notably as immunotherapies and in combination with immune cell-based and antibody-based therapies. Dr. Thorne’s Undergraduate degree was obtained from Oxford University and Ph.D. from Imperial College in London, with post-doctoral experience at Cancer Research UK and Stanford University. He was faculty at The University of Pittsburgh for 8 years and has over 80 publications in refereed journals (including Science, Nat Med, JCI, PLoS Medicine, PNAS USA, Can Cell, Can Res, Cell Host Microbe and Nat Rev Can). In addition he has been involved with several Biotech start-ups, including Jennerex Biotherapuetics (now a part of Sillajen), and more recently Western Oncolytics Ltd. He is currently CSO at Western Oncolytics.

Frank Tufaro, PhD, CEO, DNAtrix, Inc.

Frank Tufaro’s career has spanned both science and business. Frank was a professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada), where his research focused on virus-host interactions. During this time, Frank also co-founded Neurovir, Inc., a Vancouver-based biotech company with a mission to develop herpes simplex virus oncolytic vectors for treating cancer. In a few short years, Dr. Tufaro and his co-founders established NeuroVir as a significant player in the emerging field of viral oncology.

Frank joined DNAtrix full time in 2012, and has served a CEO ever since. DNAtrix has made significant clinical progress for treating brain tumors, and continues to expand its pipeline for treating solid tumors. Besides DNAtrix, Frank serves on the scientific advisory and executive boards of several companies and remains active as an ad hoc reviewer in the area of virology and gene therapy for scientific journals and meetings. He currently lives in San Diego, California, with his wide and children.

Guy Ungerechts, MD, PhD, Deputy Director, Medical Oncology Department, National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT), University Hospital Heidelberg, Germany

Guy Ungerechts MD, PhD is a medical oncologist trained in the field of oncolytic viruses at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA and at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI), Ottawa, Canada. He is Deputy Director of the Medical Oncology Department at the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT), Heidelberg, Germany. His clinical focus is GI oncology with particular interests in translational medicine and early clinical trials of immuno(viro)therapy.

Since 2008 Guy heads the Virotherapy group at NCT/DKFZ in Heidelberg as an independent researcher. He has been responsible for the development and conduction of several Phase I/II and III trials with oncolytic viruses derived from different platforms including oncolytic measles virus, vaccinia virus (JX-594), parvovirus H-1 and herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). His group recently demonstrated for the first time that measles virus can be armed with immunomodulatory transgenes encoding for cytokines, immune checkpoint blockade antibodies and bispecific T cell engager (BITEs) for enhanced immunovirotherapy.

Preclinical and Translational Immuno-Oncology

Michal Bassani-Sternberg, PhD, Head of Immunopeptidomics lab, Oncology, University Hospital of Lausanne and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Lausanne

Position: Head of Immunopeptidomics Unit, Department of Oncology, University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV), Switzerland and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Lausanne Branch. Michal Bassani-Sternberg received her PhD degree in Biology (2010) from the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology. From 2011 to 2015 she was a post-doctoral researcher at the Proteomics and Signal Transduction Department, headed by Prof. Matthias Mann at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry. She has been developing mass spectrometry-based workflows for direct identification of HLA binding peptides eluted form tumor specimens and uncovered dozens of new cancer specific antigens including patient’s specific neo-antigens. Currently she is heading the Immunopeptidomics Unit affiliated to the Center of Experimental Therapeutics at the Oncology Department at the CHUV. The Immunopeptidomics Unit implements advanced experimental and computational mass-spectrometry based antigen discovery workflows to support development of personalized cancer immunotherapy and early phase experimental cancer vaccines.

Cristina Bertinetti-Lapatki, PhD, Principal Scientist, Investigative Safety, Roche

Cristina Bertinetti-Lapatki is a principal scientist at Roche Innovation Center Basel. She is heading a team dedicated to the establishment of advanced in vitro tissue models and the development of assays for the assessment of drug induced toxicity.

Catarina Brito, Lab Head, Animal Cell Technology Unit, iBET

Catarina Brito has over 18 years of experience in Research & Development, with expertise on cellular biotechnology, 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 therapeutic response. Her projects are currently focused on Cancer (solid tumours) and Central Nervous System diseases.

Siu Tim Cheung, PhD, Associate Professor, Surgery, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin

Cheung PhD involved the study on molecular genetics of human cancers. The research team currently focuses to investigate the potential of natural killer (NK) cell immunotherapy in liver cancer treatment. NK cell number and activity were lower in liver cancer patients, and negatively modulated by the cancer stem cell marker granulin-epithelin precursor (GEP) through NK receptor ligands MICA and HLA-E. GEP blockage sensitized liver cancer cells to NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity. The study has important implication to reveal the rational design for combination checkpoint immunotherapy. 

Sara Colombetti, PhD, Head of Oncology Discovery Pharmacology, Research and Early Development (pRED), Roche Pharma

I have received my PhD 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.

Mahendra Deonarain, BSc, PhD, CEO and CSO, Antikor Biopharma

Dr Deonarain studied at Imperial College and Cambridge University where he carried out PhD research into protein engineering. From 1997-2011 Dr Deonarain was a Principle Investigator and Reader in Antibody Technology at Imperial College, which led to some novel technologies being developed commercially. Dr Deonarain now retains honorary links with Imperial College. He has published over 70 papers and patents in protein/antibody engineering/conjugates. In 2001, he co-founded PhotoBiotics to develop a form of targeted photodynamic therapy using antibody fragments optimized for bio-conjugation (OptiLink technology). This is now at Antikor Biopharma where he is CEO/CSO leading a team to develop the next-generation of antibody-fragment based ADCs for solid tumours based on OptiLink.

Andrew Exley, PhD, Medical Assessor, Biologicals and Biotechnology Unit, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (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.

Jonathan Fisher, BSc, BM, MClinRes, MRCPCH, PhD, Clinical Postdoctoral Fellow, Cancer Section, UCL Institute of Child Health

Dr Fisher is a clinical academic who works as part of Prof. John Anderson’s laboratory at the UCL Institute of Child Health. His research focuses on the development of early-phase immunotherapeutic technologies, predominantly using gamma-delta T-cells as a chassis. Whilst his clinical practice is in paediatrics, these strategies are applicable to adult and childhood cancer. Through collaboration with Prof. Dana Pe’er at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, he applies computational biology techniques to the mechanistic analysis of CAR-T cell signalling to highlight features which may need further optimisation.

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.  

Timo Lischke, PhD, Scientist, Preclinical Pharmacology & Cancer Immunology, Glycotope GmbH

In his PhD project (2004-2009), Timo Lischke studied the functional correlates of CD4+ T cell tolerance and immunity at the Robert Koch-Institute (Berlin). As a PostDoc (2010-2016), he first studied T cell responses in different murine infection models at the University Hospital Eppendorf (Hamburg), and then the regulation of T cell cytokine expression at the German Rheumatism Research Center (Berlin). Since 2016, he works as a scientist for Glycotope GmbH focusing on the preclinical pharmacology of Glycotope´s immuno-oncological drugs and is responsible for the characterization of therapeutic antibodies targeting carbohydrate cancer epitopes.

Danilo Maddalo, PhD, Lab head, Oncology, Novartis

Danilo Maddalo gained his PharmD from the University of Naples (Italy) and his PhD in Molecular biology from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany). Danilo joined NIBR oncology at the end of 2015 in the department of pharmacology/drug discovery. Among his activities, he focuses on the generation of animal models of disease with the genome editing technique CRISPR/Cas9. Before joining Novartis, Danilo was a research fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC (USA), where he established in vivo models of chromosomal translocations.

Richard O’Kennedy, PhD, Vice-President for Research Development and Innovation, Qatar Foundation

Richard O’Kennedy, B.Sc., Ph.D., C. Biol., FRSB., F.I.Biol.I., Dip. F.S., Dip. C.S., Dip. Computing, MRIA, is Vice-President for Research, Development and Innovation at the Qatar Foundation. Previously he was Vice-President for Research at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Doha, Qatar, Professor and Scientific Director of the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute at Dublin City University (DCU). He is past President of the London International Youth Science Forum, Past President of the Institute of Biology of Ireland, past Chairman/Founder of the Centre for Talented Youth (CTY) in Ireland, and represented Ireland and the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) on the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB). He was a member of the Industrial Research and Commercialisation Committee of Enterprise Ireland, the National Bioethics Council for Ireland, and the Life Sciences and Health Committee of the RIA. Previously he was Vice-President for Teaching and Learning at DCU, Chair of the Management Committee of the Dublin Region Higher Education Alliance (11 Institutions and ca 66,000 students) and Visiting Scientist at M.D. Anderson Cancer Centre at the University of Texas at Houston, where his work was selected as ‘Invention of the Year’. He directs the Applied Biochemistry Research Group, internationally recognised for its expertise in antibody generation and immuno/ biosensor assay development, has published extensively (250 peer-reviewed papers, 51 reviews, 40 book chapters, 2 books + 1 in process), has mentored 69 Ph.Ds to completion and has a Google Scholar H-Index of 53 with ca 11,800 citations. He has academic collaborations worldwide, has carried out many collaborations with industry, has 7 patents, multiple licences and many of his reagents/innovations have been licenced and commercialised. He is Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of AbYBiotech, is chairman the Scientific Board of Glycoselect, a highly innovative Biotech company, and has acted as reviewer for over 60 journals, is editor of 3 journals and acts as a reviewer for ca 30 international funding bodies.  He has a major interest in innovative approaches to Healthcare and has received many awards for research (Biochemistry Medal of the RIA; President’s Award for Research, 3 Fujitsu Awards for Innovation; Ireland’s Bioscience Lab of the Year, 2014), teaching (President’s award, DCU; Outstanding Masters Programme Award, Graduate Ireland, 2011 and Outstanding Education and Outreach Lab, 2017, and CTY award, 2018). 

Dimitris Skokos, PhD, Associate Director, Immunology & Inflammation, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

Dimitris Skokos is an Associate Director in Immunity and Inflammation department of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, as well as an adjunct faculty professor at Rockefeller University. 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 PhD 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 work 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.

Jane Willoughby, Senior Post-Doc, Antibody and Vaccine Group, Centre for Cancer Immunology, University of Southampton

I did my PhD in Richard Treisman’s lab at CRUK looking into the Ternary Complex Factor transcription factors and their role in T cell development. I subsequently took a post-doc position in the lab of Prof. Al-Shamkhani, investigating the role of the costimulatory TNFRSF members in the generation of CD8 T cell memory. This furthered our understanding of the nuances of T cell regulation through costimulation and helped define the requirements for generating memory. To broaden this knowledge and make use of the emerging understanding of the role of FcgR in therapeutic efficacy I joined Prof Mark Cragg’s group. Building on work from within the antibody and vaccine group at Southampton we have been investigating the impact of antibody isotype on mechanisms of action of antibodies directed against costimulatory TNFRSF members.

Eugene Zhukovsky, PhD, Senior Scientific Director of Immuno-Oncology, Research, Oxford Biotherapeutics

Dr. Zhukovsky has been working with OBT on the development of immunooncology therapeutics since 2017. He is also the Chief Scientific Officer of Biomunex Pharmaceuticals, where he is developing BiXAb® bispecific antibodies for immunooncology. He has over two decades of professional experience in the field of biotherapeutics research and development. Previously, he served as the CSO of Affimed Therapeutics; there he was responsible for the advancement of candidate therapeutics from discovery to the clinic and novel technology development. Prior to that he was a Senior Research Fellow in the Biotherapeutics Department at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. leading antibody discovery efforts. Prior to that Dr. Zhukovsky was an Associate Director at Xencor, Inc. where he led translational research efforts resulting in several clinical candidates for hematological malignancies. Dr. Zhukovsky began his professional career employing phage display technology at Neurex Corporation before moving to Lynx Therapeutics (now Illumina, Inc.) to work on the development of genomics technologies. Dr. Zhukovsky performed a postdoctoral fellowship at Genentech, Inc. He received a PhD in biochemistry from Brandeis University.

Short Courses

SC1: The Tumour Microenvironment and Response to Cancer Immunotherapy

Stephen A Beers, PhD, Professor, Immunology and Immunotherapy, Cancer Immunology, University of Southampton

Stephen Beers joined the University of Southampton, Faculty of Medicine in 2002. He leads a research group within the Centre for Cancer Immunology 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.

Awen Gallimore, DPhil, Professor, Immunology, Infection and Immunity, Cardiff University

Awen Gallimore is a Professor at the Division of Infection and Immunity, Cardiff University. She gained a DPhil in Professor Andrew McMichael's laboratory in Oxford, studying the anti-viral role of cytotoxic T cells in SIV infection, subsequently moving to Professor Rolf Zinkernagel's laboratory to study the correlates of anti-viral immunity. Her current focus is on examining the impact of regulatory T cells (Treg) on anti-tumour immunity, with an emphasis on understanding the nature of the reciprocal relationship between anti-tumour immune responses and the tumour microenvironment. The group takes basic research using animal models of cancer through to testing novel immunotherapies in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC).

SC2: Next Generation Immunotherapies

Laura von Schanz, Alligator Biosciences

Dario Neri, PhD, Professor, Biomacromolecules, Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, ETH Zürich

Dario Neri studied Chemistry at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa and earned a PhD in Chemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich), under the supervision of Professor Kurt Wüthrich. He then performed post-doctoral research at the Medical Research Council Centre in Cambridge (UK), under the supervision of Sir Gregory Winter. He has now been a Professor at the ETH Zürich since 1996. The research of the group Neri focuses on the engineering of therapeutic antibodies for the therapy of cancer and other angiogenesis-related disorders. Other research activities include the chemical proteomic discovery of novel vascular markers of pathology and the development of DNA-encoded chemical libraries. Dario Neri is a co-founder of Philogen (www.philogen.com), a Swiss-Italian biotech company which has brought five antibody-based products into multicenter clinical trials for the therapy of cancer and of rheumatoid arthritis. Dario Neri has published over 300 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals. He is the recipient of the ISOBM Abbott Prize 2000, of the Amgen-Dompe’ Biotec Award 2000, of the Mangia d’Oro 2001, of the Prous Award 2006 of the European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry, of the Robert-Wenner-Prize 2007 of the Swiss Cancer League, of the SWISS BRIDGE Award 2008, of the Prix Mentzer of the French Medicinal Chemistry Society in 2011, of the Phoenix Prize 2014 and of an ERC Advanced Grant in 2015.

Ryan McCoy, Lead Technical Scientist, Cell and Gene Therapy, Catapult

Ryan McCoy has over 10 years’ process development experience in cell therapy and regenerative medicine, working in both industry and academic settings. He completed a MEng in Biochemical Engineering and an EngD in Biochemical Engineering and Bioprocess Leadership at University College London (UCL), before completing a post-doctorate at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). He has worked with a broad range of autologous and allogeneic cell therapy types, with particular focus historically on cancer immunotherapies and bone mechanobiology. At Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult his role as a Senior Process Development Scientist sees him utilising a risk-based approach, focusing on innovation and process efficiency, for Cost of Goods reduction and industrialisation of the field.

R.J. Tesi, MD, CEO and CMO, Inmune Bio

Dr. Tesi is President, Chief Executive Officer and acting Chief Medical Officer since the formation of the Company in September 2015. From November 2011 to May 2015, Dr. Tesi was CEO, President and Acting Chief Medical Officer of FPRT Bio Inc., a development-stage biotech company formed to develop XPro1595 for the treatment of neurodegenerative disease and other inflammatory diseases. From November 2010 to October 2011, Dr. Tesi was Chief Medical Officer of Adienne SRL, an emerging biotech company in Bergamo, Italy focused on products to treat patients with hematologic malignancy. From June 2007 to September 2010, Dr. Tesi was CEO and President of Coronado Biosciences, a company he founded. Dr. Tesi received his MD degree from Washington University School of Medicine in 1982. Dr. Tesi has been a licensed physician since 1982, an academic transplant surgeon and Fellow of the American College of Surgery before transitioning to industry in 1997.

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 tumor microenvironment; b) interrogating patient humoral responses for potential biomarkers to aid stratification and to inform patient-focused treatments; c) designing Fc-modified antibodies with enhanced effector functions and antibody-drug conjugate approaches; 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.

SC3: Managing the Challenges of Bioassays for Immuno-Oncology

Sofie Pattijn, CTO, ImmunXperts

SC4: T Cell Therapies: Current Field, Challenges and Future Directions

Fiona Thistlethwaite, Consultant, Medical Oncology, Experimental Cancer Medicine, and Honorary Senior Lecturer, Cancer Sciences, Biology Medicine & Health, University of Manchester

Dr Fiona Thistlethwaite is a Medical Oncology Consultant within the ECMT (Experimental Cancer Medicines Team) at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and Honorary Senior Lecturer at The University of Manchester. She graduated from The University of Cambridge MB PhD programme in 1999. Her PhD, under the supervision of Professor Sir Martin Evans, explored the molecular mechanisms that lead to cancer in inherited breast cancer syndromes. Following posts at Liverpool Royal, The Royal Marsden and The Christie she became a consultant at The Christie in 2007 and joined the ECMT in 2016. Fiona has been actively involved in clinical trial development for many years with a research focus on early phase clinical trials in immune-oncology, particularly adoptive cell therapies, combination immunotherapies and immune biomarkers. She is the Programme Director for the iMATCH (Innovate Manchester Advanced Therapy Centre Hub) consortium which was recently awarded almost £7M to establish one of three National Centres for Advanced Therapies in the UK. She is a member of the ESMO Congress Scientific Committee (Immunotherapy Track) and has been an invited speaker at both ESMO Congress and ESMO preceptorships in recent years.

Reno Debets, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Tumor Immunology, Medical Oncology, Erasmus MC Cancer Institute

Reno Debets 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 heads the laboratory of Tumor Immunology, Department of Medical Oncology, Erasmus MC-Cancer Institute (since 2000). He is a certified Immunologist (since 2005) and an Associate professor (since 2010). Reno Debets’ laboratory takes part in international consortia and consists of 15 people, including PhD students and postdoctoral fellows. Research of his laboratory is involved in 3 activities towards new or ongoing patient studies:

  • Developing and testing of T cell receptor-engineered T cells
  • Understanding and intervention with cross-talk between tumor cells and micro-milieu
  • Monitoring of T cell phenotype and function