PepTalk 2017
PepTalk 2017
2014 Archived Content

Speaker Biographies 

Recombinant Protein Therapeutics – Fusion Proteins & Beyond – 2014 


Ira H. Pastan, M.D., Head, Molecular Biology, NIH NCI  

Dr. Ira Pastan was educated at the Boston Public Latin School, Tufts College, and Tufts Medical School. He did his residency at the Yale School of Medicine (1957-1959) and came to NIH in 1959. 1970, he was appointed chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology.

Society memberships: American Society of Clinical Investigation, Association of American Physicians, American Society of Biological Chemists, American Society of Microbiology, American Society of Cell Biology, American Association for Cancer Research, Antibody Society. Honorary Member, Japanese Cancer Association, 2005

Honors and other special scientific recognition: Van Meter Prize; G. Burroughs Mider Lectureship, National Institutes of Health, 1973; Membership, National Academy of Sciences, 1982; American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology; Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science; DHHS Secretary’s Award for Meritorious Service, 2008; International Feltrinelli Prize for Medicine, 2009 and the Nathan Davis Award, 2010.

Research activities: Dr. Ira Pastan was educated at the Boston Public Latin School, Tufts College, and Tufts Medical School. He did his residency at the Yale School of Medicine (1957-1959) and came to NIH in 1959.  In 1970, he was appointed chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology.Dr. Pastan is developing a new therapy for cancer by making fusion proteins composed of the Fv portion of antibodies directed at receptor proteins on cancer cells fused to a genetically modified form of a powerful bacterial toxin, Pseudomonas exotoxin A. Three of these genetically engineered proteins, which are named recombinant immunotoxins, are being tested in humans with various forms of cancer. One of these is HA22/Moxetumomab pasudotox; it targets CD22, and has produced many complete and durable remissions in chemotherapy resistant Hairy Cell Leukemia. Another is SS1P that targets the mesothelin antigen (discovered in the Pastan lab). When combined with chemotherapy SS1P has shown anti-tumor activity in a phase I trial of mesothelioma, The third is LMB2 (Anti-Tac(Fv)-P38 being evaluated in acute adult T cell Leukemia. Because immunotoxins are foreign proteins they induce neutralizing antibodies in patients with normal immune systems limiting their use. To overcome this problem he uses protein engineering to remove T and B cell epitopes to make less immunogenic immunotoxins that can be given for many treatment cycles.

Sherie L. Morrison, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, UCLA 

Dr. Morrison received her B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University in 1963 and 1966. After working as a part-time postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University, University of California at Berkeley and Albert Einstein College of Medicine she joined the faculty of the Department of Microbiology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1974 where she remained until 1988, rising to the rank of Professor. In 1988 she joined the faculty of the University of California at Los Angeles where, following ten years as Department Chair, she is currently Distinguished Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics.  Her long-time research interest has been the functional properties of antibodies and novel antibody-related proteins.

Jennifer Cochran, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Bioengineering & Chemical Engineering, Stanford University  

Jennifer Cochran, Ph.D., is the Hitachi America Associate Professor of Bioengineering and (by courtesy) Chemical Engineering at Stanford University. She is also a member of the Biophysics and Cancer Biology graduate programs, the Stanford Cancer Institute, and the Stanford Institute for Chemical Biology. Dr. Cochran received her Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Biological Engineering. Her laboratory uses rational and combinatorial methods to engineer designer protein and peptide ligands for applications in regenerative medicine, and cancer imaging and therapy.

Ruben Boado, Ph.D., President, ArmaGen Technologies, Inc.Dr. Ruben Boado is the Vice President (VP) of Research and Development (R&D) and acting President at ArmaGen Technologies (AGT), a leader in the delivery of biotherapeutics targeting the central nervous system. He has served as VP of R&D since he co-founded this startup biotech company in 2004. Dr. Boado provided leadership and expertise in the development of AGT’s extensive product pipeline, including potential biotherapeutic treatments for mucopolysaccharidosis, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Boado was professor of Medicine at UCLA and brought to AGT 25+ years of academic experience in the molecular and cell biology of the blood-brain barrier and drug delivery to the brain with over 195 scientific peer reviewed publications and book chapters in the field. Dr. Boado has been the Principal Investigator in most of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs granted by the NIH to AGT. Dr. Boado is also co-inventor of the Intellectual Property that supports AGT. Dr. Boado received a Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Buenos Aires.

Jason Cameron, Science Manager, Bioprocess Characterisation, Novozymes Biopharma UK Ltd 

Jason holds a bachelor degree in applied biology from Nottingham Trent University and is currently employed as a science manager in the Bioprocess characterization group at at Novozymes in Nottingham. Jason has more than 20 years’ experience in albumin and albumin fusion process development and more recently has been the lead scientist responsible for development of Novozymes second generation half-life extension technology. 


Annelise Vuidepot, Ph.D., Head, Protein Engineering & Biochemistry, Immunocore, Ltd. 

Dr. Annelise Vuidepot is Head of Protein Science at Immunocore Ltd. She has been with the company since it was founded in 2000 and has played a leading role in the design and engineering of the ImmTAC platform. Before joining Immunocore, Annelise was a postdoctoral researcher in the Biochemistry department of UCL; she gained her Ph.D. in 1998 in Biophysics from the University of Paris.


Julio A. Camarero, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Southern California  

Dr. Camarero started his studies in chemistry at the University if Barcelona (Spain), received his Master degree in 1992, and finished his PhD thesis there in 1996. Afterwards he joined the group of Professor Tom W. Muir at The Rockefeller University as a Burroughs Wellcome Fellow where he contributed to the development of new chemoselective ligation techniques for the chemical engineering of proteins. In 2000, he moved to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a Distinguished Lawrence Fellow where he became staff scientist and head of laboratory in 2003. He finally joined the University of Southern California in 2007 as an associate professor. His current research interests are focused in the development of new bioorganic approaches using protein splicing and synthetic protein chemistry for studying biological processes involved in bacterial pathogenicity and how can be modulated or inhibited by small molecules. Dr. Camarero has authored over 40 peer-reviewed publications and four invited book chapters.

Mick Foley, Ph.D., CSO, Biochemistry, AdAlta  

Associate Professor Michael Foley is the founding scientist of AdAlta and a key inventor of the AdAlta technology including the two peptide libraries owned by AdAlta. Mick completed his Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology and PhD in biophysics of parasitic helminths. Upon completion of his PhD he was awarded a Wellcome Training Fellowship and worked at the Walter and Elisa Hall Institute. After a short period as a Wellcome Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, Mick returned to the Department of Biochemistry at La Trobe University. In 1995 he was awarded an ARC QEII Fellowship where he established the phage display of antibodies and peptide technology as a means of answering fundamental questions of immunity to infectious diseases, particularly malaria of which he is an internationally recognized leader. Having published over 50 scientific publications Mick has received funding from ARC, NHMRC and more recently NIH (USA).

Volker Schellenberger, Ph.D., CEO and President, Amunix  

Volker Schellenberger is currently CEO and President of Amunix Inc, which he co-founded with Willem Pim Stemmer in 2006. Volker is lead inventor of Amunix’ XTEN technology enabling the engineering of biotherapeutics characterized by long vivo half-life, low safety risk due to their biodegradable nature, and efficient recombinant production. Volker has 18 years of industry experience in protein engineering and drug discovery. He served as Director of Genencor’s Protein Engineering department, where he invented Combinatorial Consensus Mutagenensis, selection by micro-compartmentalization as well as mutator technology. He focused on the discovery and engineering of antibody-enzyme fusion proteins. Prior to his work on biotherapeutics, Volker led projects optimizing enzymes for industrial applications as well as microbes for metabolic pathway engineering. Volker received his Ph.D. from Leipzig University in 1986 for studies on protease catalyzed peptide synthesis. After postdoctoral studies at the Institute for Protein Research in Pushchino (Russia) he moved to the University of Göttingen where he developed a novel method for the production of peptides from recombinant peptide-multimers. After a postdoc with Bill Rutter at the University of California, San Francisco he joined Genencor in 1994. Volker is author of over 40 scientific papers and inventor of more than 70 issued or pending patent applications. He is the recipient of the Karl Lohman award of the German Society of Biochemists.

Joachim Feldwisch, Ph.D., Director, Preclinical Development, Affibody AB  

Dr. Feldwisch joined Affibody AB in 2002 where he worked as Project Manager Biotherapeutics and later as Director Preclinical Development. He received his MSc in Biology with main focus on biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Cologne and earned his PhD at the Max-Planck-Institute für Züchtungsforschung in Cologne in 1992. In the following years he worked at Pharmacia, Pharmacia&Upjohn and later Biovitrum both with biotherapeutics and small molecule pharmaceuticals. His current research interests include optimization of small scaffold proteins as well as preclinical and clinical development of Affibody molecules for imaging and therapeutic use.

Steven Chamow, Ph.D., Principal Consultant, Chamow & Associates, Inc.  

Steven Chamow, Ph.D., has 25 years of experience in biopharmaceutical product development. He is currently a principal consultant helping to formulate and implement product development strategies for biotechnology companies. During his career, he has contributed to the development of three marketed products (Avastin, Natrecor, Vectibix). Previously, he served as Senior Vice President, CMC, at Intradigm Corporation, a private biopharmaceutical company focused on developing RNAi therapeutics (acquired by Silence Therapeutics). Prior to Intradigm, Dr. Chamow was Vice President, Process Sciences, at Genitope Corporation and at Abgenix, Inc., (acquired by Amgen) where he built the company’s process sciences department and helped to lead the design and construction of Abgenix’ award--‐‑winning production facility in Fremont, CA (recently sold by Amgen to Boehringer--‐‑Ingelheim to become its first North American production facility). Before Abgenix, he served as Director of Biopharmaceutical Development at Scios, Inc. (acquired by J&J), and as a scientist and senior scientist in process development at Genentech, Inc. (acquired by Roche). Dr. Chamow was educated at the University of California (UC Santa Cruz, B.A. in biology; UC Davis, Ph.D. in biochemistry), and completed postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health. He is author or co-author of more than 50 scientific publications and patents and co-editor of a 1999 book entitled Antibody Fusion Proteins. Dr. Chamow is working on a manuscript for a second book on the same topic to be published in 2014.

Elizabeth A. Specht, Ph.D., Scientist, Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego  

Liz obtained her B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University in 2009, where she researched how novel synthetic peptides can manipulate growth of inorganic crystals such as calcite and hydroxyapatite. She is currently a Biological Sciences PhD candidate in Dr. Steve Mayfield’s lab at the University of California, San Diego, where her focus is transforming the green alga Chlamydomonas into a viable protein production platform for high-value therapeutic products. She has performed research on the basic biology side of algae, characterizing gene regulatory elements in the chloroplast and investigating homologous recombination in the nuclear genome. More recently, she has turned to practical applications of the expanded algal genetic engineering toolkit. Liz is interested in using algae to inexpensively produce proteins therapeutics for medical applications – including low-cost, edible vaccines for diseases prevalent in the developing world.

Xiaotian Zhong, Ph.D., Principal Scientist & Lab Head, GBT, Pfizer Global BioTherapeutic R&D  

Dr. Xiaotian Zhong is currently Principal Scientist and Lab Head at Pfizer Global Biotherapeutics Technologies Unit. He obtained a Ph.D. degree in Molecular Genetics from Georgia State University (Atlanta, GA), an MPH degree in Management from Harvard University, and a post-doctoral fellowship in Molecular Cell Biology at Harvard University. Dr. Zhong is an author or co-author of 26 peer-reviewed publications and an inventor on 4 issued patents.

Stefan Schmidt, Ph.D., Vice President, DSP, Rentschler Biotechnology  

Dr. Stefan R. Schmidt MBA, currently serves as Vice President at Rentschler Biotechnology, being responsible for the downstream processing department. Previously he held the CSO position at ERA Biotech in Barcelona, directing the company’s R&D efforts focusing on fusion peptides. Prior to that he worked at AstraZeneca in Sweden where he led the unit of Protein Sciences as Associate Director. In the last 10 years he worked intensively with fusion proteins, just recently publishing the first comprehensive book on that topic.

Georg Blaser, PhD. Group Leader, Applied Protein Services, Lonza Biologics
He studied chemistry at Bristol (Msci) and Durham (PhD) universities. For 3 ½ years, he held post-doc positions at Cambridge University and at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (Cambridge) working on Protein folding, single-molecule detection and protein-protein interactions. In 2011, he joined Lonza Biologics at its Cambridge Site first as a Senior Scientist progressing to Group Leader of Cell and Molecular Biology in 2012. He is overseeing research grade protein production (marketed as Lonzas‘ LighPathTM Development service offering) from gene to final purified product delivery. 





Robert S. Kahn, M.D., CPI, Senior Safety Scientist, Early Clinical Development, Global Safety Risk Management, Genentech, Inc.  

Robb Kahn is a Safety Science Leader in the Early Development group of the Global Risk Management Department of Genentech (a member of the Roche Group). Robb’s current portfolio of projects includes 9 ADC molecules in clinical development from pre-IND through phase III clinical trials. He is a member of the Genentech Oncology Clinical Technology and Diagnostics Development Team to explore novel technologies such as DCE-MRI and immunoPET imaging in clinical trials. Robb heads the gRED ADC Safety Team with a current safety database of over 600 patients.

Lioudmila Tchistiakova, Ph.D., Senior Director, Global Biotherapeutic Technologies, Pfizer BioTxDr. Tchistiakova is currently Senior Director in Global Biotherapeutic Technology department at Pfizer leading development of therapeutic antibodies using rodent hybridoma approach, antibody humanization and optimization and bi-functional formats engineering.  She also oversees all Oncology biotherapeutic programs at GBT and focuses on optimization of antibody vehicle for antibody-drug conjugates.

Prior to Pfizer, Dr. Tchistiakova worked for 8 years at Wyeth Research where she progressed from Principal Scientist III to Director level by leading generation of biotherapeutics on more than 15 programs in collaboration with Inflammation, Neuroscience, CMVD and Oncology, seven of these projects progressed to clinical development including anti-myostatin mAb RK35, anti-IL-13 mAb IMA-638, anti-A-beta mAb AAB-03 and anti-CD20 SMIP SBI-087.

Dr Tchistiakova also held the position of Section Head at Albany Molecular Research Inc., where she led internal and collaborative Drug Screening Programs using company`s natural product libraries and was also one of the co-founders of Supratek Pharma Inc. in Montreal, Canada where she held Senior Scientist and Group Leader positions from 1995 to 2001 and was responsible for targeted drug delivery efforts. Dr. Tchistiakova received her Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry from the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

Dr. Tchistiakova has coauthored of over 50 scientific publications, book chapters or patents.

Samadhi Vitharana, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Core Sciences & Technology, Takeda 

Working as a Senior Scientist at Takeda (Takeda California and Takeda San Francisco) for the last 5 years performing Analytical Characterization and Formulation Development of Biological therapeutic candidates including monoclonal antibodies and antibody drug conjugates. Prior to that, Dr. Vitharana worked at Biomarin (Novato, CA) and Genitope (Fremont, CA) as a Scientist in Formulation Development.
Dr. Vitharana received her PhD from the University of Kansas in Bioanalytical Chemistry in Prof. George S. Wilson’s laboratory, and performed her post-doctoral training on Biophysical Characterization of Biologics in Russ Middaugh’s lab and Nano particle characterization in Cory Berkland’s lab in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Kansas.  She received her B.Sc (Hons) in Chemistry from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.

Arvind Rajpal, Ph.D., Vice President, Protein Engineering, Rinat Pfizer 

Arvind Rajpal leads the Protein Engineering group at Rinat in South San Francisco.  His group generates, characterizes, and optimizes monoclonal antibody as potential therapeutic leads for disparate disease indications.  He has more than ten years experience in antibody engineering and biochemistry. 
Arvind received his B.A. from Knox College in Chemistry and Computer Science in 1992.  As a graduate student in Jack Kirsch’s laboratory at University of California at Berkeley, he studied the kinetics and thermodynamics of antibody protein interactions.  He conducted postdoctoral studies at Pfizer Inc., at the Groton laboratories where he investigated the potential of intracellular antibodies as tools for functional genomics.  After that he returned to University of California at Berkeley to Astar Winoto’s laboratory to study T-cell development.

Olivier Laurent, Ph.D., Vice President, CMC, Ambrx, Inc. 

Dr. Laurent has over fifteen years of industrial experience designing and developing biopharmaceuticals. During his past tenures at Sanofi, Bayer HealthCare, Genentech, and Pfizer Dr. Laurent has worked on non-viral DNA delivery, liposome formulation and device development. However, his main area of expertise lies in the design and pharmaceutical development of recombinant proteins and bio-conjugates. Dr. Laurent has authored CMC sections for multiple regulatory dossiers and managed internationally outsourced activities from Phase I production to validation campaigns. Dr. Laurent is currently Vice President, CMC at Ambrx, in San Diego. Dr. Laurent holds a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from the University of Grenoble in France and is an alumnus from the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon.

David Y. Jackson, Ph.D., Principal Scientist, ADC Discovery, Igenica, Inc. 

I am a currently a principal scientist and ADC program leader at Igenica, a small pharmaceutical company in Burlingame California that is focused on antibody therapeutics for cancer. I have over 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, primarily in antibody and small molecule drug discovery and preclinical development. Prior to joining Igenica in 2011, I led multiple project teams at Genentech from early discovery through IND and was the ADC project team leader from 2003-2006 when Trastuzumab-DM1 was selected for clinical development. I am co-author of 34 publications in primary journals and co-inventor on more than a dozen world and US patents. I began my career at UC Berkeley where I received my Ph.D. in Chemistry for research on Catalytic Antibodies.

Greg Bleck, Ph.D., R&D Platform Director, Biologics, Catalent Pharma Solutions
Greg joined Catalent in 1998 as Director of Molecular Biology & Transgenics. He has a broad background in molecular biology, mammalian gene expression, cell culture and transgenic animals with 13 years experience with the organization. Greg holds a Bachelor’s degree in Dairy Science and has a Doctorate in Endocrinology-Reproductive Physiology from University of Wisconsin-Madison. He performed postdoctoral work at the University of Illinois-Urbana working in the areas of gene regulation and expression. Greg has published over 55 research papers and co-authored three book chapters.

Peter Park, Ph.D., Vice President, Biology, Mersana Therapeutics 

Peter is Vice President of Biology at Mersana Therapeutics, Inc., who oversees the discovery and development of novel antibody-drug conjugates (ADC) using Fleximer technology and manages the internal and collaboration pipeline. Before his current position, he was a co-founder and CEO of Habgen, Inc., a startup that focused on acquiring and developing pre-clinical antibody assets with focus in development in Asian countries. Prior to that, Peter served at ImmunoGen, Inc. for 10 years, most recently as Senior Director of Discovery Research. In this role, he managed the discovery research portfolio for the development of novel monoclonal antibody and ADC for oncology, co-inventing and advancing three compounds (SAR650984, IMGN529 and IMGN289) that are currently in Phase I trials. He oversaw three departments that included Discovery Research, Antibody Engineering, and Cell Line Development. Additionally, he oversaw ImmunoGen’s research collaboration with Sanofi. Peter received his Ph.D. and B.S. in Biology from MIT.

Aaron K. Sato, Ph.D, Vice President, Research, Sutro Biopharma 

Dr. Sato has more than 10 years of industrial research experience in antibody, protein and peptide engineering. At Sutro, Aaron is Vice President of Research and leads the team in the use of their bacterial extract system to produce high value protein therapeutics, such as ADC, bispecifics, and naked antibodies. Prior to joining Sutro, he was senior director of antibody engineering at OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, where his team discovered several antibodies for its clinical pipeline. Before this, he held director positions at Dyax Corp., where he oversaw multiple external collaborations with major pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Sato holds many patents and is the author of numerous peer-reviewed publications. He received a doctorate in chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Puget Sound.

James W. West, Ph.D., Director of Research, CytomX Therapeutics, Inc. 

I have twenty-four years of experience in the fields of pharmacology, biochemistry, cell and molecular biology.  In my Ph.D. work I focused on the molecular biology of the Na+ channel, describing the mechanism of inactivation and the role of hierarchical phosphorylation in ion channel function.  At Zymogenetics I was involved in the discovery and annotation of novel cytokines and their receptors. In my role as Director of Research at CytomX I lead the team that developed the Probody technology, and currently as Research Fellow I am focused on applying Probody technology to novel targets and empowered antibody formats.  Throughout my career I have focused on protein engineering, relying on phage display of antibody fragments as well as novel scaffolds for the discovery of affinity reagents as tools to probe protein function, to understand molecular interactions, and to develop novel protein therapeutics. 

Jean E. Lachowicz, Ph.D., CSO, Angiochem 

Dr. Lachowicz is currently Chief Scientific Officer at Angiochem, leading scientific strategy and cultivating a portfolio of novel, brain-permeable drugs and biologics for CNS indications.  Previously, she was head of the in vitro Pharmacology Department at Merck.  She spent most of her industry career at Schering Plough in the department of CNS and Cardiovascular Research, where she was involved in the discovery of numerous development candidate drugs in areas of Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, depression, obesity, diabetes, and thrombosis.  She also led drug development teams from late preclinical stages through Phase II.
Dr. Lachowicz received her Sc.B. degree from Brown University in Chemistry, and her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Duke University.  She completed a Pharmacology Research Fellowship at NIH, followed by a research faculty appointment at Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Lachowicz has co-authored over 70 research articles, book chapters and reviews.

John M. Lambert, CSO & Executive Vice President, ImmunoGen, Inc. 

Dr. John M. Lambert is Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at ImmunoGen, Inc., a biotechnology company with headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts.
Dr Lambert received a BA in Natural Sciences in 1972 from the University of Cambridge, England, and received a Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry in 1976, also from the University of Cambridge, for his research on the structure of multimeric glycolytic enzymes under the supervision of Professor Richard N. Perham.
He did his postdoctoral training working in the laboratory of Dr Robert R. Traut in the Department of Biological Chemistry, School of Medicine, at the University of California at Davis, where he worked on the structure of ribosomes (1976 – 1980), and with Dr John R. Coggins in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Glasgow in Scotland (1980 – 1982), where he worked on the arom multienzyme complex.
In 1982, Dr. Lambert joined the Sidney Farber Cancer Institute (later renamed Dana-Farber Cancer Institute), Harvard Medical School, as an Assistant Professor of Pathology, to work with Dr Walter A Blättler on the research program that was funded by ImmunoGen, Inc., to develop anti-cancer therapeutics based on the concept of utilizing monoclonal antibodies to deliver cytotoxic payloads (ADCs) to kill the targeted cancer cells.
In 1987, the ADC research program moved to independent laboratories established by ImmunoGen in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Dr Lambert was appointed Senior Scientist. In 1990, Dr Lambert became Director of Biochemistry, and in 1992 was appointed Senior Director of Research. He joined the Senior Management team of the Company as a Vice President in 1994, and served in a variety of roles until becoming EVP and Chief Scientific Officer in 2009.
Dr Lambert is the author/coauthor of over 100 scientific articles.

Hagop Youssoufian, M.S.c., M.D., Executive Vice President, Research & Development, Progenics Pharmaceuticals, Inc.Dr. Youssoufian joined Progenics in 2013 as Executive Vice President, Research & Development. He has more than 12 years’ experience in senior roles in clinical and translational science at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Sanofi Aventis, ImClone and Ziopharm, where he led or supported the development of Sprycel, Taxotere, Elitek, and Erbitux. Before entering the pharmaceutical industry, and after training in Internal Medicine, Clinical Genetics, and Hematology-Oncology, he served on the faculties of Harvard Medical School and Baylor College of Medicine. He received a B.S. in biology from Boston College and M.Sc./M.D. from University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the author of over 100 publications

Gunnar Kaufmann, Ph.D., Senior Director, R&D, Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. 

Gunnar F. Kaufmann was born in Germany and studied Human Biology in Marburg and Greifswald where he received his Diploma in 2001. He then joined Professor Kim D. Janda’s group at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and obtained his Ph.D in Macromolecular and Cellular Structure and Chemistry in 2006, working on generation and engineering of anti-hapten antibodies.
Dr. Kaufmann is currently the Senior Director of Research and Development at Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc., a publicly-traded antibody discovery and development biotechnology company. He also holds an adjunct appointment in the Departments of Chemistry and Immunology & Microbial Science at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI). Dr. Kaufmann is a member of the PLoS One editorial board and has served on numerous NIH study sections with focus on bacterial pathogenesis and antimicrobial drug development.
For the past 10 years he has conducted research in the fields of microbial quorum sensing. During his graduate education with Professor Kim D. Janda (TSRI) and postdoctoral research under the guidance of Professor Richard J. Ulevitch (TSRI), he was involved in the initial development of passive anti-quorum sensing immunotherapies for the prevention of bacterial infections with special emphasis on Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus infections. As an independent investigator, his research has focused on evaluation of anti-virulence strategies (mainly quorum quenching) for the prevention and/or treatment of bacterial infections, generation of active vaccines targeting quorum sensing signaling in a number of Gram-negative and –positive bacteria, the elucidation of the effects of bacterial quorum sensing molecules on the mammalian host and the application of quorum quenching agents for the study of bacterial pathogenesis without the need for genetic manipulations. Through his adjunct position at TSRI he continues to participate in academic research endeavors within the quorum sensing field.

Kendall Morrison, Ph.D., Director, Protein Technologies, Agensys, Inc. 

I graduated, with a B.Sc. (Honors, Immunology and Microbiology), in 1986 from at the University of West Scotland. After graduation, I worked for one year at Leeds University, Dept. of Microbiology, before moving to the south of England to work on a human antibody program in the University of Southampton, developing an in vitro immunization strategy.
I completed my PhD at Southampton University Medical School in 1992 where I worked on a project investigating the use of in situ hybridization in Pathology. After a brief Post-Doctoral position at Southampton I took up a new position at Celltech U.K (now part of UCB Pharma).
During my 9 years at Celltech I worked in the monoclonal (Hybridoma) antibody group developing antibodies for multiple inflammatory targets. I was responsible discovering the antibody entity that was engineered to become CDP791. In addition, while at Celltech I also worked on the team that was responsible for discovering the antibody entity CDP870, also known as Certolizumab pegol (Cimzia), which has been approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and Crohns disease.
I moved to Santa Monica in 2001 to take up the post of Hybridoma Group Leader at Agensys. Currently I am the Director of the Protein Technologies Department. This Department comprises the Hybridoma, Research MAb Production, Protein Sciences and ADC Conjugation Groups. During my time at Agensys I have helped take several antibodies to the clinic, including AGS-PSCA and 4 ADC’s including our ADC specific for SLITRK-6.

Antony Godwin, Ph.D., Vice President, Chemistry, PolyTherics Ltd 

Dr Godwin is a cofounder of PolyTherics and an inventor of their site-specific conjugation platforms known as TheraPEG™ and ThioBridge™. For the past 10 years, he has helped manage the company’s R&D activities. His expertise and interests are in the chemical derivatisation of therapeutic proteins and peptides. He obtained his Ph.D. from the London School of Pharmacy in 2001.


Ulrik B. Nielsen, Ph.D., CSO, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals  

Ulrik B. Nielsen, a founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Merrimack Pharmaceuticals where he has been leading research and discovery since 2002. Applying insights from systems biology,Merrimack is committed to developing integrated solutions to cancer treatment that combine precision diagnostics with new treatment regimens to transform care.Prior to joining Merrimack, Dr.Nielsen trained at University of California, San Francisco, and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he researched the interface among biology, engineering and computational biology. Dr. Nielsen holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biochemistry from the University of Copenhagen.

Jijie Gu, Ph.D., Senior Principal Research Scientist, Global Biologics, AbbVie Pharmaceuticals 

Dr. Jijie Gu is a Senior Principal Research Scientist at Global Biologics at AbbVie Pharmaceuticals. He received his PhD. in Molecular Biology from Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. He did his post-doctoral training in Tumor Immunology at Harvard Medical School, in the lab which initiated first clinical trial of therapeutic mAb, and then as a research scientist in Cancer Research at Harvard School of Public Health. He joined Abbott Laboratories in 2002 initially working on antibody generation, antibody engineering and therapeutic antibody discovery using various tools including rodent hybridomas/humanization, human Ig transgenic mice, yeast display and PROfusion technologies. Most recently, he is working on developing next generation “fit-for-purpose” antibody-based therapeutics with a focus on novel formats including enhanced mAbs, multi-specific antibodies, monovalent antibodies, antibody fusion proteins and bispecific ADCs. In this role, he is leading a group of scientists to develop novel biologics and their applications using various approaches including structure-guided rationale design, library-based molecule evolution and high throughput functional screening. He received Abbott’s “President’s Award” in 2009 for his work in bispecific antibody field. He has worked on many projects from different therapeutic areas including metabolic diseases, neuroscience, immunology, oncology, and ophthalmology. As a drug discovery project leader or co-project leader, he led several project teams and has delivered several drug development candidates.

G. Jonah Rainey, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, ADPE/Research, MedImmune, LLC 

Dr. Rainey has worked in the antibody engineering and infectious disease fields in industry for seven years. This follows graduate and postdoctoral careers with emphasis in biochemistry and cellular biology of viral infection and bacterial pathogenesis. This background has contributed to Dr. Rainey's ability to contribute to the development of antibody therapeutics targeting a broad array of infectious diseases.

Mihriban Tuna, Ph.D., Vice President, Discovery, F-star 

Mihriban currently heads the discovery group at F-star and has been with the company since 2008.  Prior to F-star she spent 6 years at Domantis/GSK Biopharm where she was involved in selection and optimization of domain antibodies, as well as technology development and high throughput screening process development.  Mihriban made the transition from academic research to industry after completing her PhD and a short post-doctoral research post with Professor Dek Woolfson at the University of Sussex where she focused on the structure and stability engineering as well as design of small globular proteins.

Christopher L. Reyes, Ph.D., Vice President, Research and Development, Cancer Biology, Bionomics  

Christopher Reyes, PhD, brings his experience linking protein biophysics to drug discovery and development to his work at Bionomics. Dr. Reyes joined Bionomics with the acquisition of Eclipse Therapeutics where he was the founding CSO and Board Director. At Eclipse, he was responsible for leading research, development and operational activities. Prior to founding Eclipse, Dr Reyes was a scientist at Biogen Idec charged with the leading multiple antibody therapeutic and engineering programs. Dr Reyes has extensive project management experience and is a co- inventor on numerous patent applications covering antibody engineering and therapeutic antibodies. Dr Reyes received his bachelor’s degree in Biophysics from the University of California, Berkeley and performed his graduate studies in Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr Reyes was a postdoctoral fellow at The Scripps Research Institute focused on the X-ray crystallography of integral membrane proteins and led a small drug discovery team focused on overcoming multi-drug resistance pathogens. Dr Reyes has received honours from the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation and was a McNair Scholar.

Peter Brünker, Ph.D., Head, Large Molecule Research, Pharma Research and Early Development (pRED), Roche Glycart AG  

In 1991, I concluded my studies of biology at the University of Stuttgart (Germany)with a diploma degree in Microbiology and Molecular Biology. Afterwards I conducted a PhD thesis in Molecular Biology at the Institute of Industrial Genetics at the University of Stuttgart before I moved to Switzerland to join the group of Prof. J. E. Bailey at the ETH Zürich at the Institute of Biotechnology. There I was working as a postdoctoral fellow in the field of novel recombinant hybrid polyketides and industrial production strain improvement programs. In 2001, I started as a Senior Scientist at Glycart Biotechnology (now Roche Glycart AG) where I later became Head of the Molecular Biology Department. Since 2012, I’ve held the position of the Area Head Molecular Biology and Cell Engineering, overseeing two groups of the Large Molecule Research Unit at Roche Glycart AG. Beside this position, I am also leading the technical development of one of Glycart’s early-stage oncology projects.

Wan-Ching Yen, Ph.D., Senior Scientist II, Cancer Biology, OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  

Dr. Wan-Ching Yen is currently Sr. Scientist II at OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. She has 10+ years of research experiences in pre-clinical drug discovery and development. Her work focuses on developing novel cancer therapeutics and identifying optimal treatment regimens for prevention and overcoming cancer recurrence/drug resistance/metastasis.

Martin Schwill, Ph.D., Scientist, Biochemistry, University of Zurich  

Ph.D. student in biochemistry in the lab of Prof. Andreas Plückthun at the University of Zurich, Switzerland since 2010 and participant of the cancer biology Ph.D. program of the cancer network Zurich. My studies focus on protein engineering of binding proteins, development of tumor models and analysis of cell signaling with the aim to discover novel targeted anti-cancer strategies.

Christoph Spiess, Ph.D., Scientist, Antibody Engineering, Genentech, Inc.  

Christoph Spiess joined Genentech in 2007 and is currently a scientist in the Department of Antibody Engineering. His group is involved in the development of bispecific antibodies for a variety of therapeutic areas.

Paul Parren, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Scientific Director, Genmab  

Prof. Dr. Paul Parren has been working in the field of recombinant antibodies for over 25 years. He holds a PhD in molecular immunology from the University of Amsterdam (1992). Dr. Parren was an Associate Professor at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, where he worked between 1993 and 2002 on studying the role of human antibodies in protection against viral infections.In 2002, he joined Genmab where he is a member of the senior management team. Dr. Parren serves in the position of Senior Vice President and Scientific Director and heads the Genmab Utrecht site. He leads an international group of about 115 employees responsible for Genmab’s Research and Pre-clinical development activities. In 2013, he became an adjunct professor of Translational Cancer Research at Institute of Molecular Medicine of the University of Southern Denmark. He is a member of the Board of Directors of The Antibody Society. Parren has a strong expertise in antibody biology and immunotherapy and is particularly interested in unraveling the mechanisms by which antibodies act in vivo, and to apply this knowledge to the development of novel antibody therapeutics. Dr. Parren has published extensively both in the scientific as well as the patent literature, with over 160 publications and 60 issued patents and patent applications. Currently, his studies focus on antibody structure-function relationships, mechanisms of action, bispecific antibodies and antibody-drug conjugates. He is an inventor of various therapeutic antibodies including the licensed CD20 mAbofatumumab and the CD38 mAbdaratumumab, as well as several antibody technologies such as Duobody and Hexabody.

Jörg T. Regula, Ph.D., Head, Protein Analytics, Pharma Research and Early Development (pRED), Roche Diagnostics  

Dr. Regula studied chemistry and obtained his PhD at the ZMBH (Center for Molecular Biology Heidelberg) in1999. After a short Post-Doc at the ZMBH he joined Ingenium Pharmaceuticals in 2000 as Scientist/Senior Scientist in Proteomics. In 2002 he went back to University and became head of a newly founded protein analytics core facility (ZfP, Center for Protein Analytics) at the LMU Munich. In 2004 he joined Roche as senior scientist/group leader for mass spectrometry. From 2006 until 2009 he took over responsibility as the large molecule research project leader for the Ang2-VEGF CrossMAb project. Since 2009 he is heading a protein analytics department in the Large Molecule Research unit (Pharma Research & early Development, pRED) Penzberg.

John de Kruif, Ph.D., CSO, Merus Biopharmaceuticals  

John de Kruif holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, and is an expert in the field of human monoclonal antibodies and antibody engineering. After finishing his post-doctoral training he joined the biotechnology company U-BiSys that merged in 2000 with IntroGene to become Crucell. After seven years at Crucell as a director in the Antibody Discovery department he became the CSO of Merus, a biotechnology company focusing on combinations of therapeutic antibodies.

David Urech, Ph.D., CSO and Co-CEO, Numab AG David Urech is the CSO and co-CEO, as well as a founder of Numab. He holds an MSc in Molecular Biology and Neurosciences from the University of Zurich and a PhD in Biochemistry from the Biocenter in Basel. Before his engagement with Numab, David was Head of Research & Preclinical Development at Esbatech. David conceived Esbatech’s antibody discovery platform and his work on the pharmacokinetic properties of antibody fragments enabled the development of ESBA105, a TNF-inhibitory scFv that became the first antibody fragment to be applied topically to the eye.

Wibke Lembke, Ph.D., Scientist, Covagen AG Wibke Lembke studied biochemistry and obtained her PhD at the “Klinikum rechts der Isar”, Technical University of Munich in 2009. After a short Post-Doc time in Munich, she joined Covagen in 2010 and was involved in the discovery and preclinical development of Covagen’s TNF/IL-17A bispecific molecule COVA322.

Arvind Rajpal, Ph.D., Vice President, Protein Engineering, Rinat-Pfizer  

Arvind Rajpal leads the Protein Engineering group at Rinat in South San Francisco.  His group generates, characterizes, and optimizes monoclonal antibody as potential therapeutic leads for disparate disease indications. He has more than ten years experience in antibody engineering and biochemistry. Arvind received his B.A. from Knox College in Chemistry and Computer Science in 1992. As a graduate student in Jack Kirsch’s laboratory at University of California at Berkeley, he studied the kinetics and thermodynamics of antibody protein interactions. He conducted postdoctoral studies at Pfizer Inc., at the Groton laboratories where he investigated the potential of intracellular antibodies as tools for functional genomics. After that he returned to University of California at Berkeley to Astar Winoto’s laboratory to study T-cell development. Arvind joined Bioren in 2003 and was instrumental in implementing a technology for rapid affinity maturation using small focused yeast displayed libraries. He then joined Pfizer’s therapeutic antibody group in 2004 and has been involved with discovery efforts for several programs now in clinical development.  He joined Rinat in 2007 in the protein engineering group where he was involved in establishing several new technologies in an effort to modulate antibody properties such as targeting, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, and payload delivery.