2019 Interviews

August 14, 2019 | Bio-IT World - NEW
Therapeutic Antibody Affinity Maturation by Cell Surface Display: Closing the Gap

Agnieszka Kielczewska, Senior Scientist, Antibody Discovery, Amgen, Canada

Kielczewska describes her team’s novel affinity maturation approach to help “close” an affinity gap without compromising binding affinity to the human target.
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July 3, 2019 | Bio-IT World - NEW
How Paratope Refinement Can Mitigate Antibody Polyspecificity

Jonny Finlay, PhD, CSO, Ultrahuman, United Kingdom

Finlay discusses the role of polyspecificity in the toxicity and side effects of checkpoint inhibitors, the solvability of the problem, and where bottlenecks occur during the development stage of biotherapeutic R&D.
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June 24, 2019 | Bio-IT World - NEW
Tracking The Clinical And Preclinical Progress In Targeting Membrane Proteins

Catherine Hutchings, PhD, Independent Consultant, United Kingdom

Hutchings describes her work tracking the progress in developing biotherapeutics against GPCR and ion channel targets, the successes and failures of targeting membrane proteins, and what technologies in the R&D space have the potential to be game changers.
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March 6, 2019 - NEW
Why inhibit Ketohexokinase (KHK) to treat NASH?

Kendra K. Bence, PhD, Senior Director, Metabolism, Internal Medicine Research Unit (IMRU), Pfizer, Inc.

Dr. Bence explains why and how Pfizer scientists developed an inhibitor against ketohexokinase as a drug candidate for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a form of liver fibrosis.
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2018 Interviews

The High-Resolution Crystal Structure of the NavMs Sodium Channel Provides Information on Drug Binding and Mutations Associated with Human Diseases

Darren Tomlinson, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Leeds, United Kingdom

Affimers are scaffolding proteins that constrain variable regions for molecular recognition and can be used as alternatives to antibodies in many applications. In this talk, I will focus on the isolation of Affimer reagents against TRPV1, an ion channel implicated in pain disorders. The reagents act as positive allosteric modulators, and we have mimicked the interaction with small molecules through in silico drug design based on a co-crystal structure.
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Generation of Positive Allosteric Modulators of TRPV1 Using Affimer Reagents

Bonnie Ann Wallace, PhD, Professor, Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology, Birkbeck College, United Kingdom

Our high resolution crystal structures of Nav mutations, along with molecular dynamics and spectroscopic, mutational and electrophysiology studies of the channel, have enabled visualization of the binding sites of channel-blocking drugs and the transmembrane fenestrations that enable drug ingress into the channel, the changes in the voltage sensor and the channel gate associated with ion transport and the channel opening and closing, and the roles of mutations associated with human diseases.
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Indirect Immunization with Antigen Specific Monoclonal IgG & IgE: Schedule Dependent interactions with Cytotoxic Agents and Immune Modulators

Christopher F. Nicodemus, MD, Chairman, Clinical & Scientific Advisory Board, OncoQuest, Inc., Canada

Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s Kent Simmons recently spoke with Dr. Christopher Nicodemus, Chairman of the OncoQuest Inc. Clinical & Scientific advisory board and Principal of AIT Strategies about his upcoming talk, “Indirect Immunization with Antigen Specific Monoclonal IgG & IgE: Schedule Dependent interactions with Cytotoxic Agents and Immune Modulators” to be presented at the Antibody Discovery Forum (Part 2) meeting at the 2018 Discovery on Target. Discovery on Target is scheduled for 25-28, 2018 in Boston, with Dr. Nicodemus’ talk set for the afternoon of Friday, September 28.
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2016 Interviews

Inducible GPCR Cell Lines for Antibody Characterization

Eric Grazzini, Ph.D., Team Leader Rapid Protein Production, Senior Research Officer, Biologics, National Research Council of Canada, Canada

National Research Council Canada (NRC) has a strong track record in target discovery and monoclonal antibody production. Among the most interesting and well-known therapeutic targets identified, GPCRs proteins represent a challenge and an opportunity to develop and characterize mAbs. Cells expressing GPCRs of interest can be used for immunization and/or screening purposes. To this end, we have developed the proprietary cumate-inducible CHOBRI cell line for stable and modulated gene expression.
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Efficiency of Genetic Immunization for the Generation of Antibodies Against Membrane Proteins

Debra T. Hansen, Ph.D., Associate Research Professor, Center for Applied Structural Discovery, Arizona State University

We describe the first report of the efficiency of a DNA-based immunization approach to generate antibodies against membrane proteins. Genetic immunization relies on the immunized host to express, fold, and modify the antigen. We used micronanoplex gene gun immunization of mice to generate antibodies against BSL3 pathogens and a novel in vitro expression method that purifies the antigen. We will discuss method development and applications.
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Harnessing Venomics for Ion Channel Drug Discovery

Hongkai Zhang, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Lerner Laboratory, The Scripps Research Institute

Animal venoms represent a rich source of active peptides for ion channel and GPCR drug targets. However, a challenge remains with the slow pace at which venom peptides are discovered and refined. Combining autocrine-based selection with proximity-based assay provides a robust and user-friendly solution. The talk will include discovery of novel Kv1.3 blockers from natural venom peptide library and selection of refined venom peptides from combinatorial library.
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2014 Interviews

Exploiting Cancer Cells' Metabolic Mix-up for New Targeted Oncology Therapies
Lenny Dang, Ph.D., Senior Director, Biochemistry, Agios Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Raju Pusapati, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Discovery Oncology (Jeff Settleman Lab), Genentech, Inc.



DOTLogo2017 Engineering NK Cells for Enhanced Potency and Persistence
with James B. Trager, PhD, Senior Vice President, Research and Development, Nkarta Therapeutics

DOTLogo2017 Reprogramming Tumor Microenvironment to Enhance Immunotherapy
with Dai Fukumura, MD, PhD, Deputy Director of Edwin L. Steele Laboratory and Investigator, Massachusetts General Hospital; Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School

DOTLogo2017 Novel Strategies to Produce Better NK Cells for Cancer Treatment
with Jeffrey Miller, MD, Professor, Medicine, Division of Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation, University of Minnesota