Emerging Targets and Therapeutic Approaches banner

The proliferation of engineering approaches has accelerated the pace of exploring novel targets against cancer, autoimmune, inflammatory disease and a range of other indications. The Emerging Targets and Therapeutic Approaches track will highlight success with improved targeting and innovative solutions to address challenges that remain. Join us this November in Barcelona for a dynamic look at the incredible progress and myriad of solutions that are being investigated to create first-in-class biotherapeutics.

Sunday, 13 November

Recommended Short Course*14:00

SC2: The Tumour Microenvironment and Response to Cancer Immunotherapy
*Separate registration required. See short courses page for details.

Tuesday, 15 November

Registration and Morning Coffee (Garden Room)07:30




Chairpersons' Opening Remarks

Daniel Chen, MD, PhD, Founder, Engenuity Life Sciences

Pablo Umaña, PhD, Head, Oncology Discovery, Roche


The End of One Era and the Beginning of a New One: The State of Cancer Immunotherapy and Opportunities for Next-Generation Engineered Therapeutics

Daniel Chen, MD, PhD, Founder, Engenuity Life Sciences

The emergence of cancer immunotherapy has led to life-altering benefits for some patients with otherwise terminal cancer. However, immunotherapies beyond checkpoint inhibitors that block the PD-L1/PD-1 pathway and CAR T for lymphoma and leukemia have not resulted in similar benefits. Approaches for immunotherapy include combinations, application in earlier diseases, and biomarker directed patient selection. In particular, discussion of what has been learned biologically from a massive number of cancer immunotherapy clinical studies run over the last decade and opportunities for the approach and design of next-generation engineered therapeutics.


Engineering Soluble TCRs into T Cell Engager Bispecifics for Solid Tumors

Annelise Vuidepot, PhD, CTO, Immunocore

A T cell clone that recognises the most common KRAS mutation, KRASG12D, presented as a peptide by HLA-A11, was isolated from PBMCs. The affinity of the TCR was enhanced a million-fold and demonstrated remarkable ability to distinguish between KRASG12D and KRASWT peptides. ImmTAC molecules were generated; the binding selectivity translated into biological specificity, redirecting T cell cytotoxicity towards KRASG12D presenting colon cancer cells while sparing normal colon epithelial cells.


Nanobody®-Based T Cell Engagers

Paolo Meoni, PhD, Distinguished Scientist & Project Head, Sanofi

TCEs are multi-specific molecules typically binding the CD3/TCR complex and a specific tumor membrane antigen, triggering (MHC)-independent cancer cell elimination. NANOBODY molecules are engineered proteins derived from “heavy chain” antibodies that can be connected like beads on a string creating highly developable new multi-valent and multi-specific compounds. An example of a NANOBODY-based TCE will be presented.

10:00 SC134-TCB, a FucosylGM1 Glycolipid-Targeting T Cell Redirecting Bispecific Antibody for SCLC Treatment

Foram Dave, PhD, Scientist, Scancell

Fucosyl-GM1 is a glycosphingolipid that is highly expressed in 75-90% of SCLC tumours.  We have generated a high affinity monoclonal antibody SC134, against fucosylGM1 and used it as a scaffold for a T cell redirecting bispecific antibody (TCB). SC134-TCB simultaneously binds to fucosylGM1 and CD3. The functional characterisation of the SC134-TCBs will be presented including their binding characteristics, impact on T cell activation, cytokine production and SCLC killing.

Session Break and Transition into Plenary Keynote10:30




Plenary Keynote Introduction

Ahuva Nissim, PhD, Professor, Antibody and Therapeutic Engineering, William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London

E. Sally Ward, PhD, Director, Translational Immunology; Professor, Molecular Immunology, Centre for Cancer Immunology, University of Southampton


Evolution of Antibody Technologies

Jane K. Osbourn, PhD, CSO, Alchemab Therapeutics Ltd.

It is nearly fifty years since the discovery of monoclonal antibodies, the first drug approval coming soon after in 1986. From this early success, approval rates took time to ramp up and significant efforts were focused on building a range of technologies to deal with the technical challenges of antibody-drug discovery. This talk will discuss how antibody technologies have evolved and consider where future innovation may lie.

Coffee Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing (Verdi and Vivaldi 1&2)11:30



Enhancing Endogenous and Synthetic Immunity with Engineered Antibody-Fusion Proteins for Cancer Immunotherapy

Pablo Umaña, PhD, Head, Oncology Discovery, Roche

A new generation of engineered fusion proteins is currently being developed to enhance endogenous and synthetic immunity approaches for cancer immunotherapy. The talk will cover both a PD-1-cis-targeted IL-2 variant used to differentiate antigen-specific, stem-like T cells into better effectors and also the combination of tumor-targeted costimulatory receptor agonists with T cell engaging bispecific antibodies as an off-the-shelf approach for enhanced T cell redirection. Both of these approaches are currently being tested in first-in-class clinical trials.

12:45 Genetic Immunization and Single Cell Screening – Advanced Tools for Antibody Discovery

Andreas Weise, Senior Account Manager, Genovac

Successful antibody discovery against challenging targets requires robust immunization and advanced screening technologies. Genovac has 20+ years of genetic immunization experience, successfully completing over 3,500 projects. In this session, Dr. Andreas Weise will cover:​

  • Defining characteristics and strategies for challenging targets​
  • Overview of various antigens and immunization approaches​
  • Advantages of genetic immunization​
  • Case studies showing the power of genetic immunization

Session Break13:15

13:20 Pioneer – an Optimized Synthetic Human Antibody Library for Rapid Selection of Therapeutic Leads

Mateusz Putyrski, PhD, Senior Scientist, New Technologies, Bio-Rad AbD Serotec GmbH

The Pioneer Antibody Library stems from our deep and long-standing expertise in Fab phage display – extensive optimization of the displayed sequences has resulted in an exceptional library for the generation of therapeutic lead candidates. With over 2x10^11 unique antibodies, Pioneer is one of the largest phage display Fab libraries ever made. Pioneer takes advantage of SpyDisplay - a novel selection system with unique features. In this talk, we will introduce the Pioneer library and the SpyDisplay selection system and will show data on selection and characterization of antibodies against therapeutically relevant targets, thus demonstrating the potential of Pioneer in combination with SpyDisplay for generating human antibodies for therapeutic development.

13:50 Building a Central Source of Truth to Accelerate Next-Generation Biologics

Harry Dobson, Senior Software Engineer, Alchemab Therapeutics

Tatiana Gubser, Implementation Manager, Benchling

Alchemab is pioneering novel approaches to antibody engineering that include identification of naturally occurring protective antibodies, followed by development and optimization of potent therapeutic candidates that replicate the protective effect. Given the high data complexity across this R&D spectrum, establishing robust and scalable data models was an essential component to these initiatives. In this session, you’ll hear how Alchemab established a scalable informatics platform to support their rapidly growing biologics programs. 


Session Break14:20


Chairperson’s Remarks

Daniel Chen, MD, PhD, Founder, Engenuity Life Sciences

Pablo Umaña, PhD, Head, Oncology Discovery, Roche


Including Neutrophils in Anti-Cancer Therapy: Targeting the IgA Fc Receptor Is the Way Forward

Marjolein van Egmond, PhD, Professor, Oncology and Inflammation, Amsterdam UMC

Antibody-based immunotherapy is a promising strategy in cancer treatment. IgG eliminates tumor cells through NK cell-mediated ADCC and macrophage-mediated antibody-dependent phagocytosis. Neutrophils have been largely overlooked as potential effector cells because IgG ineffectively recruits neutrophils. By contrast, IgA potently activates neutrophils and induces migration through FcaRI. IgA has however poorer half-life and does not activate NK cells. Bispecific antibodies targeting FcaRI combine the best of both worlds and will be discussed.


Re-Engineering Cancer Immunotherapy: Where Are We Going and How Can We Get There?


Daniel Chen, MD, PhD, Founder, Engenuity Life Sciences

  • What have we learned from the clinic about why cancer immunotherapy doesn’t work better in some patients?
  • How can engineered therapeutics optimize outcomes for patients by addressing these challenges?
  • What technologies are most likely to be effective in addressing these challenges?
  • How can we better develop these therapies in the clinic?

Annelise Vuidepot, PhD, CTO, Immunocore

Paolo Meoni, PhD, Distinguished Scientist & Project Head, Sanofi

Pablo Umaña, PhD, Head, Oncology Discovery, Roche

Marjolein van Egmond, PhD, Professor, Oncology and Inflammation, Amsterdam UMC

15:35 Accelerating Immunotherapeutic Drug Development Through Advanced Protein Production and Antibody Development Platforms

Ali Abdul-Gader, PhD, Technical Specialist, Sino Biological Europe

Sino Biological is a global leading supplier specializing in recombinant protein production and antibody development. We offer proprietary target reagents for biomarkers, immune checkpoint, CAR-T cell, and cancer immunotherapy drug development. Sino Biological has established extensive recombinant protein expression and antibody discovery platforms for customized projects. We will introduce the CRO services landscape at Sino Biological focussing on strategies in protein production and high-quality antibody development for challenging immunotherapeutic research.


Target-Agnostic Antibody Discovery: Antigen and Epitope Identification of Patient-Derived Glycan and EphA2 binders

Philippe Marguet, PhD, Associate Director, Target Biochemistry, Atreca

The discovery of appropriate targets and epitopes remains a bottleneck to developing antibody-based therapeutics, such as bispecific cell engagers and ADCs. Atreca’s Immune Repertoire Capture® (IRC™) platform identifies tumor-selective antibodies directly from patients experiencing active immune responses. Target- and epitope- identification for Fvs emerging from Atreca’s target-agnostic approach will be presented. In particular EphA2 and glycan binders, and the yeast-display and CRISPR tools applied in these cases, will be highlighted. 

Refreshment Break in the Hall with Poster Viewing (Verdi and Vivaldi 1&2)16:05



Chairperson’s Remarks

Michael Hust, PhD, Professor & Research Group Leader, Biotechnology, Technische Universität Braunschweig


Fighting Infectious Diseases and Toxins with Recombinant Antibodies

Michael Hust, PhD, Professor & Research Group Leader, Biotechnology, Technische Universität Braunschweig

We have developed human and human-like antibodies against several infectious diseases and toxins (e.g. diphtheria toxin, botulinum toxins, VEEV, WEEV, Marburg virus, Ebola virus). In the last few years, we have focused our antibody and biomarker development on infectious diseases and have developed a unique repertoire of neutralizing and protective human antibodies using our phage display development pipeline. In this presentation several examples from our infectious diseases pipeline will be presented.


PRS-220: An Inhaled Anticalin Protein Targeting CTGF for the Treatment of Pulmonary Fibrosis in the Lung

Marina Pavlidou, PhD, Director and Project Leader, Pieris Pharmaceuticals

Anticalin proteins are a novel class of biotherapeutics which, based on their biophysical properties and small size of approximately 20 kDa, are particularly well-suited for delivery via inhalation. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic, progressive, and ultimately fatal lung disease lacking well-tolerated and effective therapies. We will describe the preclinical development of the inhaled Anticalin protein PRS-220 that targets connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), a driver of fibrotic lung remodeling, as a novel and promising inhaled therapy for IPF.



Identifying and Validating Novel Oncology ADC Targets

Mark J. Austin, PhD, Team Leader, Display Technology, CRUK AstraZeneca Antibody Alliance Laboratory (AAL)

The CRUK AstraZeneca Antibody Alliance collaborates with the oncology academic community to discover novel medicines for cancer patients. Here we will describe how we find and validate novel ADC targets for cancer. The presentation will walk through the discovery of putative targets by AI collaborations and move on to discuss the key experiments required to build enough confidence to deliver an ADC therapeutic campaign.


Discovery and Characterisation of the CD96 Antibody GSK6097608, a High-Affinity, Antagonistic Anti-CD96 Antibody for Cancer Immunotherapy

Sarah Stuart, PhD, Team Leader, Biopharm Discovery, GlaxoSmithKline

This talk will describe the discovery and biological characterization of GSK6097608 which targets the inhibitory immune receptor CD96. We used the yeast-based Adimab platform for rapid discovery and subsequent selection of higher affinity variants. GSK6097608 can block CD155 binding and compete off bound CD155 from CD96. We explored different Fc regions and demonstrated that wild-type Fc is required for its activity and showed Fc-dependent potentiation of both primary human T and NK cells. CD96 is part of the CD226 axis which plays a role in regulating NK and T cells in tumor immunology.

Close of Emerging Targets and Therapeutic Approaches Conference19:00