Original Agenda
We are actively working with our speakers to confirm their availability for the virtual event. Initial response from our speakers has been very positive, and we are optimistic we will have the new programs ready to share here soon.

Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s 2nd Annual

Immunology and Oncology: Emerging Drug Targets and Therapeutics

New Approaches for Treating Autoimmunity and Cancer

September 16 - 17, 2020

The rapid pace of research in the immunology field and medically relevant signaling pathways highlighted by new biologics on the market are providing a plethora of new drug targets whose modulation are showing promise for treating diseases of the immune system or cancer. Often it’s the same target, modulated in opposite ways, that proves beneficial for both diseases. This conference covers such dual targets. We also focus on molecular targets whose modulation impacts either one or the other (autoimmunity or oncology). All drug modalities will be explored, though an emphasis will be on small molecules because many of the newest drug targets are intra-cellular.

Tuesday, September 15

1:00 pm Pre-Conference Short Course Registration (Premium Package or separate registration required)
2:00 Short Courses 1-9 (see Short Courses page for details)
5:00 Close of Day

Wednesday, September 16

7:00 am Registration and Morning Coffee


8:00 Organizer's Welcome Remarks

Cambridge Healthtech Institute

8:05 Chairperson's Remarks

Tatiana Novobrantseva, PhD, Co-Founder & CSO, Versau Therapeutics


Arginase Inhibition Leads to Increased Immune Cell Infiltration and Anti-Tumor Activity in Various Syngeneic Tumor Models

Alwin Schuller, PhD, Director, Oncology, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals

With both T cells and NK cells dependent on arginine, arginase has been recognized as a major immune-suppressive mechanism. We developed a small molecule arginase inhibitor that demonstrates in vivo activity evidenced by an increase in plasma and tumor arginine levels, reactivation of anti-tumor immunity, and single agent anti-tumor activity. Combination with various immune activators, including checkpoint inhibitors, further increases signs of immune activation as well as anti-tumor response.


Targeting Metabolic Pathways in Immune Cells 

Masha Poyurovsky, PhD, Vice President, Discovery Biology, Kadmon Corporation

The talk will provide an introductory overview of the metabolic pathways involved of immune cell function under the physiologic and pathologic conditions, providing specific examples of targeting metabolic pathways as means of regulating autoimmune inflammation. Primarily, we will present Kadmon’s programs targeting glucose transporters (GLUTs) and PAICS, an enzyme in the purine biosynthesis pathway, showing promise in in vitro and in vivo models of autoimmune disease.


Targeting Metabolic Susceptibilities in the Treatment of Hematologic Malignancies

Joshua C. Murtie, PhD, Senior Director & Head, Cancer Biology, Agios Pharmaceuticals

The treatment of hematologic malignancies has seen significant advances in the past decade, particularly in specific subgroups of patients. While many patients have benefited from these treatments, the prognosis for numerous others remains poor. Agios has focused on identifying metabolic vulnerabilities in a variety of cancers and has developed inhibitors of mutant IDH1.

9:40 Grand Opening Coffee Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

The Role of Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor and the Kyneurin Pathway in Cancer Immuno-Metabolism

David Sherr, Professor, Environmental Health, Boston University

Discovery of Novel IDO/Aryl Hydrocarbon Pathway Inhibitors

Bing Xia, PhD, Investigator, R&D Medicinal Science & Technology, GlaxoSmithKline

Indoleamine 2,3-dioxogenase-1 (IDO1) is induced and activated in response to viral and bacterial infection causing a dysfunctional immune response in clearing pathogens. IDO1 inhibitors (IDO1i) can potentially restore immune function in indications such as cancer and infection. A structurally-unique IDO1i class was discovered through the affinity selection of a novel DNA-encoded library. After additional medicinal chemistry iterations, the compound series was elaborated into potential best in class preclinical molecule.


Small Molecules against the Adenosine Receptor for Combatting Cancer

Brandon Rosen, PhD, Senior Scientist, Medicinal Chemistry, Arcus Biosciences

The discovery of small molecules targeting the adenosine A2a and A2b receptors in the context of immuno-oncology is discussed.

12:25 Session Break
12:35 Luncheon Presentation (Sponsorship Opportunity Available) or Enjoy Lunch on Your Own
1:05 Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing


1:50 Chairperson's Remarks

Chaohong Sun, PhD, Director, Protein Sciences & FBDD, AbbVie, Inc.


Regulation of Inflammatory Cell Death Signaling by RIP Kinases

Domagoj Vucic, PhD, Staff Scientist, Early Discovery Biology, Genentech

RIP1 kinase is a critical mediator of multiple signaling pathways that regulate inflammatory responses and cell death. Using RIP1 kinase inhibitor, GNE684, we show that RIP1 inhibition can efficiently block arthritis, skin and liver inflammation, and colitis in animal disease models. Conversely, RIP1 inhibition had no effect on tumor growth, metastases or viral infections. Together these data emphasize the protective role for RIP1 kinase inhibition in inflammatory disease.


ROR-Gamma Inverse Agonist for the Treatment of Psoriasis

Murali Ramachandra, PhD, CEO, Aurigene Discovery Technologies, Ltd.

This presentation will cover the discovery and development of AUR101, an ROR-gamma inverse agonist, which is currently in Phase 1 clinical trials for the treatment of psoriasis.

2:55 Sponsored Presentation (Opportunity Available)
3:25 Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing and Poster Competition Winner Announced



A Novel Macrocycle-Bridged STING Agonist with Pan-Genotypic and Potent Anti-Tumor Activity

Kuan-Chun Huang, PhD, Associate Director, Immuno Oncology & Pharmacology, H3 Biomedicine, Inc.

A Novel Pharmacological Inhibitor of the Mitochondrial F1Fo-ATPase Which Represses Viability of Cancerous Cells

Michelangelo Campanella, PhD, Lecturer, Pharmacology, Royal Veterinary College

Function of the mitochondrial enzyme F1Fo-ATPsynthase is compromised in both acute and chronic pathologies. This makes the enzyme an exploitable target to devise innovative therapeutics for long-term metabolic dysfunctions such as cancer. In my talk, I shall illustrate our progresses on this account by reporting synthesis and in vitro characterisation of the NH-Sulfoximine (NHS) which exploits the bio-energy dependent on mitochondria acting in reverse to deliver cytostatic effect.

5:05 Transition to Breakout Discussion Groups
5:15 Interactive Breakout Discussion Groups
Join a breakout discussion group. These are informal, moderated discussions with brainstorming and interactive problem solving, allowing participants from diverse backgrounds to exchange ideas and experiences and develop future collaborations around a focused topic. Visit the conference website for discussion topics and moderators.
6:15 Welcome Reception in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing (Sponsorship Opportunity Available)
7:15 Close of Day

Thursday, September 17

7:30 am Registration and Morning Coffee


8:00 Chairperson's Remarks

Murali Ramachandra, PhD, CEO, Aurigene Discovery Technologies, Ltd.


Discovery and Development of BIIB068: A Selective, Potent, Reversible Inhibitor of Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase (BTK)

Bin Ma, PhD, Senior Scientist, Medicinal Chemistry, Biogen

Covalent modification of BTK has been proven to be beneficial for cancer patients with multiple drugs on market while their safety profiles are concerned for autoimmune disease indications. A reversible non-covalent BTK inhibitor will have the promise to address this unmet need. We will report our discovery of BIIB068, an exquisitely selective, potent, reversible BTK inhibitor, together with the med chem strategy and Phase I clinical results.


An IL36 Antagonist for Probing Psoriasis

Chaohong Sun, PhD, Director, Protein Sciences & FBDD, AbbVie, Inc.

IL-36 cytokines, pro-inflammatory members of the IL-1 superfamily, are upregulated in inflammatory disorders. Targeting IL-36 signaling has been an attractive approach for several dermatological diseases including psoriasis. I will present our discovery of A-552, a novel first in class small molecule antagonist of the IL-36 signaling pathway. A-552 binds potently and selectively to human IL-36g and was capable of attenuating IL-36g induced responses in mouse and human disease models.

9:05 Sponsored Presentation (Opportunity Available)
9:35 Coffee Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing



Targeting Novel Macrophage Checkpoints for Modulating Anti-Tumor Responses

Tatiana Novobrantseva, PhD, Co-Founder & CSO, R&D, Verseau Therapeutics

Macrophages can adopt different functional roles in response to signals from their environment, including the ability to direct pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory immune responses. Verseau is utilizing its proprietary all human drug discovery and translation platform to develop an expansive pipeline of macrophage checkpoint modulators. At Verseau we have nominated and validated more than two dozen targets that modulate human macrophage biologyThe lead program targeting PSGL-1, reprograms macrophages to a pro-inflammatory state, activates T cells and attracts other immune cells to generate a coordinated and powerful anti-tumor response.


Inhibitors of Sec61 as Novel Anti-Cancer Therapeutics

Dustin L. McMinn, PhD, Senior Director, Head of Chemistry, Kezar Life Sciences

Post-translational functionalization of most secreted and transmembrane proteins requires co-translational translocation to the ER through Sec61. Translocation is negotiated by protein interactions between Sec61 and unique signal sequences specific to each translating protein. Disruption of these interactions in specific or multi-signal sequence fashion presents an opportunity to modulate protein homeostasis toward therapeutic benefit. Development of signal and multi-signal sequence selective Sec61 inhibitors as novel anti-cancer agents will be discussed.

11:20 Enjoy Lunch on Your Own
11:20 Conference Registration for Part B Programs


12:20 Event Chairperson's Opening Remarks
An-Dinh Nguyen, Team Lead, Discovery on Target 2020, Cambridge Healthtech Institute
12:30 Plenary Keynote Introduction (Sponsorship Opportunity Available)

Tackling Undruggable Oncoproteins: Lessons from the VHL Tumor Suppressor Protein

William G. Kaelin, Jr., MD, Professor and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

VHL tumor suppressor protein (pVHL) inactivation is common in kidney cancer and upregulates the HIF2 transcription factor. PT2977/MK-6482 is an allosteric HIF2 inhibitor now in Phase 3 testing. Thalidomide-like drugs (IMiDs) bind to cereblon which, like pVHL, is the substrate-binding unit of a ubiquitin ligase. IMiDs redirect cereblon to destroy the myeloma oncoproteins, IKZF1 and IKZF3. We have developed new assays for identifying drugs that can destabilize oncoproteins of interest.


De-Risking Early Drug Discovery

Panel Moderator:
Nadeem Sarwar, PhD, Founder & President, Eisai Center for Genetics Guided Dementia Discovery, Eisai, Inc.
  • Data Sciences
  • ​Novel Chemical Modalities
  • Investment and Partnering Models
  • COVID-19 Progress as Examples of Successful Partnerships
Anthony A. Philippakis, PhD, Chief Data Officer, Data Sciences & Data Engineering, Broad Institute; Venture Partner, GV
Andrew Plump, MD, PhD, President, Research & Development, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
2:00 Close of Plenary Keynote Program
2:00 Dessert Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing
2:45 Close of Immunology and Oncology: Emerging Drug Targets and Therapeutics Conference

Choose 2 Short Courses and 2 Conferences/Training Seminars
Sept. 15 Short Course: SC1: Immunology Basics: Focusing on Autoimmunity and Cancer
Sept. 16-17 Conference: Immunology and Oncology: Emerging Drug Targets and Therapeutics
Sept. 17 Dinner Short Course: SC10: GPCR Structure-Based Drug Discovery
Sept. 17-18 Conference: Kinase Inhibitor Discovery