CAR-Ts revolutionized the way blood cancers can be treated, but still haven’t really caught on in the market as physicians and patients consider vein-to-vein times, cost and manufacturing snafus. Now a large group of scientists are leading a well-funded drive to adapt this technology for solid tumors, while making the whole process much more economical for patients and payers. The winners will help revolutionize the field. And the race to be first has inspired a furious sprint to the finish line.
Jennifer Brogdon, PhD is Executive Director, Head of Cell Therapy Research, in the Department of Exploratory Immuno-Oncology of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) in Cambridge, MA. Jennifer leads development of next generation CAR-T cell therapies for oncology and is responsible for driving innovation, strategy and building a therapeutic pipeline from target discovery to first in human (FIH) clinical studies. Jennifer has broad expertise in antibody, small molecule and cell & gene therapy programs. She helped drive the development of Kymriah – the first CAR-T cell therapy approved by the FDA – and received the Novartis Distinguished Scientist Award for that work and other contributions to novel therapies for multiple hematological and solid malignancies. Her drug discovery experience includes >14 distinct therapeutic immuno-oncology programs that have reached Phase I/II clinical trials. She holds a PhD in Immunology from Duke University and a postdoctoral fellowship in Immunobiology from Yale University.
Teri Foy is an immunologist with more than 25 years of biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry experience developing novel therapeutics in the areas of oncology and inflammation. At Bristol Myers Squibb, Teri leads the Immuno-Oncology (I-O) and Cell Therapy Thematic Research Center. With a mission to drive leadership in the use of immune effector cell-based therapies in hematological and solid cancers, Teri and her team focus on the development and translation of BMS’ early I-O and cell therapy pipeline from discovery through human proof of concept. As part of her research, Teri also oversees close collaborations with other key research areas across the company, as well as external scientific partnerships.
Martin Pule, MBBS, is Senior Vice President, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Autolus, a T cell programming and manufacturing company spun out of University College London in 2014 based on advanced cell programming technology pioneered by Dr. Pule. He is also Clinical Senior Lecturer in the Department of Haematology at University College London Cancer Institute and Honorary Consultant in Haematology at University College London Hospital. His research focuses on many aspects of genetic engineering of T-cells for cancer treatment, with a particular emphasis on CARs. He entered the T-cell engineering field in 2001 as a travelling Fulbright Scholar at the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. Here, Dr. Pule was the first to describe third generation forms of CARs and described one of the first clinical studies of CARs, which showed efficacy in a solid cancer. Dr. Pule is Director of the UCL Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) programme. He holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from University College Dublin and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists.
Donald M. O’Rourke, MD, The John Templeton, Jr., MD Professor in Neurosurgery is a Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery and The Abramson Cancer Center at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the Human Brain Tumor Tissue Bank, and a founding member of the Philadelphia Coalition for a Cure (PC4C), a first-of-its-kind precision medicine study supporting collaborative research on brain tumors across both pediatric and adult patients. Dr. O’Rourke’s laboratory studies targeted therapies and immunotherapies for brain cancer, including the application of CART immunotherapy to glioblastoma (gbm). Dr. O’Rourke led the Penn group in the recent completion of a first-in-man clinical trial using CART cells for treatment of gbm and recently opened a clinical trial for newly diagnosed gbm patients, utilizing a combination CART and drug inhibitor therapies. Dr. O’Rourke graduated from Harvard University (Magna Cum Laude) with an A.B. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1983, followed by medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. O'Rourke's residency in Neurosurgery and fellowship in Pathology & Laboratory Medicine were completed at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the School of Medicine. He has been recognized annually in Philadelphia Magazine’s list of Top Doctors since 2005, and has also been named one of the Best Doctors in America and one of America’s Top Doctors annually since in 2006.
A native of Austin, Kyle previously worked as an associate editor at another leading biopharma publication and has held editor roles at two daily newspapers in Texas. In addition to a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University, Kyle holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of North Texas in Denton. At Endpoints, Kyle leads the company’s manufacturing coverage as well as running point on virtual events, editing and content strategy. An avid cook and history nerd, you can find Kyle hovering over the stove—spatula in one hand and a World War II tome in the other.