It’s that time of year again, but this year ASCO will embark on a whole new phase with its first ever virtual presentations. And Endpoints News will do its part with a two-part Zoom presentation looking at the cutting-edge work now in the clinic with a focus on how gene therapy tech is influencing the cancer R&D field.
This year's ASCO looms even more important than ever as a virtual showcase for a new wave of drugs making its way through the industry pipeline. We'll talk to some of the top researchers in the field to look at which technologies are gaining the spotlight and how they may change the standard of care in oncology.
What hurdles need to be overcome before gene therapy is a major new modality in the cancer therapy arsenal? We’ll look at manufacturing, viral vectors, and discuss the most promising approaches coming to the clinic.
Dr. Aggarwal is the Leslye Heisler Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Hematology-Oncology Division at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. She is an active member of the Abramson Cancer Center (ACC) where she serves as Physician Leader for the clinical research program for Airways Malignancies.
Dr. Aggarwal specializes in the management of patients with lung cancer, with a specific and clinical research focus on the development of novel immunotherapeutic approaches, and the discovery and application of biomarkers to guide therapy and monitor treatment. She serves as the local and national principle investigator for multiple clinical trials focusing on the development of “targeted” immunotherapeutic approaches including cellular therapy and CAR-T for solid tumors. Dr. Aggarwal has led trials evaluating the role of plasma-based next generation sequencing in the management of patients with metastatic lung cancer.
She has extensive experience in the planning, design and execution of clinical trials, is an active member of ECOG, and has served as a national sub-study chair for SWOG-NCI’s LUNG-MAP. She has served on the Annual Meeting Scientific Program Committee of American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), ASCO Education Committee and is a selected participant of the ASCO Leadership Development Program’s class of 2020. Dr. Aggarwal’s ultimate goal as a clinical and translational investigator is to perform patient-centered, scientifically relevant novel immunotherapy clinical trials that will make a tangible impact and advance our understanding of immunotherapy in patients with Lung Cancer.
Dr. Chen has served as our chief medical officer since 2018. Dr. Chen joined us from Roche/Genentech, where he served in various research and leadership positions, most recently as vice president, global head of cancer immunotherapy since 2006. While at Roche/Genentech, he also served as cancer immunotherapy franchise head, product development and led the development of Tecentriq from entry into first in human studies to multiple global registration approvals. Dr. Chen also serves on the board of directors of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer and is co-chair of the Cancer Immunotherapy Committee, an arm of the Cancer Research Institute. Dr. Chen received a B.S. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Southern California School of Medicine and Microbiology & Immunology. He completed his residency in internal medicine, a fellowship in Medical Oncology and a post doctorate in Immunology at Stanford University. Dr. Chen ran the metastatic melanoma clinic at the Stanford Cancer Center from 2003 to 2006, where he also cared for melanoma patients and studied human immune responses to cancer vaccination and cytokine administration until 2016.
Most recently, Dr. Azam was the Head of the Cell & Gene Therapies Unit at Novartis Pharmaceuticals and was a member of the Pharmaceutical Executive Committee. He has an extensive US, Global and International pharmaceutical industry background, with strong experiences in science, clinical development, regulatory and commercial activities. While at Novartis, he lived and worked in the US and Switzerland. Previous roles at Novartis included Head of Global Medical Affairs & HEOR General Medicines, Chief Scientific Officer and Head of US Clinical Development & Medical Affairs and Global Head Regulatory Affairs for the Neurosciences & Ophthalmic Franchise.
Prior to Novartis, he was the Chief Executive Officer of Novaccel Therapeutics LLC, a company he founded focusing on accelerating assets in the translational medicine setting. Prior to this he served as Chief Medical Officer at Aspreva Pharmaceutics Inc, a company that focused on orphan and rare autoimmune disease states. Aspreva was acquired by Galenica SA in 2008. Prior to this he worked at Johnson & Johnson in Pharmaceutical Research & Development and in Medical Devices at Johnson & Johnson Ethicon. He started his life sciences career with Warner Lambert-Parke Davis in 1998. Dr. Azam is a member of the Executive Committee of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Azam is a graduate of the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, where he completed undergraduate studies in Human Biology & Anatomy. He graduated from the University of Liverpool School of Medicine and attained board certification as an Obstetrician & Gynecologist in the UK.
Dr. West is an Associate Clinical Professor in Medical Oncology, a specialist in thoracic oncology, and serves as Executive Director of Employer Services at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center. He was previously Medical Director of the Thoracic Oncology Program at the Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle.
Dr. West received an MPhil in Experimental Biology from Cambridge University on a Fulbright Scholarship and a medical degree (magna cum laude) from Harvard Medical School, where Dr. West also conducted research as a Howard Hughes Medical Student Fellow. His postdoctoral training included an internship and residency in internal medicine at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital Boston, MA, followed by a fellowship in medical oncology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/University of Washington in Seattle, WA.
In late, 2002, he moved to Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle, where he served for over 16 years as Medical Director of the Thoracic Oncology Program, overseeing a broad array of clinical care and research responsibilities. In March, 2019, he moved to the Los Angeles area to dedicate his focus on innovative approaches to delivering sub-specialist expertise across a broader geography, using tools such as remote case reviews and telemedicine consultations.
He has authored dozens of papers and chairs several CME programs and symposia internationally on thoracic oncology, novel educational approaches, and social media in cancer care.
In addition to these activities, he is the Founder & President of Global Resource for Advancing Cancer Education (GRACE); Web Editor for JAMA Oncology; regular correspondent for Medscape; and contributing author and section editor in Lung Cancer for UpToDate.
Dr. Jo Brewer has served as Senior Vice President, Allogeneic Research since December 2019. She leads our efforts to generate new, off-the-shelf, cell therapies for people with cancer, as well as our work to develop the manufacturing processes for these therapies. Dr. Brewer has led our Allogeneic Research team since 2018.
Dr. Brewer has more than 18 years of experience in immunotherapy research, specifically preclinical development of assets from the early research phase towards first-in-human trials. Dr. Brewer was one of the founding scientists at Adaptimmune in 2008, working on the early SPEAR T-cell programs such as NY-ESO (now transitioned to GSK) and ADP-A2AFP. She built multiple research teams over 11 years aimed at improving the efficacy of SPEAR T-cell therapies through translational learning leading to the development of multiple next-gen approaches the first of which, ADP-A2M4CD8, is being tested in the SURPASS trial.
Dr. Brewer worked as a Senior Scientist at Avidex (the predecessor company to Adaptimmune), between 2001 and 2006, working on the autoimmune disease programs. She remained at Medigene as a Group Leader, following its acquisition of Avidex, until 2008.
Dr. Brewer holds a master’s degree in Natural Sciences and a Ph.D. in Cellular Signalling from the University of Cambridge.
Dr. VanCott joined Catalent Gene Therapy following 14 years as the President and CEO of Advanced Bioscience Laboratories, Inc. (ABL), a contract manufacturing and laboratory research services company focused on bringing vaccines and therapies from clinical stages to the commercial marketplace. Previously, Dr. VanCott served as Executive Vice President of Operations and Director of Product Development at ABL. Before joining ABL, he held several positions at the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine. He also served as a U.S. Army Captain in the Medical Service Corps at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. He received his PhD in Physical Chemistry from University of Virginia and a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Dickinson College.
Dr Brian Champion is Chief Scientific Officer and member of the Executive Management Team at PsiOxus Therapeutics Ltd, Oxford, UK where he is leading the scientific team in the development of novel oncolytic virus-based, Tumor-Specific Immunogene (T-SIGn) therapies for the treatment of cancer. He was previously Executive Director and Head of Immunology for Pfizer's Vaccine Immunotherapeutics Research Unit in La Jolla, California, leading the immunology team providing expertise and immunoassays for Pfizer vaccine projects, program leader for an anti-IgE therapeutic vaccine for allergy/asthma, and a member of the leadership team. Prior to this he was Site Head for Pfizer Vaccine Research in the UK. Before joining Pfizer, Dr Champion was Chief Scientific Officer for Lorantis and Celldex in Cambridge (UK) developing protein and DNA-based, antigen-specific immunotherapeutic approaches to a variety of immunological diseases, including therapeutic vaccines and immunotherapeutic biomolecule approaches for cancer, infectious diseases, allergies and autoimmune disorders. Prior to Lorantis, he was with Glaxo and GlaxoWellcome (UK and USA) for 13 years, focusing primarily on target discovery and validation research for autoimmune, allergic and bone disorders.
John D. Carroll is a biotech analyst and writer with decades of prize-winning experience in journalism. A co-founder of Endpoints News, he has covered biopharma for the past 17 years. Aside from his daily industry coverage for FierceBiotech, where he was named editor in 2003, leaving in 2016, Carroll has been a regular speaker at biotech events around the globe. He’s been quoted by The New York Times, The New Yorker, Financial Times, The Times of London and more. He’s also keynoted at biotech gatherings around the world and addressed student audiences at MIT and Harvard.
Carroll has contributed stories from Central America and Ireland to the Dallas Morning News and Time and wrote for the Houston Press. He spent 6 years as editor and publisher of the Dallas Business Journal, was publisher of Texas Business and early in his career was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team of reporters and editors at the Kansas City Star & Times.
Dr. Ilovich leads the Scientific and Medical Science department's oncology and systemic disease effort. In his role he oversees the scientific aspects of development and utilization of imaging biomarkers first-in-human and late phase clinical studies. He is an expert in the development and evaluation of novel radiolabeled agents for both imaging and targeted radiotherapeutics with a focus on oncology and immuno-oncology.