SPEAKERS
December 2021 Meeting

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CHRISTIANA BARDON

Co-Managing Partner of BioImpact Capital

Director, MPM Oncology Impact Funds

Dr. Christiana (Chris) Bardon is Co-Managing Partner of BioImpact Capital, an affiliate manager of MPM and leads MPM’s public market investing as portfolio manager for BioImpact Equities (f/k/a Burrage Capital) and the Oncology Impact Funds.

Previously, Chris was a health care analyst at Fidelity Investments covering biotechnology, life-science tools and diagnostics, and she started her career as an analyst at MPM. She currently serves on the Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows and is a Trustee of the American Association for Cancer Research Foundation.

Chris earned her M.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School and her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. While at Harvard Medical School, she was the recipient of a Howard Hughes fellowship, and she completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School. She received her M.S./B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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RONALD DEPINHO

Immediate Past President, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Dr. Ronald A. DePinho, distinguished university professor and past president at MD Anderson Cancer Center, is an internationally known and respected leader recognized for discoveries in cancer, aging and neurodegeneration. His pioneering work and collaborative initiatives have increased the understanding and importance of cancer prevention, improved cancer patient care and brought forward new drugs to help patients.

Driven by the loss of his father to cancer, DePinho has devoted his life to reducing the burden of cancer, particularly for the underserved. With a medical, clinical and scientific research career spanning decades, Dr. DePinho served with distinction as MD Anderson’s fourth president from 2011 to 2017. During his tenure as president, he dramatically expanded research programs, recruited world-class faculty including its first Nobel Prize winner, modernized its translational and digital research infrastructure, secured record philanthropy and clinical revenue, and expanded MD Anderson’s global network to 34 institutions in 24 countries, enabling knowledge dissemination to one-third of the global population.

 

Ron is currently a faculty member in the Department of Cancer Biology at MD Anderson where he leads a research lab pushing the frontiers of science. He has returned to his entrepreneurial roots, launching new biotech companies developing critical drugs for patients in need, and is building a global, systems-level approach to making disease prevention a reality for the next generation by engaging youth, harnessing innovation, helping convene and coordinate, and providing data-driven strategies in last-mile geographies. Ron is also co-founder and chairman of Opa Health.

 

Dr. DePinho studied biology at Fordham University, where he graduated class salutatorian. He received his M.D. with distinction in microbiology and immunology from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He performed his residency and postdoctoral training at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. DePinho’s independent career began at Einstein as the Feinberg Senior Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research and an American Cancer Society Research Professor. He then joined the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, where he was the founding director of the Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science and professor of medicine and genetics at Harvard. He is a prolific author of over 400 published articles, books and chapters.

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STEVEN M. FERGUSON, CLP
Deputy Director and Chair, Licensing and Entrepreneurship, NCI

Steven M. Ferguson currently serves as the Deputy Director, Licensing and Entrepreneurship. Prior to joining NIH Office of Technology Transfer in 1990, Mr. Ferguson served in marketing and management positions in biomedical firms subsequent to being a scientist at the National Cancer Institute. His healthcare experience has also included work as Director of Marketing and Public Relations for a rural 70-bed hospital. Registered to practice before the USPTO and a Certified Licensing Professional (CLP), Mr. Ferguson also holds Master's Degrees in Business Administration (George Washington University) and Chemistry (University of Cincinnati) as well as Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry (Case Western Reserve University). Mr. Ferguson has been an economic reviewer for Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) as well as the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) grant programs and is an instructor for both the USDA Graduate School and the NIH FAES Graduate School where he is also the department chair for the new Certificate in Technology Transfer Program. Mr. Ferguson was also the Susan T. and Charles E. Harris Visiting Lecturer at the Watson School of Biological Sciences at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and has published articles on licensing and technology transfer issues.

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PHIL FRIEDLANDER

Professor, Medicine, Hematology, Dermatology and Medical Oncology, Mt. Sinai

Topic: TILs and Iovance Data

Dr. Friedlander received medical school training at Columbia University where he obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. degree in  Biology. He remained at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center to complete his postdoctoral training in Internal Medicine and subsequently completed a clinical fellowship in Medical Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He then joined the faculty of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women’s Hospital as an attending physician within the Melanoma and Cutaneous Oncology Programs and as an Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  

His clinical interests include the development of targeted therapies and immunotherapies for patients with melanoma, merkel cell carcinoma, advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and sebaceous gland tumors.  At the Dana Farber Cancer Institute he acted as a principal investigator testing novel therapeutic approaches for melanoma including PARP inhibition, hsp90 inhibition, anti-apoptotic approaches, and immune modulatory and anti-CTLA4 based strategies. He investigated in non-melanoma skin cancers novel therapeutic strategies such as hedgehog signaling pathway inhibition in advanced basal cell carcinoma.  

 

As a member of the Division of Hematology/Medical Oncology and as the Director of the Melanoma Medical Oncology Program at Mount Sinai, he will be caring for patients with cutaneous malignancies and continue working to develop collaborative translational and basic science  projects  and treatments for patients with cutaneous malignancies.  

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ABE HEIFETS

CEO, Atomwise

Dr. Abraham Heifets is CEO and Co-Founder of Atomwise, where he and Co-Founder Dr. Izhar Wallach invented the use of deep convolutional neural networks for drug discovery. Dr. Heifets was a Massey Fellow at the University of Toronto—a center for AI innovation—and a Fellow of the Ontario Brain Institute. His doctoral work applied machine learning and classical AI techniques to organic synthesis planning, a long-standing challenge in chemistry. His vision of AI bringing better, safer and more potent drugs to patients was recently featured in the July 2019 Moonshot issue of Newsweek. Dr. Heifets is a thought-leader on the use of AI for drug discovery and is an author on 24 papers, patents and patent applications. Dr. Heifets has presented his work to the U.S. GAO, the National Institutes of Health, the American Chemical Society, and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.

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ROY HERBST

Chief Medical Oncology, Yale

Former Director, Yale Cancer Center

Dr. Herbst is nationally recognized for his leadership and expertise in lung cancer treatment and research. He is best known for his work in developmental therapeutics and the personalized therapy of non-small cell lung cancer, in particular the process of linking genetic abnormalities of cancer cells to novel therapies.

Prior to his appointment at Yale, Dr. Herbst was the Barnhart Distinguished Professor and Chief of the Section of Thoracic Medical Oncology in the Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology, at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (UT-MDACC) in Houston, Texas. He also served as Professor in the Department of Cancer Biology and Co-Director of the Phase I Clinical Trials Program.

Dr. Herbst’s primary mission is the enhanced integration of clinical, laboratory, and research programs. He has worked over several decades as a pioneer of personalized medicine and immunotherapy to identify biomarkers and bring novel targeted treatments and immunotherapies to patients, serving as principal investigator for numerous clinical trials testing these agents in advanced stage lung cancers. This work led to the approval of several therapies (such as gefitinib, cetuximab, bevacizumab, axitinib), which have revolutionized the field and greatly enhanced patient survival. He and his Yale colleagues were among the first to describe the PD-1/PD-L1 adaptive immune response in early phase trials and to offer trials of PD-L1 inhibitors atezolizumab and pembrolizumab to lung cancer patients. His leadership in targeted therapeutics resulted in a 2020 ASCO plenary talk and publication of results of the third-generation EGFR-inhibitor osimertinib for the treatment of resected EGFR-mutant NSCLC in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In 2015 and again in 2020, his team at Yale was awarded a Lung Cancer SPORE (P50 grant) by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which has identified new immunotherapies and mechanisms of sensitivity and resistance to EGFR targeted therapies. His work has also been funded by ASCO, AACR, the United States Department of Defense, and by a AACR/ Stand Up to Cancer Dream Team grant.

His work on "umbrella” trials has galvanized the field of targeted therapy and cancer drug approvals at the FDA. Nationally, he works closely with public-private partnerships to develop large master protocol clinical studies. He was co-leader for the BATTLE-1 clinical trial program, co-leads the subsequent BATTLE-2 clinical trial program. and is principal investigator (PI) of the Lung Master Protocol (Lung-MAP). He testified on this before the House of Representatives 21st Century Cures committee and served as a prominent figure in this area, for nine years as a member of the National Academy of Medicine’s Cancer Policy Forum, for which he organized several meetings focused on policy issues in personalized medicine and tobacco control. He is currently the Vice Chair for Developmental Therapeutics for the Southwestern Oncology Group (SWOG) Lung Committee and PI of the SWOG 0819 trial.

After earning a B.S. and M.S. degree from Yale University, Dr. Herbst earned his M.D. at Cornell University Medical College and his Ph.D. in molecular cell biology at The Rockefeller University in New York City, New York. His postgraduate training included an internship and residency in medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. His clinical fellowships in medicine and hematology were completed at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, respectively. Subsequently, Dr. Herbst completed a M.S. degree in clinical translational research at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Dr. Herbst is a highly respected clinician­ scientist who has been a champion of translational medicine for decades, recently authoring a high-profile review of the 20-year progress in lung cancer. He has authored or co-authored more than 350 publications, including peer-reviewed journal articles, abstracts, and book chapters. His work has appeared in many prominent journals, such as the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Clinical Cancer Research, Lancet, and the New England Journal of Medicine. Work published in Nature was awarded the 2015 Herbert Pardes Clinical Research Excellence Award by the Clinical Research Forum. His abstracts have been presented at the annual meetings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the World Conference on Lung Cancer, the Society of Nuclear Medicine Conference, and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer.

 

He is a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and a member of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), where he serves as an elected member of its board of directors and chairs the Tobacco Task Force. He has been a major proponent of efforts to promote tobacco control and regulation (including e-cigarettes), authoring multiple policy statements and leading frequent Capitol Hill briefings. In 2019 he was elected to the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) board of directors. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and an elected member of the Association of American Physicians. He is vice chair of the Southwestern Oncology Group’s (SWOG) Lung Committee.

For his lifetime achievement in scientific contributions to thoracic cancer research, Dr. Herbst was awarded the 2016 Paul A. Bunn, Jr. Scientific Award by the IASLC at their 17th World Conference on Lung Cancer in Vienna, Austria. A team of Yale Cancer Center investigators led by Roy S. Herbst, MD, PhD, was awarded the 2018 Team Science Award from the Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS) for its pioneering work in advancing our understanding of Immunotherapy. In 2020, Dr. Herbst was awarded the AACR Distinguished Public Service Award for Exceptional Leadership in Cancer Science Policy.

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DR. BRIAN LEYLAND JONES
Former Director of Emory and McGill Cancer Centers
CMO National Foundation for Cancer Research
Chief Science Officer, The Darwin Foundation

Brian Leyland-Jones, BSc (Ist class Hons), MB BS, PhD, FRACP, FRCPC is the Chief Medical Officer and Scientific Advisory Board Member for the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) and Chief Scientific Officer of The Darwin Foundation.   He also serves as the Chief Medical Officer of OTraces, Xylonix and the N OF 1 Mission, collectively devoted to the implementation of prevention and cure of malignancy globally.  He sits on several national and international boards including the Asian Foundation for Cancer Research (AFCR), NED Biosystems, Non-Pareil, Ratio and is Director Emeritus for the WIN Consortium.  He founded Xanthus, AKESOgen and Viviphi.

Dr.  Leyland-Jones holds biochemistry, medical, and doctoral degrees from the University of London. Following residency training at Hammersmith, Brompton, St. Bartholomew’s and London hospitals, he completed a clinical pharmacology fellowship at Cornell University and a medical oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He then joined the academic staff at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and New York Hospitals with a special research interest in Early Phase clinical, clinical pharmacological and biomarker evaluation of many anticancer compounds, including the platinums and anthracycline analogs in use today. In 1983, he moved to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to head the Developmental Chemotherapy section. During his time with the NCI, he was responsible for the overall development of approximately 70 anti-cancer compounds in various stages of transition from in-vitro screening to Phase III clinical trials, including overseeing the early development of paclitaxel in Phase 1 and 2 trials. From 1990 to 2000, he served as founding chair of Oncology and director of the McGill University Comprehensive Cancer Centre. He recruited and built a broad multifaceted cancer centre, including a robust cross-hospital clinical trials enterprise, with deep clinical pharmacologic and biomarker support. Dr. Leyland-Jones continued as the Minda de Gunzberg Chair in Oncology and professor of medicine at McGill University in Montreal, Canada for 7 additional years, focusing on the development and biomarker strategies of several of the new targeted oncologic agents.

He joined Emory University in 2007. As Director of the Winship Cancer Centre and Associate Vice-President of Health Sciences, Dr. Leyland-Jones lead the Centre to obtain National Cancer Institute Cancer Centre Designation, the first in the State of Georgia, and for the first time in 30 years.  Dr. Leyland-Jones was instrumental in building the Genomics Medicine Program at the Avera Cancer Institute in Sioux Falls, SD where he was the Vice President of Molecular and Experimental Medicine from 2014-2019.   Dr. Leyland-Jones’ principal academic contributions have been in the fields of anticancer therapy development, the pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacogenetics of oncological clinical trials, the translation of preclinical models into the clinic, biomarker endpoints in Phase I/II clinical trials, and screening and mechanistic studies of novel targeted and chemotherapeutic anticancer agents.

Dr. Leyland-Jones is the recipient of numerous research grants, and has served as principal, co-principal and co-investigator on more than 100 clinical studies. He has authored and co-authored more than 210 peer-reviewed articles and book contributions, 25 books and book chapters, 425 abstracts and 35 patents.  He has a robust speaking and private consulting practice that takes him all over the world.

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CORRIE PAINTER, PHD
Associate Director, Broad Institute

Associate Director, Count Me In

Corrie Painter is the associate director of operations and scientific outreach in the Cancer Program of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. She leads the Angiosarcoma Project, a nationwide direct-to-patient genomics initiative aimed at generating the genomic landscape of this orphan disease, and she is working to build scientific resources to enable broad-scale rare cancer research across many indications. A trained cancer researcher with a Ph.D. in biochemistry, Painter serves as the associate director of Count Me In, which launches patient-driven research projects across multiple cancer types. In this role, she partners with advocacy groups and engages patients with metastatic breast cancer, angiosarcoma, and other cancers through social media in order to carry out the Metastatic Breast Cancer Project, the Angiosarcoma Project, and other patient-driven genomic initiatives where patients can consent online to donate their stored tumor samples, saliva samples, medical records, and their voices in order to directly accelerate the pace of discovery. These efforts can be followed on Twitter @MBC_project@ASCaProject, and @Corrie_Painter, and on Facebook, the Metastatic Breast Cancer Project and the Angiosarcoma Project Working Group.

Prior to joining the Broad Institute in 2015, Painter was vice president and cofounder of Angiosarcoma

 

Awareness Inc., a nonprofit devoted to fostering a collaborative atmosphere between researchers in order to generate data and reagents that can be shared by the sarcoma community as a whole. She continues in this role alongside her work at the Broad Institute.

Painter obtained her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and completed her postdoc in cancer immunology at UMass Medical School’s Cancer Research Institute.

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MICHAEL L. SALGALLER, PHD
Director Invention Development and Marketing Unit (IDMU), NCI

Dr. Michael Salgaller leads the Invention Development and Marketing Unit (IDMU) within the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) Technology Transfer Center, where he leverages over 20 years of business, scientific, and investment experience in various life science sectors to support technology development and commercialization. The IDMU serves in a business development role to foster licensing and collaborative activity between buy-side stakeholders and the NCI (as well as NIH in general). Immediately prior to returning to the NCI, Michael was a Vice President at The Conafay Group, a healthcare-focused government affairs firm in downtown DC, where he led alliance development activities centered on civilian health. He served as President of Biologics Consulting Group, a boutique firm providing professional services focused on regulatory affairs. Michael spent several years on the investment team of an early-stage venture capital firm dedicated to the life sciences. He began his buy-side career as Vice President of R&D for Northwest Biotherapeutics, where he led the development of cancer cell therapies that achieved clinical benefit. He began his career as a Senior Scientist with Dr. Steve Rosenberg at the NCI. He is the author of “Biotechnology Entrepreneurship,” and teaches an entrepreneurship class at NIH. He is on the Board of Canines-N-Kids, a foundation supporting cooperation between researchers in pediatric and veterinary oncology. He has written over 70 scientific/business articles and book chapters. Dr. Salgaller received his PhD in Pathology from The Ohio State University.

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DR. ALFRED SLANETZ

CEO, Geneius Biotechnology

Former CEO, Bluebird Bio

Former Head of Product Development, Genetech

Dr. Slanetz is the founder of Geneius Biotechnology and has been President, Chief Executive Officer and a director of the Company full time since its inception. Prior to co-founding the Company, he served as Chief Executive Officer and President of Bluebird Bio.

 

Dr. Slanetz also served as Vice President, Business Development of TRANSGENE in May 1996. From 1994 to 1996, he served as Manager, New Product Planning and Development at Genentech Inc. Prior to that, Dr. Slanetz was a Management Consultant for Arthur D. Little.

 

He received his Ph.D. in Molecular and Immunobiology from Yale University, as well as a Masters from Brown University.

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WEI ZHANG

Director of Cancer Genomics and Precision Oncology, Wake Forest University

Dr. Zhang joined the faculty of The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in 1994 and has been a Professor in Pathology and Cancer Biology in the Department of Pathology and at The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. In 2016, he joined the Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center as the inaugural Hanes and Willis Family Professor in Cancer. Dr. Zhang was the director of M. D. Anderson Cancer Center’s Cancer Genomics Core Laboratory since 1999. Dr. Zhang has published more than 340 peer-reviewed papers, 7 invited articles, and 21 book chapters. His publications have been cited for >20,000 times based on Google Scholar. Dr. Zhang co-edited two books and co-authored one book. Dr. Zhang has served on the editorial boards of 14 journals including Clinical Cancer Research, International Journal of Oncology, BMC Genomics, Cancer Biology and Therapy, Cancer Letters and Chinese Journal of Cancer. Dr. Zhang’s research has been supported by grants from NCI/NIH, DOD, and foundations including Goldhirsh Foundation, James S. McDonald Foundation. He is the Director of the Center in Cancer Systems Informatics funded by the National Foundation of Cancer Research. Dr. Zhang is a co-director of one of seven Genome Data Analysis Centers (GDAC) under the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project funded by NCI. Dr. Zhang has served on many grant review panels both at NIH and other funding agencies. Dr. Zhang was a chartered member of NIH Cancer Genetics Study Section and has reviewed 300 NIH grants.

Dr. Zhang chaired the international steering committee for the Tumor Tissue Bank at the Tianjin Cancer Institute and Hospital for 9 years. Dr. Zhang served as the President from 2010-2013 of the US Chinese Anti-Cancer Association (USCACA) and is currently the Chairman of the Board of USCACA. He has been serving on the organization committee of the AACR symposium in Shanghai.