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T-Cell Therapies: Best Bets in Pushing Down the Cost Curve and Prioritizing Cancer Targets

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. - 9:55 a.m. | Twin Peaks North/South

New approaches in cancer immunology are achieving promising early-stage results through novel techniques for arming the body’s own T cells to have greater impact on reducing tumors and preventing the spread of disease. CAR-T methods that extract, reengineer, and reintroduce a given patient’s T cells provide highly personalized therapy but may be difficult to scale up. The interleukin enhancement approach motivates existing T cells to be more effective and may be easier to deliver but have less pervasive effects. Early signs also suggest significant side-effect risks that will need to be understood and reduced for T-cell therapies to progress to commercialization. This panel will review priorities in the field for tailoring T-cell approaches to different cancer types and improving therapy efficiencies.


  • Kristen Hege, MD, San Francisco Site Head, VP Translational Development, Hematology and Oncology, Celgene; Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco


  • David D. Chang, MD, PhD, EVP Research and Development, Chief Medical Officer, Kite Pharma
  • Jonathan Lewis, MD, PhD, CEO and Director, ZIOPHARM Oncology
  • Richard Morgan, PhD, Vice President, Immunotherapy, bluebird bio
  • Timothy C. Rodell, MD, President and CEO and President, GlobeImmune


Gene Therapy Ascending? Today’s Advancements Over Past Hurdles

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 | 10:30 a.m. - 11:25 a.m. | Twin Peaks North/South

Since the great excitements and disappointments of gene therapy’s first clinical era, the 1990s, researchers have revised traditional approaches and developed innovative new techniques, including CRISPR/cas-9, to edit genes with greater speed and precision than ever before.  Across a wide range of diseases, gene therapy is showing traction with fresh clinical results and attracting more than $600 million in venture capital in the past two years.  However, real challenges remain in delivery of therapies in sufficient concentrations to achieve lasting results without introducing harmful complications.  This panel will discuss the variety of strategies companies are employing to reduce risks and improve patient outcomes. 


  • Eli A. Loots, PhD, Partner, Knobbe Martens


  • Katrine Bosley, CEO, Editas Medicine
  • Thomas W. Chalberg, Jr., PhD, Founder and CEO, Avalanche Biotechnologies
  • Harry E. Gruber, MD, Chairman, CEO and President, Tocagen


Electroceuticals and Digital Drug Delivery: Neurological Stimulation and Beyond

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. - 9:55 a.m. | Twin Peaks North/ South

Some of the most experienced executives in biotechnology have begun asking themselves, “Can we foresee the day of diminishing returns from research in traditional molecular biology?” These researchers are investigating alternative modalities of providing therapy that would combine electronic sensing with drug delivery or even stimulating the body through electricity alone to produce a desired response. These “electroceutical,” or “bioelectronics,” approaches have produced exciting results in early clinical trials, particularly related to insulin control and pain management. These innovative approaches suggest opportunities to rejuvenate past drug candidates that might show more effectiveness through the introduction of implantable electronic sensors combined with injectors. Marrying the fast-cycle nature of the electronics industry with the deliberate approach of clinical trials involves risks in execution but great potential returns. A recent National Institutes of Health announcement to create a $248 million fund to support research in electroceuticals endorses the hope in this integrative approach.


  • Scott Smith, Managing Director, Director of Life Sciences Investment Banking, Wedbush


  • Cheryl R. Blanchard, PhD, CEO, MicroCHIPS
  • Juan-Pablo Mas, Partner, Action Potential Venture Capital
  • Martha J. Morrell, MD, Chief Medical Officer, NeuroPace