Speakers

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Robin Parihar
Assistant Professor
Baylor College of Medicine

I am a pediatric oncologist with an interest in caring for children with solid tumors. I have an active research lab interested in stimulating the immune system to fight solid tumors. My lab investigates the role of a specific type of immune cell called the natural killer (NK) cell in the control of cancer. My current research projects aim to enhance NK cell function in order to target the tumor microenvironment, essentially getting rid of the accessory cells that help a tumor resist standard therapies. I am currently working on introducing the enhanced NK cells as therapy for children with advanced cancers. In addition, we are using our established lab models to better understand how the tumor microenvironment suppresses the immune system, in order to develop new approaches to overcome this inhibition and improve immune-based therapies for pediatric cancers. 

Day Two

Thursday 3 December 2020

11:00 am | Effective Modeling of the Solid TME to Optimize Cellular Immunotherapies

Benjamin Rengstl
Head of Immunoreceptor Therapy
BioNTech Cell & Gene Therapies GmbH

Dr. Rengstl develops cell- and RNA-based immunotherapies and further takes technology agnostic approaches to create new strategies for controlled modulation of the immune system. Dr. Rengstl began specializing in this area during his postdoctoral training at the Medical School of Goethe University Frankfurt, where he developed chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-engineered T-cell therapies against lymphomas and got trained in clinical pathologyIn 2017he joined BioNTech SE located in Mainz to develop a clinical CAR-T candidate for treatment of solid tumorsTo improve CAR-T therapy, his team pioneered an in vivo expansion concept based on a liposomally formulated RNA vaccine (CARVac) for systemic delivery of CAR antigenA FIH clinical trial assessing BioNTech´s novel CLDN6-CAR in combination with CARVac will be opened this year. Furthermore, Dr Rengstl is leading programs on next generation cell & gene therapies that besides oncology focus on infectious disease.

Day One

Wednesday 2 December 2020

4:35 pm | Live Q&A with Your Expert Speakers

3:20 pm | An RNA Vaccine Drives Expansion and Efficacy of Claudin-CAR-T Cells Against Solid Tumors

Michael Klichinsky
Co-Founder & VP, Discovery
Carisma Therapeutics

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

Day One

Wednesday 2 December 2020

1:35 pm | Live Q&A with Your Expert Speakers

12:45 pm | Engineered CAR Macrophages & Monocytes – Hijacking the Solid Tumor Microenvironment

Laura Johnson
Senior Director, Translational Academic Innovation OCT Lead
GlaxoSmithKline

In my current role of Scientific Affairs, I lead the oncology cell therapy clinical biomarkers lab working on identifying clinical biomarkers to support patient stratification for solid tumors. Prior to this I was Laboratory director at University of Pennsylvania translating gene-engineered T cell therapies for cancer. 

Day One

Wednesday 2 December 2020

10:00 am | Chair’s Opening Remarks

Day Two

Thursday 3 December 2020

5:10 pm | Chair’s Closing Remarks

4:55 pm | Live Q&A with Your Expert Speakers

3:40 pm | Biomarkers to Support Optimal Patient Selection

10:10 am | Panel Discussion: Advancing Safe & Effective Clinical Translation in Solid Tumors

John Lee
Scientific Director, CAR-T Discovery & Platform Development, Janssen
Johnson & Johnson

Accomplished CAR-T immunobiologist with ~ 20 years of cancer cell biology expertise spanning small and large molecules, as well as cell-based therapeutics. An independent thinker with documented success creating solutions from problems by bridging the gap between nascent ideas and downstream deliverables. A creative scientist and proven leader with excellent communication skills who is highly committed to delivering best-in-class therapeutics to patients in need.

Cagan Gurer
Executive Director, Cell Therapy & Neoantigen Research
Kite, A Gilead Company

Scientist with 11 years of biopharmaceutical experience in creating animal models of human immune diseases, developing antibodies against autoimmune diseases and T-cell based therapeutics for immuno-oncology indications. 
 
Extensive experience with neoantigen discovery, generating human T-cell receptors and CARs against tumor associated antigens as well as modifying primary human T-cells for therapeutic applications.

Sabina Adhikary
Senior Scientist, Translational Medicine
Kite, A Gilead Company

Dr Adhikary has developed and led the translational testing programs for solid tumors at Kite, a Gilead company since 2016.  Prior to Kite, Dr Adhikary was a postdoctoral fellow in Translational Immunology in John Wayne Cancer Institute, characterizing T cells present in benign breast disease prior to onset of breast cancer and tumor infiltrating T cells in patients with good versus bad prognosis. Dr Adhikary received her BS in Biotechnology from Rutgers University and PhD in Physiology from Temple University.

Day Two

Thursday 3 December 2020

4:55 pm | Live Q&A with Your Expert Speakers

4:05 pm | Review of Clinical and Translational Evidence in Support of Targeting Viral Oncogenes in Context of HPV-Involved Cancers

Blythe Sather
Senior Director, T-Cell Engineering
Lyell Immunopharma

Dr. Blythe Sather received her PhD from the University of Washington, Department of Immunology in 2007. Her thesis work focused on understanding the role of homing receptors on the function of regulatory T cells in the laboratory of Dr. Danial Campbell at the Benaroya Research Institute in Seattle. Her postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Dr. David Rawlings (SCRI), focused on developing gene therapies for primary immunodeficiency disorders, as well as groundbreaking work using megaTAL nucleases and AAV6 to insert anti-HIV chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) via gene editing-mediated homologous recombination into the CCR5 locus of primary T cells. In 2014, her desire to bring these types of therapies to the clinic on a larger scale lead her to move to Juno Therapeutics to join their research team. There she was instrumental in building their CAR T cell platform, developing several multiple myeloma CAR T cell program(s) including the anti-BCMA CAR product Orvacabtagene-transluecel (JCAR125), as well leading the collaboration with Editas medicine to bring CRISPER-mediated gene editing to CAR and TCR T cell products. At the end of 2018 she left Juno to help build the discovery group at Lyell Immunopharma, a start-up located in San Francisco and Seattle, whose focus is developing next generation cell therapies. She is currently working in Seattle as the senior director of T cell engineering, driving several unique cell products to the clinic for solid tumors.

Day One

Wednesday 2 December 2020

2:20 pm | Break Out Discussion Session

Day Two

Thursday 3 December 2020

10:10 am | Panel Discussion: Advancing Safe & Effective Clinical Translation in Solid Tumors

Chantale Bernatchez
Associate Director, Biologics Development
MD Anderson Cancer Center

My main interest is immunotherapy of cancer with a special emphasis on T cell therapy utilizing tumor infiltrating lymphocytes. My lab conducts translational research where human primary cells from cancer patients (tumors or immune cells) are interrogated to find markers of response to T cell therapy or other immunotherapies. Another focus of my research is towards process development in order to streamline the complex and time consuming method to expand the T cells ex-vivo. We are hoping to develop an easier and more cost effective T cell manufacturing process in collaboration with the industry with the aim to make commercialization of TIL a viable path. We owe to our patients to optimize ways to disseminate this treatment to the masses of patients needing it.

Day Two

Thursday 3 December 2020

3:00 pm | Live Q&A with Your Expert Speakers

2:35 pm | Infusing Optimal TILs

Daniel Getts
CSO
Myeloid Therapeutics

Prior to Myeloid, Dr Getts was VP of Research at TCR2 (NASDAQ; TCRR), where he lead the company's target discovery, preclinical and translational research programs.  As a member of the leadership team he guided the company through multiple financings, including an IPO,  resulting in >$200M in equity financing. Prior to TCR2 Dr Getts was inventor, co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Cour Pharmaceuticals, a nanotechnology platform company focused on autoimmunity and inflammation.  Here he assisted in the negotiation of a number of collaborations and licenses, including a $420M deal with Takeda for the company’s lead product.

Marit Van Buuren
Director, T-Cell Immunology
BioNTech US

Marit M. van Buuren, PhD is a Director at BioNTech US, where she is responsible for BioNTech’s personalized adoptive T cell program, NEO-PTC-01. With her team, she developed the proprietary induction process, NEO-STIMTM to prime activate and expand neoantigen specific T cells from PBMCs. NEO-STIM as a platform is broadly used across BioNTech’s cell therapy programs. Prior to joining BioNTech, she was part of Neon Therapeutics and she completed her graduate work at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, focusing on the recognition of neoantigens by T cells.

Day One

Wednesday 2 December 2020

4:35 pm | Live Q&A with Your Expert Speakers

3:45 pm | Neon’s Approach to the Development of a Personalized Neoantigen T Cell Therapy, NEO-PTC-01

Alessandra Cesano
CMO, Essa Pharma & Director
SITC

Alessandra Cesano, MD, PhD has recently joined ESSA as Chief Medical Officer.  Previously she has been the Chief Medical Officer of NanoString Inc from July 2015 until June 2019 where she focused in the development of translational and diagnostic multi-plexed assays for the characterization and measurement of mechanisms of immune response/resistance.  Prior to joining NanoString, Dr. Cesano was Chief Medical Officer at Cleave Biosciences, Inc. and before then she served as Chief Medical Officer and Chief Operations Officer at Nodality, Inc., where she built and led the R and D group, while providing the overall clinical vision for the organization. Between 1998 and 2008, Dr. Cesano held various management positions at Amgen, Biogen Idec and SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, where she helped to advance various oncology drugs through late stage development and FDA approvals.  Early in her professional career Dr. Cesano spent 12 years conducting research in tumor immunology, including nine years at the Wistar Institute, an NCI Basic Cancer Center connected with the University of Pennsylvania.  She also holds membership in several professional and scientific societies including ASCO, ESMO, ASH, EHA, AACR and SITC. In the latter she serves as co-chair in the SITC Industry Committee, Associate Editor for the Biomarker section of JITC and is an active member of the SITC Biomarker Working Group. 

Day One

Wednesday 2 December 2020

11:20 am | Live Q&A With Your Expert Speakers

10:05 am | Reprogramming the Tumor Microenvironment Metabolism to Enhance Adoptive Cell Therapy Efficacy in Solid Tumors

Robert Hofmeister
CSO
TCR2 Therapeutics

Dr. Hofmeister joined TCR² in 2015 as the Senior Vice President of Research and Development. He brings nearly two decades of scientific leadership and a successful track record of drug discovery and early development. Previously, Dr. Hofmeister was the Vice President of Immuno-Oncology at EMD Serono where he was involved in the development of now approved Bavencio® (avelumab) and building the company’s immuno-oncology platform. He started his biotech career at Micromet AG, now Amgen Research Munich, where he helped shape the development of Blincyto®, the first FDA-approved bispecific antibody for the treatment of relapsed/refractory ALL. Dr. Hofmeister received his PhD from the University of Regensburg in Germany, where he studied the signaling of the cytokine interleukin-1. He continued to work in the cytokine field as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute. 

Day One

Wednesday 2 December 2020

11:20 am | Live Q&A With Your Expert Speakers

10:55 am | TRuC™ T Cells Designed to Overcome the Solid Tumor Microenvironment

Day Two

Thursday 3 December 2020

10:10 am | Panel Discussion: Advancing Safe & Effective Clinical Translation in Solid Tumors

Erika Von Euw
Associate Director, Translational Research
T-Cure Bioscience

Dr. von Euw has over 17 years of experience in translational oncology spanning from target identification, cell therapy discovery, preclinical proof-of-concept and safety studies to support investigational new drug applications and clinical testing. Erika received her Ph.D. in Immunology from Buenos Aires University, where she participated in the IND-enabling studies for a dendritic cells-based vaccine in melanoma patients. In 2008, Erika joined UCLA for her postdoctoral studies on a phase I clinical trial Adoptive transfer of MART-1 TCR transgenic lymphocytes and dendritic cell vaccination, also in patients with metastatic melanoma. As a UCLA faculty member, Dr. von Euw worked on multiple programs spanning from early drug discovery to translational research and biomarker development for clinical studies. Her multi-disciplinary project leadership experiences in IND-enabling drug development earned her 27+ publications and multiple patents applications.

Franco Marincola
CSO
Refuge Biotech

Dr. Marincola is Chief Scientific Officer at Refuge Biotechnologies, Menlo Park, California. He was previously Distinguished Research Fellow at AbbVie Corporation; Chief Research Officer at Sidra Research, Qatar; Tenured Investigator at the National Institutes of Health, Maryland. Dr. Marincola founded in 2003 the Journal of Translational Medicine and is the Editor-in-Chief. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Translational Medicine Communications and Clinical and Translational Medicine. He is past-president of the Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) and the International Society for Translational MedicineHe edited several books including the SITC-affiliated Cancer Immunotherapy Principles and Practice Textbook. Dr. Marincola is an award winning author of The Wise Men of Pizzo and Cat Behind the Window. 

Day One

Wednesday 2 December 2020

11:20 am | Live Q&A With Your Expert Speakers

2:20 pm | Break Out Discussion Session

10:30 am | Advanced Degree for CAR-T Cell Education at the Forefront of Synthetic Biology

Daniel Powell
Associate Professor, Director, Cellular Therapy Tissue Facility
University of Pennsylvania

The Powell Lab is actively investigating the application of immune-based therapy for cancer. Building on interrogations in basic T cell biology in the lab, bench-to-bedside translational immunology is being developed, with a strong focus on T cell-based therapy for ovarian cancer. 
 
One obstacle to successful immunotherapy is the lack of highly avid, tumor-reactive T cells in multiple cancers. One current focus of the Powell lab is to generate/isolate high avidity, tumor-reactive T cells from heterogenous tumor infiltrating lymphocyte populations in traditionally "non-immunogenic" cancers utilizing novel culture conditions and T cell capture techniques. This in turn will permit downstream studies of T cell receptor (TCR) isolation, cancer antigen identification and molecular characterization of naturally occurring tumor-reactive T cells in human cancer. 

Day One

Wednesday 2 December 2020

1:35 pm | Live Q&A with Your Expert Speakers

1:10 pm | Tumor-Associated Macrophages – The Key to the Solid Tumor

Alexander Swarbrick
Principal Research Fellow, Co-Lead Breast Translational Oncology Program
Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Alex is an Associate Professor of Medicine at UNSW Sydney, Laboratory Head in the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and co-head of the Breast Translational Oncology Program in the Kinghorn Cancer Centre, Sydney. Alex completed his PhD at UNSW, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship with Nobel Laureate J. Michael Bishop at UCSF. Alex applies cellular genomics to find new treatment strategies for breast and prostate cancer and melanoma. 

Day Two

Thursday 3 December 2020

12:10 pm | Parsing the Breast Tumor Microenvironment Using Cellular Genomics

Bob Valamehr
CDO, VP, Cancer Immunotherapy
Fate Therapeutics

Bahram (Bob) Valamehr is the Chief Development Officer at Fate Therapeutics, overseeing the company’s early development activities including “off-the-shelf” cell therapy product candidates derived from the company’s induced pluripotent stem cell platform. Previously, Dr. Valamehr was the Vice President of Cancer Immunotherapy at Fate and prior to that played key scientific roles at Amgen, the Center for Cell Control (a NIH Nanomedicine Development Center) and the Broad Stem Cell Research Center developing novel methods to control pluripotency, to modulate stem cell fate including hematopoiesis and to better understand cellular signaling pathways associated with cancer. He has co-authored numerous studies and patents related to stem cell biology, oncology and materials science. Dr. Valamehr received his Ph.D. from the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at UCLA, his M.B.A. from Pepperdine University and his B.S. from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA.

Day One

Wednesday 2 December 2020

4:35 pm | Live Q&A with Your Expert Speakers

4:10 pm | Advancement of a Novel MICA- and MICB-specific Chimeric Antigen Receptor for the Development of Off-the-Shelf Adoptive Cellular Immunotherapies for Ubiquitous Targeting of Solid Tumors

Peter Lee
Billy Wilder Endowed Professor
City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dr. Lee’s research focuses on understanding how the tumor microenvironment (TME) impacts host immune responses in cancer patients, with the goal of developing novel treatments to modulate the TME and restore/enhance immune function in cancer patients. Dr. Lee seeks to rationally integrate immunotherapies into combinations to achieve proper treatment sequencing and maximum clinical efficacy. Towards these ends, he utilizes state-of-the-art technologies – including high-dimensional flow cytometry, quantitative spatial image analysis, and next-generation genomics – to dissect the complex interplay between immune/stromal cells and cancer cells within tumors, tumor-draining lymph nodes (TDLNs), and blood. Dr. Lee’s group also utilizes computational modeling and network analysis to understand the population dynamics of cancer, stroma, and immune responses. Dr. Lee’s team is highly interdisciplinary, combining immunology, pathology, genomics, bioinformatics, and computational modeling.

Day Two

Thursday 3 December 2020

1:25 pm | Live Q&A with Your Expert Speakers

1:00 pm | Heterogeneity of the Tumor Microenvironments Across Different Metastatic Sites

Steven Albelda
Professor of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Albelda is a Professor of Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.  He conducted his medical school and clinical internal medicine and pulmonary post-graduate training at Penn. Dr. Albelda is the William Maul Measey Professor of Medicine, Vice Chief for Research in the Pulmonary Division, Director of the Thoracic Oncology Research Laboratory, and co-Director of the Translational Center of Excellence for Lung Cancer.  Dr. Albelda has led an NCI-funded Program Project aimed at developing immune-gene therapy for thoracic cancers for the past 22 years. This has resulted in a series of Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials for patients with mesothelioma and lung cancer. The major areas of recent interest in the lab have been augmentation of anti-tumor immune effects, adoptive T cell transfer, and the tumor microenvironment.

Day Two

Thursday 3 December 2020

1:25 pm | Live Q&A with Your Expert Speakers

12:35 pm | Tumor Antigen Heterogeneity: The “Elephant in the Room”

Lei Xiao
CEO
Innovative Cellular Therapeutics

Day Two

Thursday 3 December 2020

4:55 pm | Live Q&A with Your Expert Speakers

4:30 pm | Treat Solid Tumor by CoupleCAR CAR-T Cell Technology

Friedrich Graf Finckenstein
CMO
Iovance Biotherapeutics, Inc.

Day Two

Thursday 3 December 2020

3:00 pm | Live Q&A with Your Expert Speakers

2:10 pm | Clinical Success of TIL Technology Platform in Multiple Solid Tumors

Julia Coronella
Senior Director - Immuno-Oncology
Poseida Therapeutics

Will Singleterry
Commercial Director, Immuno-Oncology
Lumicks

Day One

Wednesday 2 December 2020

2:50 pm | The Measure of Cellular Avidity by Acoustic Force Serves as a Predictor of Potent and Persistent Anti-tumor Response

4:35 pm | Live Q&A with Your Expert Speakers

Hanspeter Gerber
CEO & CSO
3T Biosciences

Day Two

Thursday 3 December 2020

10:10 am | Panel Discussion: Advancing Safe & Effective Clinical Translation in Solid Tumors

Smita Ghanekar
Associate Director, Medical & Scientific Affairs
BD Life Sciences

Day One

Wednesday 2 December 2020

12:35 pm | Maximize Your Returns: Unlocking the Solid Tumor Microenvironment to Advance Translational Immuno-Oncology