Immuno-Oncology Targets

While cancer immunotherapy has made a giant leap in the past five years, the majority of therapies at advanced stages of development are clustered in a similar target space. The increased investment in immuno-oncology has created an urgent opportunity to discover and populate new target spaces that either present new classes of immunotherapies or can be used in combination with existing products. Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s Inaugural Immuno-Oncology Targets conference will cover the emerging target space, including immunomodulatory inhibitor and agonist targets, stromal and immune cell targets, and strategies for rational combination immunotherapy. Case studies of preclinical and translational approaches to the discovery and validation of new immuno-oncology targets and combinations will be presented.

Final Agenda

Wednesday, June 14

11:00 am Registration

12:00 pm Bridging Luncheon Presentation (Sponsorship Opportunity Available) or Enjoy Lunch on Your Own

12:30 Session Break

1:00 Coffee and Dessert in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing


3:30 Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing


4:15 Chairperson’s Opening Remarks

Angie Inkyung Park, Ph.D., Senior Director, Immunotherapy and Stem Cells, OncoMed Pharmaceuticals

4:25 KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: The Selective IDO1 Inhibitor PF-06840003 Synergizes with Immune Checkpoint Blockade

Manfred Kraus, Ph.D., Director, In vivo Pharmacology, Tumor Cell Biology, Pfizer Oncology

4:55 Induction of Anti-Tumor Immunity by Targeting TIGIT in Solid Cancer

Angie_ParkAngie Inkyung Park, Ph.D., Senior Director, Immunotherapy and Stem Cells, OncoMed Pharmaceuticals

Using OncoMed’s rabbit MAP Trap platform, we have developed antibodies against checkpoint inhibitor TIGIT. Anti-TIGIT antibodies can block PVR ligand binding and inhibit TIGIT signaling. Anti-TIGIT antibody induced tumor specific T-cell responses, particularly of the Th1 type, increased antigen-specific CD8 response, and promoted a reduction in Treg-mediated immune-suppressive activity, leading to tumor growth suppression and generation of long-term immunological memory against tumors.

Advanced Cell Diagnostic - small logo5:25 State-of-the-Art Tissue Expression Analysis Platform for Multiplexed Immuno-Oncology Target and Biomarker Development

Christopher_BunkerChristopher Bunker, Ph.D., Vice President, Business Development, Advanced Cell Diagnostics, Inc.

RNAscope is clinically validated and enables multiplexed tissue analysis of I-O, checkpoint and immune cell markers in human and animal tissues. RNAscope is the most sensitive platform for tissue-based expression analysis. There are 14,000 assays in use and 4 oncology CDx in development. The following applications will be discussed: detection of any mRNA in FFPE tissues; multiplexing to 4-plex; isoform-specific detection; point mutations and CRISPR edit validation; CAR-T lentiviral detection.

5:55 The Third Group of the B7-CD28 Immune Checkpoint Family

Xingxing_ZangXingxing Zang, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Microbiology and Immunology & Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

CTLA-4 and the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway are current focuses in cancer immunotherapy. This presentation will discuss other new immune checkpoints for future human cancer immunotherapy.

6:25 Close of Day

6:30 Dinner Short Course Registration

Thursday, June 15

7:00 am Registration Open and Morning Coffee

7:30 Interactive Breakout Discussion Groups with Continental Breakfast

This session features various discussion groups that are led by a moderator/s who ensures focused conversations around the key issues listed. Attendees choose to join a specific group and the small, informal setting facilitates sharing of ideas and active networking. Continental breakfast is available for all participants.

Comparing the Tumor Microenvironments of Mice and Humans

Mary_Woodall-JappeMary Woodall-Jappe, Ph.D., Director, US Discovery Biology-Oncology, Eisai

  • How well do mouse models of "cold" and "hot" tumors translate to human cancers?
  • How does a tumor's location alter its interaction with immune cells?
  • How best to model stromal components beyond immune cells

Implementation of Patient-Derived Cell Models in Drug Discovery and Development

Christian_SchmeesChristian Schmees, Ph.D., Head of Tumor Biology, Molecular Biology Department, NMI Natural and Medical Sciences Institute at the University of Tübingen

  • Promises and challenges - improving clinical trial success rates
  • Commercial use of patient-derived data: developing general ethical guidelines and raising public awareness



8:35 Chairperson’s Remarks

Mary Woodall-Jappe, Ph.D., Director, US Discovery Biology-Oncology, Eisai

8:45 EP4 Antagonism in Combination Immuno-Oncology Therapeutic Approaches

Mary_Woodall-JappeMary Woodall-Jappe, Ph.D., Director, US Discovery Biology-Oncology, Eisai

PGE2 in the tumor microenvironment contributes to the accumulation of immunosuppressive myeloid cells by interacting with the EP4 receptor on newly arriving monocytes, skewing their development into MDSCs and TAMs. The EP4 antagonist E7046, now in Phase I/Ib trials, inhibits this interaction and enhances formation of a more favorable anti-tumor immune milieu. This approach combines well pre-clinically with T cell-directed immunotherapies such as checkpoint inhibitors in boosting anti-tumor immunity.

9:15 Activation of Myeloid IL-27 Production Initiates 4-1BB Agonist Hepatotoxicity

Michael_CurranMichael A. Curran, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Immunology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Despite impressive efficacy against both hematologic and solid tumors and an ability to suppress adverse events associated with checkpoint blockade, the development of 4-1BB agonist antibodies has been stymied by dose-limiting liver toxicity. We have defined the precise cellular and molecular mechanisms driving 4-1BB agonist hepatotoxicity, and, in so doing, have revealed multiple potential approaches to separate off-target liver toxicity from on-target anti-tumor immunity.

9:45 In vitro Characterization and in vivo Anti-Tumor Efficacy of a Novel STING Agonist, MK-1454
Saso Cemerski, Ph.D., Principal Scientist, Merck Research Labs  

10:15 Coffee Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing


11:00 Exploring Combinations for Anti-PD-1 Cancer Therapy

Juergen_MollJürgen Moll, Ph.D., Director, Pharmacology and Translational Research, Boehringer Ingelheim

The checkpoint signaling pathway involving the PD-1 and PD-L1/2 axis has been critical in advancing cancer immunotherapy. However, many patients do not benefit from checkpoint modulator monotherapy. Hence, combinations with other anticancer drugs have the potential to improve response rates. We explored the combination of anti-PD-1 antibodies with molecular targeted therapies in syngeneic tumor models, and examples are shown of how compounds, expected to be rather tumor targeting, can modulate the immune response and work synergistically with PD-1 antibodies.

11:30 Enhanced Anti-Tumor Effect of Combination Therapy with NHS-muIL12 and Anti-PD-L1 Antibody (Avelumab) in a Preclinical Cancer Model

Chunxiao_XuChunxiao Xu, Ph.D., Principal Scientist, Immuno-Pharmacology and Immuno-Oncology, EMD Serono

NHS-IL12 is an immunocytokine designed to target tumor necrotic regions to deliver IL12 into the tumor microenvironment. Avelumab, a fully human anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody, has shown anti-tumor activity in various malignancies in clinical trials. In the preclinical studies, combination treatment with NHS-muIL12 and avelumab generated an enhanced anti-tumor effect relative to either monotherapy, indicating combination of therapies that target distinct immune pathways may be a promising strategy to improve anti-tumor efficacy.

12:00 pm NKTR-214 plus NKTR-262, a Scientifically-Guided Rational Combination Approach for Immune Oncology

Jonathan_ZalevskyJonathan Zalevsky, Ph.D., Vice President, Biology & Preclinical Development, Nektar Therapeutics

NKTR-214 is an experimental therapy designed to stimulate cancer-killing lymphocytes in the body by biased cytokine signaling through CD122 receptors found on the surface of CD8+ effector T cells and Natural Killer (NK) cells. NKTR-262 is a novel chemical agent that targets the myeloid immune compartment. The combination of these two agents provides a rational comprehensive approach to engage multiple immune pathways to create an optimal immune oncology therapy.

12:30 Luncheon Presentation (Sponsorship Opportunity Available) or Enjoy Lunch on Your Own

1:00 Session Break


1:30 Chairperson’s Remarks

Daniela Cipolletta, Ph.D., Lab Head, Investigator III, Immuno-Oncology, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research

1:35 TME Modulation by Large and Small Molecule: A Lesson from the Anti-PD-1+CSF1R Inhibitor Combination

Daniela_CipollettaDaniela Cipolletta, Ph.D., Lab Head, Investigator III, Immuno-Oncology, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research

We have used murine models to monitor the immune response upon perturbation of the tumor microenvironment with large and small molecules. This approach has enabled our understanding of tumor-induced immune modulation and the identification of novel combinatorial strategies in specific cancer settings.

2:05 Activation of the STING Pathway to Induce Tumor Immunity

Chudi_NdubakuChudi Ndubaku, Ph.D., Associate Director, Organic Synthetic Chemistry, Aduro Biotech

Production of host type I interferon within the tumor microenvironment, mediated by the Stimulator of Interferon Genes (STING) pathway, leads to priming of tumor-specific immunity. Therapeutic activation of STING through intratumoral (IT) administration of a novel synthetic CDN derivative (ADU-S100) results in anti-tumor efficacy in mouse syngeneic tumor models. Mechanisms of ADU-S100-induced tumor regression and the design of an ongoing Phase I clinical study with ADU-S100 will be presented.

2:35 Coffee and Dessert Break in the Exhibit Hall. Last Chance for Poster Viewing.

 3:20 Co-Cultures of Primary 3D Tumor Spheroids and Immune Cells for Preclinical Efficacy Testing of Cancer Immuno- and Combination Therapy

Christian_SchmeesChristian Schmees, Ph.D., Head of Tumor Biology, Molecular Biology Department, NMI Natural and Medical Sciences Institute at the University of Tübingen

Cellular models closely resembling patient tumors and their interactions with different aspects of the antitumor immune response are highly needed for predicting the efficacy of novel approaches in cancer immunotherapy alone and in combination with other treatments. I will present data from our co-culture model of primary 3D tumor spheroids with T and NK cells allowing for analysis of immune cell infiltration as well as cytotoxicity in response to antigen stimulation and/or compound treatment.

3:50 Profiling the Evolution of Immune Phenotypes in Human Cancer with Low-Input Single-Cell RNA Sequencing

Sanjay Prakadan, Ph.D., The Shalek Lab, MIT Institute for Medical Engineering & Science

4:20 Close of Conference

5:00 Symposia Registration

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