Breakout Discussions

Engage in in-depth discussions with industry experts and your peers about the progress, trends and challenges you face in your research!

Interactive discussion groups play an integral role in networking with potential collaborators. They provide an opportunity to share examples from your work, vet ideas with peers, and be part of a group problem-solving endeavor.


TUESDAY, MAY 11 | 12:20 – 1:00 PM

TABLE: Engineering Synthetic T Cell Receptors
Sai Reddy, PhD, Associate Professor, Systems and Synthetic Immunology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

  • Rapid discovery of natural TCRs
  • Synthetic TCRs, how to make them safe from cross-reactivity
  • What possibilities are there for soluble TCRs
  • How to determine TCR specificity at high-throughput

TABLE: Barriers in the Tumor Microenvironment
Dan G. Duda, PhD, Associate Professor, Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Soldano Ferrone, PhD, Professor-in-Residence, Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Vascular barrier in tumors
  • Multiple roles of hypoxia (low oxygen) in tumor tissue
  • The role of extracellular matrix
  • The role of myeloid cells in the tumor microenvironment

TABLE: Tumor-Targeted Costimulatory Bispecific Antibodies to Enhance T Cell Activation in Solid Tumors
Gregory L. Moore, PhD, Director, Protein Engineering, Xencor Inc.

  • What is the preferred choice of costimulatory receptor? CD28, 4-1BB, or other? How does this influence bispecific format?
  • Which T cell populations are best to target? What about other effector cells (e.g., NK)?
  • What types of in vivo studies are most valuable? Mouse xenograft or syngeneic tumor models, or cynomolgus monkey?
  • Which clinical combinations should be pursued – CD3 bispecifics, checkpoint inhibitors, or other?

TABLE: Analytical Method Development for Emerging Biotherapeutic Modalities
Yi Wen, PhD, Research Scientist, Lilly Research Laboratories, Eli Lilly & Co.

  • Challenges for cell and gene therapies
  • Challenges for novel and/or complex therapeutic proteins
  • Novel analytical methods for emerging biotherapeutic modalities
  • Best practices for improving the throughput and quality of analytical studies
  • Regulatory dialog and challenges for emerging modalities

TABLE: Ranking Product Attributes to Select an Appropriate Expression Platform 
Taylor H. Schreiber, MD, PhD, CEO, Shattuck Labs

  • Can you predict?
  • When do you first know you got it right?
  • When is it too late to change course?

TABLE: Challenges in the Development of Therapeutics & Vaccines for COVID-19
Dimiter Dimitrov, PhD, Professor and Director, Center for Antibody Therapeutics, University of Pittsburgh; Executive Vice President and CSO, Abound Bio

  • How has/will this pandemic transform R&D and manufacturing of future biologics and vaccines?
  • How to fight most effectively the SARS-CoV-2 mutants?
  • What are the lessons learned to inform future pandemic preparedness?

TABLE: Immunotherapy Safety and Toxicity

Saad Kenderian, PhD, Assistant Professor, Medicine and Oncology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  • ​Improving safety
  • Impact of tumor microenvironment
  • Emerging trends


THURSDAY, MAY 13 | 12:30 – 1:10 PM

TABLE: Linker Matters – Novel Linker Technologies and Its Impact on ADC Success
Philipp Spycher, PhD, CEO, Araris Biotech AG

  • Role of linker in ADC design and its key properties
  • Cleavable and non-cleavable linkers
  • Novel linker technologies

TABLE: T Cell Engaging Bispecifics: Understanding and Adding Signals to T Cell Engagers
Jonah Rainey, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, Immetas Therapeutics

  • What we know (and don’t know) about the signaling associated with T cell activation by TCE
  • Bispecific antibody approaches to add signal 2 through additional bispecific antibody targeting 41BB or CD28
  • Combination with TNFRs and CPIs​

TABLE: Can Machine Learning Accelerate Biotherapeutic Discovery?
Deborah S. Marks, PhD, Associate Professor, Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School

  • What data would enable the fast-track affinity and specificity design in parallel? 
  • What machine learning and statistical methods do we need? 
  • Should we concentrate on 'biased' library design or post-screening design?
  • How do we best combine molecular modeling e.g. Rosetta, alphafold etc - with statistical modeling?

TABLE: The Role of Denaturing and Native-MS in Biopharmaceutical Research: From mAbs to Membrane Proteins and Beyond
Iain Campuzano, PhD, FRSC, Senior Principal Scientist, Discovery Attribute Sciences, Amgen

  • LCMS in pharmaceutical research: can it be improved upon?
  • Native-MS in pharma: is it established or still niche? What needs to improve?
  • Required improvements for native-MS to become main-stream in pharma
  • LC-MS and native-MS in membrane protein analysis: what role does it have?

TABLE: Common Issues with Transient Protein Production 
Richard Altman, Field Application Scientist, Life Science Solutions, Thermo Fisher Scientific
Henry C. Chiou, PhD, Director, Cell Biology, Life Science Solutions, Thermo Fisher Scientific
Dominic Esposito, PhD, Director, Protein Sciences, Frederick National Laboratory

  • What are the current challenges to transient protein production?
  • What are the keys to optimizing expression?
  • How do we optimize the whole protein expression process?
  • How can we maintain volumetric yields while scaling transient expression up or down?
  • What cell line(s) should we use and when?
  • What parameters can impact the quality or physical attributes of transiently produced proteins?

TABLE: Application of Immunogenicity Prediction Tools and T Cell Response
Robin E. Walsh, Consultant Toxicologist, ImmunoToxicology, Eli Lilly & Co.

  • What assays are available for preclinical assessment of immunogenicity?
  • What are the principles and value of each assay?
  • Review the different assay formats
  • How to use a weight of evidence approach to assess immunogenicity

TABLE: Next-Generation Cell-based Immunotherapies

Adrian Bot, PhD, Vice President and Global Head, Translational Medicine, Kite Pharma, a Gilead Company
  • ​Emerging trends in cell-based immunotherapies
  • Gene-edited immunotherapies
  • Autolous and Allogenic strategies
  • Impact and limitations of NK-CARs, CAR-Ms