PepTalk 2017
PepTalk 2017

SPEAKER BIOGRAPHIES: Bispecific Antibody Therapeutics

Rakesh Dixit, Ph.D., DABT, Vice President, R&D, Global Head, Biologics Safety Assessment, MedImmune

Dr. Dixit conducted extensive graduate and post-graduate training in Toxicology–Biochemistry with both Indian and US Institutions (Case Western Reserve University, Medical College of Ohio, University of Nebraska) and is board certified in Toxicology from the American Board of Toxicology, Inc. since 1992. Rakesh served as a Senior Toxicologist with Midwest Research Institute between 1987 and 1992. In December 1992, Rakesh joined the Department of Safety Assessment, Merck and Co., Inc, West Point, PA where he served in various management positions. During his about 14 years with Merck, Rakesh contributed to the successful filings of many blockbuster drugs. For about a year, Rakesh was associated with Johnson and Johnson PRD, La Jolla/Alza as Senior Director of Toxicology. In Aug 2006, Rakesh joined MedImmune, Inc. (an AstraZeneca Biologics company) as Senior Director (R &D) & Global Head of Biologics Safety Assessment, Experimental Pathology, and Laboratory Animal Medicine. In his current position as a Vice President of R &D, Rakesh is responsible for providing guidance on research and development of biological products; including nonclinical toxicology/safety support for all AstraZeneca-MedImmune biologics products, including monoclonal antibodies and vaccines. Rakesh has published more than 60 papers in renowned international journals and has given over 100 invited lectures/ presentations/workshops in national and international meetings. Rakesh's areas of expertise are mainly in the area of pharmaceuticals and biologics drug development, safety assessment of small molecule drugs, biologics, vaccines and in exploring mechanisms of toxicity and biologics pharmacological activity. Rakesh has helped to bring several blockbuster pharmaceuticals to the market while working at Merck. Rakesh a recognized expert in safety and pharmacology biomarkers and their applications. Rakesh is the Editor-in-chief of Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods and Associate Editor for Toxicology Applied Pharmacology, and Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. Rakesh also serves as an expert reviewer and in appointed committee for many programs managed by the prestigious U.S. National Academy of Sciences and US National Institutes of Health, including National Cancer Institute.

James A. Ernst, Scientist, Protein Chemistry, Genentech, Inc.

Dr. James Ernst received his Ph.D. in Biophysical Chemistry from Yale University in 2001 and completed postdoctoral studies at the Neurobiology Department in the Stanford University School of Medicine. He joined Genentech in 2002 and is currently a Scientist in the Departments of Protein Chemistry and Early Discovery Biochemistry. His research interests include, tissue specific antibody delivery, neurodegeneration, metabolic disease and ubiquitin regulation.

Lawrence Lum, M.D., D.Sc., Professor, Oncology, Karmanos Cancer Institute

Dr. Lum is a Professor of Oncology, Medicine, and Immunology & Microbiology at Wayne State University School of Medicine and the Scientific Director of BMT and Immunotherapy. He has published 165 articles and book chapters and over 200 abstracts. He has patented and licensed IP for targeting T cells to cancer and infectious diseases and hematopoietic stem cells for tissue repair and sponsors INDs that support phase I and phase II ongoing protocols. He has experience with adoptive immunotherapy hematologic malignancies and solid tumors using chemically heteroconjugated bispecific antibodies to target T cells to tumor antigens. In vivo targeting of tumors has induced measurable immune responses. Studies include targeting for breast cancer, prostate cancer, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and colon cancer.

Mark Throsby, Ph.D., COO, Research and Development, Merus BV

Dr. Mark Throsby joined Merus as Chief Operating Officer in October 2008 with responsibility for coordinating internal and external R&D and company strategy. Prior to joining Merus, Dr. Throsby was 8 years at Crucell in various R&D capacities culminating in the role Director of Antibody R&D from 2006 to 2008. At Crucell, Dr. Throsby was program leader for therapeutic antibody discovery programs against West Nile virus, nosocomial bacterial infections and pandemic influenza. Before joining Crucell Dr. Throsby was an associate investigator with CNRS at Hôpital Necker in Paris for 4 years and prior to that held an MRC of Canada Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto. Dr. Throsby graduated in immunology from Monash University, Melbourne Australia and received his PhD in 1994 from the Department of Medicine, Monash University, Australia.

Dikran Aivazian, Ph.D., Principal Scientist, Pfizer Centers for Therapeutic Innovation
Dikran has been in the Biotherapeutics R&D field since 2006, working first at Biogen Idec and, since 2011, the Pfizer Centers for Therapeutic Innovation, where he leads the Protein Biochemistry group for CTI-San Diego.  Dikran works on biochemical and biophysical aspects of biotherapeutics discovery and development, including monoclonal antibodies, receptor:Fc fusions and IgG-like bispecific antibodies.  His two main contributions are in the purification and analytics of well-characterized protein preparations to enable pre-clinical R&D activities, and the use of biochemistry and biophysics to answer questions of therapeutic molecular mechanism.  Dikran received a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Toronto, and his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  His postdoctoral studies were in membrane and protein trafficking at Stanford University.

Robert Mabry, Ph.D., Associate Director, Antibody Engineering, Adimab, LLC

Dr. Mabry joined Adimab in Lebanon, NH, over two years ago as Group Leader. He now actively manages antibody discovery campaigns as part of Adimab's numerous collaborations with large pharma partners. He had previously held positions at ImClone Systems and ZymoGenetics. As Head of the Protein Display and Screening Group at ZymoGenetics, he focused on high-throughput phage selection strategies and engineering of bispecific antibodies for lead candidates against oncology and autoimmunity targets. Robert graduated from University Texas at Austin with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 2005.

Pavel Strop, Ph.D., Associate Research Fellow, Protein Engineering, Rinat-Pfizer

Dr. Strop received his Ph.D. in 2002 from Caltech, where he worked on structural elucidation of mechanosensitive ion channels. Afterwards, he moved to Stanford where he studied proteins involved in synaptic transmission. In 2008, he joined Rinat/Pfizer's protein engineering department where he develops and applies novel technologies.

Philip Tan, Ph.D., Associate Director, Emergent Product Development Seattle

Dr. Tan has been working in the antibody therapeutic field for over 14 years. He received his PhD at the University of Washington in Seattle, doing antibody engineering.  He spent his post doctorate studies at Genentech and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He has worked on various antibody projects including antibody fragment stabilization, antibody refolding, antibody humanization, antibody expression /optimization and antibody phage/yeast/mammalian displays. More recently, he is extensively involved in bi/multi-specific antibody design and optimization. He has contributed to numerous patent filings in the past few years. Dr. Tan joined Trubion Pharmaceuticals in 2003 which was then acquired by Emergent Biosolutions in October of 2010. He is currently the Scientific Lead of one of the preclinical programs, and is the Associate Director of Molecular Biology in Applied Research division.

Eric Smith, Ph.D., Associate Director, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

Dr. Eric Smith received his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Duke University in 1997. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at NYU he joined Regeneron in 2002 as a member of the Antibody and Trap Technologies group, where he worked on cytokine traps and related molecules. In 2008 he became a member of the Bispecific Antibodies team and is currently the Associate Director for Bispecifics at Regeneron.

David E. Szymkowski, Ph.D., Senior Director, Biotherapeutics, Xencor, Inc.

David E. Szymkowski is Senior Director of Biotherapeutics at Xencor. Xencor focuses on the generation and development of novel antibodies and other protein drugs for autoimmune, allergy, and oncology indications. Dr. Szymkowski received his B.A. at Johns Hopkins University and his Ph.D. from Penn State, and completed postdoctoral work at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (U.K.). Experience prior to Xencor includes drug discovery research in viral and respiratory diseases at Roche Pharmaceuticals in the U.K. and California. Dr. Szymkowski is a member of the American College of Rheumatology and serves on the editorial board of Drug Discovery Today.

Eugene Zhukovsky, Ph.D., CSO, Research, Affimed Therapeutics AG

Dr. Zhukovsky joined Affimed in 2011 as Chief Scientific Officer. He has 20 years professional experience in the field of biotherapeutics research and development. Prior to Affimed, Dr. Zhukovsky was a Senior Research Fellow in Biotherapeutics at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals where he led antibody discovery efforts. From 2002 to 2008 Dr. Zhukovsky was at Xencor Inc. where he led translational research efforts resulting in several therapeutic candidates targeting malignant and normal B cells. Prior to that he developed genomics technologies at Lynx Therapeutics and utilized phage display technology for development of catalytic antibodies at Neurex Corporation. Dr. Zhukovsky performed a postdoctoral fellowship at Genentech; he received the PhD in biochemistry from Brandeis University and an MS degree in bioorganic chemistry from the University of St. Petersburg.

Jin-San Yoo, Ph.D., CEO, PharmAbcine, Inc.

Dr. Jin-San Yoo is CEO, President and Founder of PharmAbcine, leading biotech company in Korea. Prior to founding PharmAbcine, Dr. Yoo was head of "The Therapeutic Antibody Center" (TTAC) at Korea Research Institute of Biotechnology and Biosciences (KRIBB) for 3 years, Dr. Yoo spent more than 5 years at LG Lifesciences, Ltd. as director of Therapeutic Antibody Division (TAD) to establish infrastructure and pipelines for antibody therapeutic business. Prior to LG Lifesciences, he worked for 3 years as TSRI Senior Associate at The Scripps Research Institute, CA, USA. Before Scripps, he was HHMI Associate at Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) at Stanford University School of Medicine, CA, USA for 3 years. Dr. Yoo studied microbiology and organic chemistry as undergraduate at the Georg-August-University Goettingen, Germany. He was trained as MS and PhD in the field of molecular cell biology at Max-Planck-Institute for BioPhysical Chemistry, Goettingen, Germany. Dr. Yoo has authored numerous papers in peer reviewed journals, book chapters and he is also an inventor of several patents and patent applications.