December 11-13, 2018




Joost Van Den Berg
Head of Cell Therapy Production
The Netherlands Cancer Institute

Joost van den Berg was trained as a pharmacist and developed a special interest in immunotherapy during his PhD at the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI)/ Utrecht University and subsequent postdoctoral training at the Center for Cancer Immune Therapy (CCIT) in Copenhagen, Denmark.Currently, he is responsible for the development and production of immunotherapeutic products in the in-house GMP facility of the NKI. In addition, he is involved in the execution of immunotherapy trials, including DNA vaccine trial, and adoptive cell therapy trials with gene modified peripheral blood T cells and Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocytes.  

Cyrille Cohen
Principal Investigator & Head of Laboratory of Tumor Immunology & Immunotherapy
Bar-Ilan University

Prof Cyrille Cohen has been active in the field of cancer immunotherapy for the past 20 years; following his PhD thesis focused TCR-like antibodies against cancer epitopes, he trained at the Surgery Branch (NCI,NIH), pioneering strategies for TCR-engineering. His current research aims at genetically improving the anti-tumor immune response by designing TCRs and CARs with broad tumor specificity and by manipulating T-cell co-stimulatory pathways. He recently described approaches to isolate on neo-antigen specific TILs and peripheral T-cells. He is a member of Israel regulatory agencies for approval of clinical trials based on gene and cell therapy in Israel and has authored more than 60 publications and patents in the field T-cell immunotherapy.

Robert Hawkins
Chief Executive Officer
Cellular Therapeutics

Clinically, Professor Hawkins focuses on treating renal cancer and on developing immunotherapy, particularly cellular immunotherapy. He heads a clinical research group undertaking trials and also a range of early phase clinical trials of biological agents including vaccines, antibody based molecules and cell therapies. He has successfully led the clinical development of several biological agents from Phase I to Phase III studies. Prof. Hawkins is CEO of Immetacyte Ltd. (formally Cellular Therapeutics Ltd.) a commercial venture which integrates a GMP manufacturing and R&D facility with the capacity to manufacture natural and gene modified T-cell therapies.  

Elfriede Nößner
Head of Research Group
Helmholtz Zentrum München

Dr. Elfriede Noessner is professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich (LMU) in Munich, Germany, and employed by the Helmholtz Zentrum Munich, where she is the Head of Immunoanalytics Research Group Tissue Control of Immunocytes and Core Facility. She did her academic training as Diplom-Biologist at the University of Regensburg and Rupprecht-Karls University of Heidelberg, and performed her PhD in Immunology at the LMU in Munich. She is board certified in immunology by the German Society of Immunology. She spent 5 years at Stanford University. Her research topics include the biology of HLA proteins and the antigen presentation; the activation, maintenance and control of T cell responses; and the modulation of T and NK cells, as well as dendritic cells and macrophages in tissue milieus, including cancer.

Geoffrey Stephens
Head of Product Science

Geoffrey Stephens, PhD., is the current Director of the Product Science Department at Immatics US, INC, where he has worked on ACT therapies for the last eleven months. Prior to joining Immatics, Dr. Stephens was employed with AstraZeneca, where he led pipeline projects related to cancer and autoimmunity. He has spent his career as a T cell immunologist, having trained at the NIH in the lab of Ethan Shevach. Dr. Stephens has presented and published extensively in various areas of mouse and human T cell biology, including T cell development, T cell subset characterization and differentiation, and regulatory T cells.

Maria Fardis
Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Fardis has extensive experience in drug development and novel cancer treatments. Prior to joining Iovance Biotherapeutics, Dr. Fardis was chief operating officer at Acerta Pharma working on the development of acalabrutinib (CALQUENCE®) until the company’s acquisition by AstraZeneca. Before joining Acerta, Dr. Fardis held the position of chief of oncology operations and alliances at Pharmacyclics where she oversaw development of ibrutinib (IMBRUVICA®), abexinostat (HDAC inhibitor), and FVIIa inhibitor programs. She was a key contributor in the creation of a broad clinical program for ibrutinib, as well as NDA and MAA submissions. Previously, Dr. Fardis held a number of key scientific and management roles at Gilead Sciences. At Gilead, she was involved with multiple therapeutic areas including antivirals, oncology, and cardiovascular therapeutics and worked on the development and life cycle management of ambrisentan (Letairis®). She received her PhD in organic chemistry from UC Berkeley and holds an MBA from Golden Gate University

Kumar Karyampudi
Principal Scientist

Lavakumar Karyampudi (Kumar) is a Principal Scientist at Iovance Biotherapeutics. Previously, he was senior scientist at NewLink Genetics where he worked on preclinical, clinical programs of hyperacute vaccine and IDO inhibitor. Kumar received his postdoctoral training in the areas of cancer vaccines, tumor microenvironment and checkpoint inhibitors from Mayo clinic, Rochester Minnesota. Kumar holds a Doctorate in Immunology from the Indiana State University, and obtained his Masters degree in Medical Microbiology from Kasturba Medical College, India.

Pre-Conference Workshop B

Tuesday 11th December, 2018

1:00pm | Exploration of Biomarkers to Optimize TIL Selection and Monitor Patient Response

Chantale Bernatchez
Assistant Professor, Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology - Research
MD Anderson Cancer Center

My main interest is immunotherapy of cancer with a special emphasis on T cell therapy utilizing tumor infiltrating lymphocytes. My lab conducts translational research where human primary cells from cancer patients (tumors or immune cells) are interrogated to find markers of response to T cell therapy or other immunotherapies. Another focus of my research is towards process development in order to streamline the complex and time consuming method to expand the T cells ex-vivo. We are hoping to develop an easier and more cost effective T cell manufacturing process in collaboration with the industry with the aim to make commercialization of TIL a viable path. We owe to our patients to optimize ways to disseminate this treatment to the masses of patients needing it.

Stephanie L. Goff
Associate Research Physician
Surgery Branch, NCI NIH

Stephanie L. Goff is a surgical oncologist on the senior staff of the Surgery Branch of the National Cancer Institute at the NIH. Her research interests include adoptive cell therapy for the treatment of solid tumors, building on the backbone of success in patients with metastatic melanoma to investigate the strategy in patients with metastastic breast cancer. Current and recent protocols have included the administration of TIL, TCR, and CAR for the treatment of patients with metastatic melanoma, lymphoma, or other epithelial cancers.

Pre-Conference Workshop A

Tuesday 11th December, 2018

09.00am | Adoptive Cell Transfer: Some Lessons Learned from Melanoma and Breast Cancer

Marit Van Buuren
Group Leader, T-cell Immunology
Neon Therapeutics

Marit M. van Buuren, PhD is a Group Leader at Neon Therapeutics, where she is responsible for NEON’s T cell program, NEO-PTC-01. She performed her graduate work in the lab of Ton Schumacher where she was trained as a tumor immunologist studying the recognition of neoantigens by T cells in patients with melanoma. In her job at Neon therapeutics she uses this expertise to bring neoantigen specific T cell therapies to patients.

Linh Nguyen
Head, Cell Production Team Tumor, Immunotherapy Program,
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Dr. Linh Nguyen has led the Cell Production Team at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre since 2005. Dr. Nguyen obtained her PhD in Immunology at the University of Toronto and pursued postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School. Her interests include translational tumor immunology and immunotherapy. Her team manufactures clinical-grade cell products such as tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), dendritic cells and TCR gene-engineered T cells for investigational trials. Their expertise includes QA, QC and regulatory aspects of cell and gene therapy.

Emese Zsiros
Assistant Professor of Oncology, Department of Gynecologic Oncology
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Emese Zsiros MD PhD is a gynecologic oncologist at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.  Her research interest includes novel therapeutic treatments for gynecologic cancers, including cellular therapy. She is a PI and Co-PI on several cellular therapy clinical trials as active member of the phase I team. She is board certified OB/GYN and Gynecologic Oncology, Fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and a member or several professional societies, such as Society of Gynecologic Oncology, American Association for Cancer Research, American Society of Clinical Oncology, Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer and the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons.

Gerrit Dispersyn
Chief Development Officer
RXi Pharmaceuticals

Dr. Gerrit Dispersyn joined RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation in April 2017 as their Chief Development Officer. Since joining RXi he has been leading the company’s R&D focus shift to immuno-oncology by developing a pipeline of immuno-oncology therapeutics geared towards improving adoptive cell transfer. Before joining RXi, he was the Vice President, Global Head of Clinical Affairs at Integra LifeSciences Corporation. Gerrit holds a Dr. Med. Sc. degree from the Faculty of Medicine, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands, a post-graduate degree in Biomedical Imaging, and a M.Sc. in Biochemistry, both from the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

Peter L. Hoang
Chief Executive Officer
Marker Therapeutics, Inc.

Mr. Hoang brings over twenty years of investment banking, venture capital, immuno-oncology and public company executive management experience to TapImmune, serving most recently as Senior Vice President of Business Development and Strategy at Bellicum Pharmaceuticals. Previously, as the Managing Director of Innovations at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, he headed the new venture formation and development effort for the institution. Before joining MD Anderson, Mr. Hoang was a senior investment banker, most recently as Managing Director and head of healthcare mergers & acquisitions advisory for CIT Group. He has also served in the M&A departments at Oppenheimer, J.P. Morgan, Merrill Lynch, and Deutsche Bank. He earned an M.B.A. with high honors distinction from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA and a B.A. from Yale University.

Michael Leek
Chief Executive Officer
TC Biopharm

Chief Executive at TC BioPharm, Michael has 28 years’ experience in regenerative medicine, during which he progressed 9 different cell-based products from laboratory into clinic. As co-founder, he was jointly responsible for moving Intercytex from a pre-clinical research company, to an AIM-listed biotech with several cell therapy products in the clinic. He has extensive GMP manufacture, clinical, regulatory and logistic expertise, he has directly raised over £50m in equity and grant funding.  

Joe Wypych
Vice President, Manufacturing

Senior management professional with a proven track record of developing and implementing programs that resulted in the success of corporate objectives. Innovative strategist in the development and manufacture of biopharmaceuticals with expertise in the areas of process development/engineering, project management, and leadership.

Michal Besser
Director Laboratory
Ella Lemelbaun Institute of Oncology, Sheba Medical Center

Michal Besser, PhD is the head of laboratory at The Ella Lemelbaum Institute for Immuno-Oncology and the director of the Wohl GMP facility at the Sheba Medical Center in Israel. Dr. Besser is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Clinical Immunology and Microbiology at Tel Aviv University. She completed her undergraduate studies and PhD at the University of Munich, Germany and her postdoctoral research at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. The Besser lab is specialized in the clinical production of CAR T cells and Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes (TIL) for therapy of cancer patients. Adoptive cell therapy serves as a platform for a wide range of research projects, which mainly seek the understanding and improvement of cellular therapies and immunotherapy.