Interactive Breakout Discussions

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. It will be followed by a refreshment break in the exhibit hall.

WEDNESDAY, 28 NOVEMBER, 14:50-16:00

Preclinical Models for Cancer Immunotherapy and Combinations

Preclinical Modeling and Combination Therapy Development: Models and Strategies


Sara Colombetti, PhD, Head of Oncology Discovery Pharmacology, Roche Innovation Center Zürich 

Michael Rugaard Jensen, PhD, Director, Head of ONC Discovery Pharmacology Basel, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research

  • Advantages and limitations of preclinical mouse models for immunotherapy evaluation
  • How can 3D models help drug discovery in cancer immunotherapy?
  • What other animal species, besides the mouse, could be evaluated for in vivo testing of cancer immunotherapies?
  • Combination therapy: preclinical considerations

Next Generation 3D Models and Co-Clinical Trials
Christian Schmees, PhD, Head of Tumor Biology, Molecular Biology Department, NMI Natural and Medical Sciences Institute at the University of Tübingen

  • Which approaches can be applied to better mimic in vivo physiology in 3D disease models?
  • iPSCs as a reproducible source for macrophages in 3D co-cultures.
  • Definition and control of comprehensive, international quality standards for patient-derived 3D models.
  • Medical informatics approaches to establish internal and external access points to clinical data and for data integration.
  • Application of 3D disease models in precision medicine approaches.
  • Optimizing Leads and Predicting Drug Toxicity

    Drug Bioactivation: The Good, The Bad and The UglyModerator:Axel Pähler, E.R.T., DMPK/PD Leader, Pharmaceutical Sciences (PS), Roche Pharmaceutical Research and Early Development, Roche Innovation Center

    • Bioactivation as a risk factor for drug induced toxicities such as DILI
    • Case studies of reactive metabolite formation linked to safety failures and key learnings
    • Bioactivation reactions that determine the pharmacological mode of action
    • Key learnings from old drugs and novel strategies to design selective new inhibitors for safe use

    Use of Modeling Tools and Strategies for Predicting ADME-Tox Properties

    Maria A. Miteva, PhD, Research Director, Molécules Thérapeutiques in silico (MTi), Inserm Institute

    • Machine-learning or structure-based approaches for ADME-Tox prediction and optimization?
    • Should the modeling tools for toxicity predicting be specific for xenobiotics and drugs?
    • Quantum-mechanics methods for drug metabolism prediction

    Target Identification & Validation Strategies

    CRISPR/Cas9 for Drug Discovery ApplicationsModerators:John Doench, PhD, Associate Director, Genetic Perturbation Platform, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT

    • Impact of CRISPR/Cas9 for drug discovery in pharma and academia
    • Applications for functional screens, creating cell lines and disease models
    • Design and optimization of low- and high-throughput screens using CRISPR approaches
    • Application of CRISPR-knockout, -activation and -inhibition
    • Impact of new CRISPR technologies and reagents

    Use of Chemical Biology and Chemical Probes in Drug DiscoveryModerator:Paul Brennan, PhD, Associate Professor, Medicinal Chemistry, University of Oxford and Principal Investigator, Target Discovery Institute, Structural Genomics Consortium

    • Main applications of Chemical Biology in Drug Discovery projects
    • When should Chemical Biology be used in Discovery programs?
    • Labelled and label-free proteomic techniques for target identification

    NASH and Fibrosis: Translational Research and Strategies

    Animal Models for FibrosisModerator:Bryan C. Fuchs, PhD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School

    • Who has used what?
    • Pros and cons of different models
    • What looks promising

    NASH Drug Development ChallengesModerator:Dean W. Hum, PhD, CSO, Genfit

    • Role of biomarkers
    • European v. FDA guidance
    • Defining target population

    THURSDAY, 29 NOVEMBER, 15:05-16:05

    3D Cellular Models

    Microphysiological Systems for Drug ScreeningModerator:Hansjoerg Keller, PhD, Sr. Investigator I, Musculoskeletal, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research

    • Key advantages over classical 2D cell culture models
    • Reliability and translatability of human systems
    • Applicability, throughput and cost effectiveness

    Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

    Human Pluripotent Stem Cells and Their Use as A Massive Platform for Organoid GenerationModerator:Nuria Montserrat, PhD, Group Leader, Pluripotency for organ regeneration, Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC)

    • How to benefit from bioengineering approaches in order to enhance organoid maturation/vascularization
    • Immediate applications from 3D bioprinting using organoids
    • Ethic issues related to the use of human pluripotent stem cells

    Translational Biomarkers in Immuno-Oncology

    Immunological Determinants of Response to Systemic Therapy In CancerModerators:Sofia Braga, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Instituto CUF Oncologia, NOVA Medical SchoolAbraham Silva Carmona, Pathologist, Definiens, Subsidiary of Medimmune/AstraZeneca

    • Neoplastic cell attributes: neoantigen load, mutational burden, mismatch repair deficient cells / high microsatelite instability 
    • Immune system attributes: baseline T cell infiltration; cytotoxic "antitumor" T cells, low tolerogenic T cells, PDL1, CD8, B2M; TCR sequencing; T cell clones; intact immunity
    • Translational biomarkers in pharma research: strategy and timeline

    Liquid Biopsy in IO researchModerator:Evi Lianidou, PhD, Professor of Clinical Chemistry, University of Athens

    • Tumor diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment
    • Blood tests / biomarkers
    • Mutational analysis of tumors and blood

    CNS Models and Translational Strategies

    Dish, Animal or Patient: How Can We Best Understand Neurodegenerative Disease?Moderator:Stuart W. Hughes, PhD, Director and Head of Pharmacology, Biological Sciences, Vertex Pharmaceuticals

    • Is failure in neurodegenerative diseases related to a focus on inappropriate models?
    • Can neurodegeneration truly be modeled in vitro?
    • Should we pursue the biology of causation or progression?
    • What does a ‘validate target’ mean when it comes to neurodegenerative diseases?

    Should a Robust Translational Path from Animals to Humans be Required to Advance a Compound?Moderator:William Z. Potter, MD, PhD, Senior Advisor, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health (NIH)

    • Should a biomarker of drug effect in human brain always be required  to advance a novel compound into efficacy studies
    • Does there need to be preclinical data with a homologous biomarkers (e.g. fMRI for both animals and humans)?
    • If not, what constitutes adequate evidence that some brain effect observed in animals is occurring in humans?
    • Given clinical need are there arguments to advance compounds with some biomarker of acute effect?