ADOPTIVE CELL THERAPY IN SOLID TUMORS: WHO, HOW, AND WHEN?


Adoptive Cell Therapy in Solid Tumors: Who, How, and When?  

Just 7 years since Novartis paid UPenn $20M to access Carl June’s anti-CD19 CAR-T technology, the field of adoptive cell therapy (ACT) in cancer has expanded dramatically, both in investment activity and technology proliferation. At present, it is estimated that there are at least 150 pre-commercial ACT-focused companies in the US and EU alone, many of which are less than 5 years old. While some of these newcos are pursuing fast-follower strategies, many are developing novel technology platforms, each with a unique value proposition that has proven sufficient to incentivize investors.

Whereas future projections for ACT-based revenues currently stem from products in heme malignancies, the lion’s share of hope (or hype) in ACT hinges on whether it can effectively treat solid tumors in a durable and reproducible manner. Many would agree that solid tumors are more challenging due to complexities within the tumor microenvironment requiring innovations that address cell trafficking and immunosuppression, among other parameters. Furthermore, few (if any) antigen targets are expressed solely on tumor tissue, raising the specter of off-tumor toxicity in the absence of dual-targeting or suicide switches, targeting of intracellular antigens or neoantigens, and/or engineering novel cell types such as NKs, macrophages, and gamma-delta T-cells.

While ACTs have yet to score any major wins in solid tumors beyond the early success of TILs, many early-stage clinical programs are slated to readout within the next few years. 

Our expert panel provided their views on the most exciting new developments, what they seek to license, what data they must see to do deals, and more. Sign up to replay the informative discussion panel anytime.



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guest panel:

Company team

Linda Pullan, Ph.D.

Pullan Consulting

Linda and her team at Pullan Consulting offer biotech and pharmaceutical companies consulting in all aspects of partnering. Linda has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, a BS in Chemistry, and over twenty years of drug industry experience, including work on more than 75 deals. Learn More

 

Company team

Joel S. Sandler, P.hD.

Associate Principal, Cello Health BioConsulting

As an Associate Principal with Defined Health, now known as Cello Health BioConsulting, Joel provides insight to various life sciences industry clientele (biotechnology/pharmaceutical) on fundamental issues in drug development and partnering based on a comprehensive analysis of the key scientific, clinical, regulatory, and commercial questions relevant to the client’s particular situation. In previous industry roles, Joel was instrumental in the scouting and evaluation of licensing and partnering opportunities for various oncology assets. Prior to his BD&L activities, Joel spent ten years focused on the discovery and characterization of bioactive compounds for cancer and infectious disease research at several leading academic institutions. His work has resulted in numerous grants, fellowships, patent filings, and peer-reviewed publications. He received his BA with honors from Cornell University, a PhD in Organic Chemistry from UCSD, and was a NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at The Rockefeller University.

 

Company team

Mythili Koneru, MD, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Clinical Development, Marker Therapeutics

Mythili Koneru, MD, PhD joined Marker Therapeutics in February 2019. In her previous role as Associate Vice President of Immuno-Oncology at Eli Lilly and Company, Dr. Koneru designed early-stage clinical trials for hematologic and solid tumor malignancies and was instrumental in developing clinical trial protocols, serving as medical lead for trial conduct. She has also served as Senior Medical Director of Early Phase Clinical Development at Eli Lilly before she was promoted to her most recent position. Prior to Eli Lilly, Dr. Koneru was an Oncology Fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Renier Brentjens at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where she developed adoptive T cell therapies in both leukemia and solid tumor malignancies in early phase clinical trials. Dr. Koneru earned a BA in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Chicago, a PhD in Biomedical Research: Tumor Immunology from New York University, and an MD from the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

 

Company team

Stewart Abbot, Ph.D.

Chief Operating Officer, Adicet (formerly Fate, Celgene)

Stewart Abbot is the Chief Operating Officer at Adicet Bio. He holds a BSc in Biological Sciences (Edinburgh), MSc in Biomedical Engineering (Glasgow) and PhD in Pathology (London). His academic career focused on basic and translational science initiatives in vascular biology, pharmacology and toxicology. He joined Amersham Biosciences in 2000 and developed Amersham’s and, following the acquisition, General Electric’s stem cell-based drug screening capabilities. He was head of the Molecular and Cellular Biology research laboratory at GE’s Global Research Center from 2004-2007. In 2007 he joined Celgene to develop novel cell-based therapeutic candidates and subsequently the development of external cellular therapy R&D collaborations and alliances. In 2015 he joined Fate Therapeutics and held roles of VP translational research and chief development officer. He joined Adicet Bio in June 2018 and his current role oversees the development of novel genetically engineered gamma delta T cell-based therapies.

 

Company team

Ferran Prat, Ph.D., JD

Senior Vice President, Research Administration & Industry Ventures, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Prat helps the faculty and researchers at MD Anderson develop collaborative opportunities with pharmaceutical, biotech, diagnostics, imaging, laboratory medicine, and other industry partners. He is responsible for establishing a direct line of contact with pharmaceutical companies to understand their needs in terms of pre-clinical and Phase 1 activities, and internally convey them so that the researchers and clinicians at MD Anderson can follow-up and establish personal relationships with such companies.

Prior to joining MD Anderson, he worked at Alere Inc., an international firm dedicated to developing health management services and solutions, including diagnostic tools and tests. At Alere, Ferran led a business turnaround and integrated three businesses in São Paulo and Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He also served as the head of the Oncology and Women’s Health Divisions in San Diego, where he was responsible for all pre-commercialization activities and post-launch product management.

Prior to Alere, Ferran held a number of industry and academic positions, including vice president for licensing at Biosite Inc., management consultant at McKinsey & Co., an engineer at Chromogenia-Units and researcher at the University of California – Los Angeles. In these roles, he in-licensed and out-licensed new technologies, led and executed strategic plans, coordinated intellectual property agreements among private and public sector entities, and conducted basic science research that led to multiple peer-reviewed articles.

Prat has a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of California – Los Angeles and a JD from the University of San Diego School of Law.

 

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