Director of Preclinical Research
Dr Andrew Gerry (Jez) leads the Cell Pipeline and Preclinical group including Molecular safety characterisation and cell screening within Adaptimmune. He obtained his PhD from University of Reading in Cell and Molecular Biology in 2004, and held a postdoctoral position investigating the role of macrophages in atherosclerosis. He joined Medigene Ltd in 2007 and subsequently set up the Cell Biology Group at Adaptimmune Ltd in 2008.
Jez led the preclinical safety and potency testing of Adaptimmune’s lead programme, NYESOc259 TCR, which has been showing promising data in clinical trials in multiple myeloma and synovial sarcoma. More recently, Jez led the preclinical phase of MAGE-A10c796 development which is now recruiting patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma.
Investigations into the cause of cardiac toxicity seen in their MAGE-A3a3a TCR programs led to the identification of cross-reactivity to a peptide derived from the contractile protein Titin, and the subsequent development of Adaptimmune’s current extensive in vitro preclinical safety screening process for new enhanced-affinity TCRs.
Within Jez’ current role as Director of Preclinical Research at Adaptimmune, he leads a team that evaluate new TCRs for potency and specificity, the selection of optimally-engineered TCRs and the extensive evaluation of specificity and safety of new optimal TCRs for adoptive T cell therapy.
Baylor College of Medicine, USA
Dr. Ahmed is a physician scientist engaged in translational research focusing on adoptive immunotherapy with gene-modified effector cells, to improve therapy for brain tumors. Dr Ahmed’s initial studies demonstrated that antigen-specific cytotoxic T cells could eradicate established brain tumors in medulloblastoma and Glioblastoma models. Subsequent studieshave demonstrated that the tumor-specific T cells, unlike conventional therapies, can effectively target the stem cell compartment in the tumor eradicating experimental tumors in animal models. Aligning with his primary interest is studying the role of T cells in creating a tumor niche and studying T cell migration to distant tumor sites in the brain. Dr. Ahmed therefore has experience in developing and translating cell and gene therapy studies to the clinic. Currently, Dr. Ahmed is the principal investigator on 3 clinical trials targeting Glioblastoma and Osteosarcoma by administering tumor-specific T cells to. All studies are FDA, IRB, RAC and IBC approved.
SVP, Business Development and Strategy
Peter Hoang is the Senior Vice President, Business Development & Strategy at Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, where he is head of business development, corporate development and business strategy. He has over 18 years of finance and deal experience in investment banking and venture capital. Prior to Bellicum, he was the Managing Director, Innovations, for The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center where he headed the institution’s new venture formation and development effort.
Prior to MD Anderson, Peter was a senior investment banker, most recently as Managing Director and Head of Healthcare Mergers & Acquisitions advisory for CIT Group, a New York corporate and investment banking firm with over $65 billion in assets (NYSE: CIT). Previously, he also served in the M&A departments at Oppenheimer, J.P. Morgan, Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank. He earned high honors distinction with an M.B.A. from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA and a B.A. from Yale University.
Professor, Cardiff Institute of Infection & Immunity
The Cardiff T-cell modulation group consists of a number of world-class researchers with a diverse skill and knowledge base that covers all areas of T-cell biology including T-cell genetics, molecular biology, protein chemistry, crystallography, cell biology and clinical investigations. The overall goal of the Cardiff T-cell modulation group is to understand the genetic, biochemical and cellular mechanisms that govern T-cell responses to human disease.
Our research outputs are extremely wide ranging and include basic studies which are aimed at understanding how the T-cell immune response is regulated, through to translational studies which are aimed at developing tools, diagnostics and treatments for human diseases such as cancer, HIV, EBV, tuberculosis and many more.
Chief Scientific Officer, Cancer Immunobiology
Eli Lilly and Company
Scientific Director, Gene Modified Cell Therapy Leader
Gary C. du Moulin
Associate Professor of Drug Regulatory Affairs
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University, USA
Director, Cellular Therapeutics
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre
My laboratory is focused on developing novel treatment approaches for certain leukemias and lymphomas utilizing the patient’s own immune system. Specifically this work involves the genetic manipulation of patients’ immune cells to recognize and kill their own cancer cells. This is a promising form of gene therapy.
In light of encouraging results in mouse studies, we are now testing this approach at Memorial Sloan Kettering in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia who are no longer responsive to chemotherapy. These highly innovative studies will hopefully result in a novel and successful treatment option for patients with certain forms of hematologic cancers.
San Raffaele Scientific Institute
Chief Scientific Officer
Arnaud Foussat, PhD is Chief Scientific Officer at TxCell (www.txcell.com), a french biotechnology company dedicated to the development of innovative cell-based treatments for chronic inflammatory diseases. He is an immunologist specialized in immunotherapy and T lymphocyte biology. Research conducted by A. Foussat is focused on understanding the biology of Treg cells and in improving the manipulation and production of these cells for human use.
Graduate of Institut Pasteur of Paris, Arnaud Foussat obtained his Ph.D. degree from the University of Paris VII in 2000. He then joined a French academic laboratory belonging to the French National Institute of Scientific and Medical Research (INSERM). He focused his scientific efforts on the elucidation of the migratory pathways of Type 1 Treg cells in normal and pathological conditions. A. Foussat joined TxCell in 2004 where he develops Treg cells based cellular immunotherapy products for the treatment of chronic inflammatory disorders.
Professor, Department of Pathology/MPMM, Cancer Research Center
University of Chicago
The main focus of this laboratory is to study the fundamental mechanisms that govern the interaction of cancer cells with the immune system. In particular, our laboratory is trying to exploit the fact that cancer cells usually carry cancer-specific mutations and antigens, and that, under certain conditions, the immune system can destroy cancer cells even after they have disseminated in the body. We are trying to understand the mechanisms that often allow immunogenic cancer cells to escape immune destruction, and we want to develop new strategies and principles on which to base novel therapeutic approaches. We are also studying the signals needed for the immune system to be alerted by cancer cells, and then to destroy these cells. For these studies we are using newest molecular tools and novel bio-engineered molecules and technologies. Finally, we combine immunology with genetics and biochemistry, a combination that provides a most powerful tool to search for cancer-specific changes in malignant cells.
Identification of these changes may not only identify critical causative mechanisms but also new immunological and pharmacological targets that can be used to destroy the cancer.
University of Cologne
Hinrich Abken’s Research
Modified immune cells with specificity directed immunological effector cells (preferably T-cells, but also NK cells, etc.) are provided in vitro with a defined specificity, so that the cells can track and lyse tumor cells after adoptive transfer in the tissue. The specificity of the effector cells is generated by expressing a recombinant receptor molecule (immune receptor chimeric receptor antigen) that binds with an antibody-binding domain of a surface antigen of the tumor cell and binding to the activated effector cell. The Working Group has been instrumental in working to optimize the immune receptors for therapeutic purposes and elucidate the molecular rules to the modular design of such signal receptors. With the help of the German Cancer Aid, the experimental as logistical requirements for clinical trials of the concept are currently created. At the same time provide recombinant immune receptors represents an excellent tool to study processes of antigen-mediated T cell activation, its modulation and repression.
Jan Joseph (Jos) Melenhorst
Director, Product Development & Correlative Sciences laboratory
University of Pennsylvania
John R. Desjarlais
Chief Scientific Officer