Nektar Therapeutics is a research-based development stage biopharmaceutical company that discovers and develops innovative medicines in areas of high unmet medical need. Our R&D pipeline of new investigational drugs includes treatments for cancer and auto-immune disease. We leverage Nektar’s proprietary and proven chemistry platform in the discovery and design of our new drug candidates.
Our success is rooted in four key elements:
Our track record reflected by a portfolio of successful approved medicines which emanated from our chemistry platform and are made available globally by our pharmaceutical partners
Our unique research and development pipeline of new investigational medicines in cancer and immunology
Our proprietary and proven science and technology approach that fuels our discovery efforts
Our team of dedicated scientists, clinicians and employees focused on bringing new medicines to patients with debilitating diseases
Join the leading experts from pharma, biotech and academia in discussions that are set to drive the industry forward. Alongside the largest companies and most respected organizations in this space, be a part of the conversations set to catalyze the industry and realise the full potential of Next-Generation Cytokine Therapeutics.
Bringing together the leading stakeholders to accelerate the next generation of cytokine therapeutics connects leading biotech’s, large pharma, academics and solution-providers to accelerate this revived class of drugs from discovery, through the clinic, and eventually to patients in need. Create connections with others in the industry for collaboration, investment and unparalleled innovation.
Dive into the latest cutting edge research, with an end-to-end learning experience, covering everything from early drug discovery, R&D strategies, new technologies and novel engineering approaches being investigated to utilize key cytokines as therapeutics.
With numerous immunotherapies exploiting cytokines coming down the pipeline, the timing of the Next-Gen Cytokine Therapeutics Summit is ideal and warranted. This event provides the opportunity for those who have pioneered the space and also the newcomers in the industry to get together and learn more about this dynamic and exciting field.
Cytokines are powerful tools given by Nature for us to modulate immune systems in a disease setting. However, development of cytokine therapeutics have often been hindered by the “cytokine sink” problem, a short PK, and a narrow therapeutic window. This conference brings together the players who are making break-through technology innovations to overcome one or more of the challenges. We look forward to sharing the experience and exchanging ideas in developing the next-gen cytokine therapeutics which have significantly improved therapeutic windows.
Modulating cytokine signalling is proving to be a powerful strategy for treating complex and serious diseases. The major breakthroughs of the future will require innovative new strategies like protein design to address long-standing challenges.
The Next-Gen Cytokine Therapeutics Summit is a perfect event to bring together innovators and thought leaders in this rapidly-evolving field.It will undoubtedly be full of rich, generative, and thought-provoking discussions that will lay the groundwork for the cytokine therapeutics of tomorrow.
With several new and exciting cytokine programs in early-stage development, but many challenges ahead, The Next-Gen Cytokine Therapeutics Summit is certain to be an invaluable event for both experts in the field and newcomers alike.
Willem Overwijk, PhD received his MS in Medical Biology from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, trained at the Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD and received his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the George Washington University in Washington, DC. He completed his postgraduate training at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam before accepting a faculty position at MD Anderson Cancer Center where he focused on translational research in Immuno-Oncology. In 2018 he joined Nektar Therapeutics in San Francisco as vice president of oncology research to continue working on bringing novel agents in Immuno-Oncology to patients.
Dr Fahar Merchant, is a 30 year biotech veteran, with a track record of building successful private and publicly listed biopharmaceutical companies. He is a co-founder, President and CEO of Medicenna Therapeutics, a clinical stage immunotherapy company developing novel, IL-2, IL-4 and IL-13 Superkines and Empowered Cytokines. Fahar studied at Aston and Birmingham Universities before completing a PhD in Biochemical Engineering at Western University.
Dr. Jamie Spangler earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and went on to earn a Ph.D. in Biological Engineering at MIT. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University School of Medicine, Dr. Spangler launched her independent research group at Johns Hopkins University in July 2017, jointly between the departments of Biomedical Engineering and Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering. Her lab, located in the Translational Tissue Engineering Center at the School of Medicine, applies structural and mechanistic insights to re-engineer existing proteins and design new proteins that therapeutically modulate the immune response. In particular, her group is interested in engineering immune molecules such as cytokines, growth factors, and antibodies for targeted treatment of diseases such as cancer and autoimmune disorders.
Dr. Muhsin is an accomplished industry leader with more than 20 years of experience in medical practice and drug development and has an outstanding track record of innovation in oncology and immuno-oncology trial design. He has considerable talent in building clinical development and science departments and advancing the strategic vision needed to prioritize, build and expand successful oncology clinical programs. Dr. Muhsin started his clinical research career at PICR phase I unit, where he conducted more than 17 clinical trials for international sponsors including AstraZeneca, Hoffmann La Roche, Merck, Novartis, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, and Bayer in the field of internal medicine prior to leading early clinical development programs at Janssen. Dr. Muhsin has also designed and executed early and late stage oncology trials for companies such as Oncosec, Halozyme Therapeutics, HUYA Bioscience and most recently at Nektar Therapeutics where he led the Phase 3 PIVOT-12 trial (pegylated IL-2, bempegaldesleukin, a pegylated IL-2 in combination with nivolumab) and global product strategy for NKTR-262 (a TLR 7/8 agonist). Furthermore, Mann has extensive experience with interleukins such as IL-2, IL-12, and pegylated IL-2, across multiple tumor types, is a global thought leader in immuno-oncology and the tumor microenvironment, and has authored dozens of publications, book chapters, and presentations globally. Dr. Muhsin received his doctorate of medicine MBChB (MD) and internal medicine training from Baghdad University School of Medicine prior to practicing medicine, civilian and at the US Army Medical Corps Combat Support Hospitals (CSH).
Carl brings scientific, product, and business development experience spanning multiple industries. Prior to co-founding Neoleukin Therapeutics, he was a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Protein Design, where he led projects focused on the application of computational protein design to address unmet needs in oncology and autoimmunity. Dr. Walkey received his PhD from the University of Toronto, where he applied machine learning to develop enhanced nanomedicines for drug delivery and vaccine development.
Randi Isaacs, M.D. is Chief Medical Officer of Werewolf Therapeutics, Inc., an innovative biopharmaceutical company pioneering the development of therapeutics engineered to stimulate the body’s immune system for the treatment of cancer.
Dr. Isaacs is a veteran hematologist and oncologist focused on discovery and development of novel therapeutic approaches in oncology, specializing in immunotherapy, biologic agents, and cell therapies for the treatment of solid tumors and hematologic malignancies. She has devoted her career to bringing new therapeutics to cancer patients to improve clinical outcomes and has made contributions to several successfully registered drugs.
Dr. Isaacs has more than 20 years’ experience in clinical and translational oncology drug development, most recently as the Executive Director and Clinical Site Head of Translational Clinical Oncology at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR). She previously held executive leadership roles in oncology and clinical development at Merck, Schering Plough, and Sandoz, where she led projects in all phases of clinical research and supported business development and licensing.
Prior to transitioning to biopharma, Dr. Isaacs held various academic appointments including Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the State University of New York Health Sciences Center and Clinical Assistant Professor of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Dr. Isaacs earned her B.A. in Chemistry from Wellesley College and holds an M.D. from Dartmouth Medical School. She completed her residency and postdoctoral training at the University of California San Francisco and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center respectively.
Dr. Jon Wigginton currently serves as Chief Medical Officer of Cullinan Oncology, and an advisor at MPM Capital in Cambridge, MA. Previously, Jon served as the CMO at MacroGenics (NASDAQ:MGNX), where he led the company’s evolution of a fully-integrated, clinical-stage cancer immunotherapy organization. This included the translation of ten new molecules into the clinic, including early phase and/or proof-of-concept studies with bispecific molecules, checkpoint inhibitors, Fc-optimized antibodies and antibody drug conjugates, as well as the design and execution of registration-directed studies. Previously, he served as the Therapeutic Area Head, Immuno-Oncology, Early Clinical Research at Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY). There, he oversaw early clinical development of the BMS Immuno-Oncology portfolio including anti-PD-1, anti-PD-L1 and the anti-PD-1/anti-CTLA-4 combination program among others. He also co-led the BMS International Immuno-Oncology Network.
During his academic career, Jon served as Head of the Investigational Biologics Section, Center for Cancer Research, NCI, where he led an integrated basic, translational and clinical research effort focused on combination immunotherapy in preclinical models and early clinical studies. He also served previously as president of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC).
Jon received his M.D. and B.S. in Biology, with distinction, from the University of Michigan.
Dr. Sachse holds a degree in medicine and a board certification in Clinical Pharmacology. With more than 25 years experience as a physician and scientist, he has extensive expertise in a variety of different therapeutic areas with a special focus on oncology. In addition to registration studies, he is especially experienced in the design and implementation of translational programs to bridge research programs to the clinic, as well as in the design and implementation of clinical pharmacology programs, enabling successful registration of products at the international level. He has broad general management experience with a focus on leading high performing organizations and change management
Dr. Yuefeng Lu is cofounder of Askgene. Since 2013, he has been the Chief Scientific Officer and leading the drug discovery and CMC efforts at AskGene. Prior to AskGene, Dr. Lu spent over 10 years as Principal Scientist at Amgen, where he had led process teams and tech transfer teams, and carried out process development, pivotal and commercial tech transfer and manufacturing support for several recombinant antibodies and fusion proteins. Dr. Lu received his B.S. degree in Biology from Peking University, and his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry from University of Minnesota. He completed his post-doctoral training in Cancer Biology at Stanford University. Dr. Lu is the co-inventor of over a dozen issued patents and pending patent applications.
Cynthia Seidel-Dugan, Ph.D. is Chief Scientific Officer of Werewolf Therapeutics, Inc., an innovative biopharmaceutical company pioneering the development of therapeutics engineered to stimulate the body’s immune system for the treatment of cancer.
Dr. Seidel-Dugan is a successful drug discovery scientist with broad experience across small and large biotech and major pharmaceutical companies. Prior to joining Werewolf, Dr. Seidel-Dugan was part of the original team of Potenza Therapeutics, rising from Vice President to Senior Vice President of Research and ultimately CSO prior to the company’s acquisition by Astellas Pharma in 2018. She also contributed in the start-up of Tizona Therapeutics and Trieza Therapeutics. Previously, Dr. Seidel-Dugan served as Vice President, Biology for CoStim Pharmaceuticals where she built a pipeline of therapeutic antibodies targeting immunologic costimulatory receptors, forming the basis for the company’s acquisition by Novartis in 2014.
Dr. Seidel-Dugan built a strong reputation as a research leader and small- and large molecule drug developer over two decades at Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Exelixis Pharmaceuticals, Schering-Plough Research Institute, and (upon merger) Merck Research Laboratories.
Dr. Seidel-Dugan earned a B.S. in Biology from the College of William and Mary, and holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Joan Brugge at UPenn.
Dr. Natalia Malkova earned a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology at Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology,
Russian Academy of Sciences. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship with the laboratory of Dr. Paul
Patterson, Division of Biology and Biological Engineering at the California Institute of Technology in
Pasadena, CA and becoming a staff scientist with the laboratory, Dr. Malkova entered industry. She led
the in vivo pharmacology team at Sanofi for 5 years, supporting pre-clinical development of biologics,
RNA therapeutics, and small molecules for oncology. Dr. Malkova joined Xilio Therapeutics in 2021 as
director of in vivo pharmacology, developing novel tumor-selective immunotherapies.
David Bechard, Ph.D. is an entrepreneur in Oncology and Immunotherapy. He founded Cytune Pharma in 2008 where he has been instrumental as CEO and CSO to drive all R&D and corporate activities. The company was sold to the Czech PPF Group in 2018. David is also managing Newton Partners, a family office dedicated to build and finance new company ventures in Healthcare, especially Immunology. He founded his first company, Endotis Pharma, in 2003 and secured financings with an internationally-recognized leader in VC. He began his career as a strategy consultant at OC&C Strategy in Paris in 2000. He conducted his Ph.D. research in Immunology and Biological Engineering at Institute Pasteur of Lille and then post-graduated in finance at HEC Business School in Paris.
Dafne Müller received her doctoral degree from the University of Stuttgart in Germany. At the present she holds a group leader/lecturer position at the department of Biomedical Engineering at the Institute of Cell Biology and Immunology of the University of Stuttgart. Working in the field of recombinant antibodies for over 15 years, her current research focuses on the development of recombinant antibody-fusion proteins with immune stimulatory or costimulatory properties for targeted cancer immunotherapy
Naveen Mehta is Director of Preclinical Research and Development at Cullinan Oncology, where he has been for the past two years. Prior to his time at Cullinan, Naveen completed his PhD at MIT in the department of Biological Engineering, where he worked with Profs. Darrell Irvine and Dane Wittrup to engineer potent lymph node-targeted protein-based vaccines. This work has thus far contributed to ten academic papers and patented technology.
After graduating from medical school from the Universidad Central del Este, I attended the University of Miami as a post-doctoral fellow at the Sylvester Cancer center where my focus was on clinical research in GI and GU tumors. I then began my career in drug development in 2011 at IMCLONE/Eli Lilly as Senior Medical director where after a successful ODAC my team achieved an FDA approval in Squamous NSCLC. I joined Merck in 2014 as a Senior Medical director and lead multiple trials in the area of GI, CRC and MSI-H tumors. I supported the rest of the World regulatory filings for MSI-H agnostic and also lead multiple collaborations with AztraZenca and Eisai in combinations trials with pembrolizumab. Most recently I joined Alkermes in 2021 as Executive Medical Director supporting Nemvaleukin and early pipeline assets.
Dr. Dougan is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and is the Director of the Immunotherapy Mucosal Toxicities Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. He received his MD and PhD from Harvard Medical School, completing his dissertation work in Immunology with Dr. Glenn Dranoff at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Dougan’s research focuses on the balance between protective antitumor immunity and immune toxicities. His lab aims to develop novel immunotherapies with conditional activity to reduce toxicity, and to translate findings from a detailed analysis of the immune mechanisms driving immunotherapy toxicities into novel treatment strategies for them.
After earning his Bachelor’s Degree from Menlo College, John received a MS from Stanford University
and both a MS and PhD from MD Anderson Cancer Center where he discovered that IL-10 directly
activates anti-tumor CD8+ T cells. John conducted post-doctoral work for a year at DNAX Research
Institute and became a Scientist at Schering Plough where he developed PEGylated IL-10 (AM0010) as an
immunoncology asset. He then founded Targenics, later merged with ARMO BioSciences (briefly a
publicly traded company), to clinically develop AM0010 and other immune oncology assets. ARMO
BioSciences was acquired by Eli Lilly in 2018 for $1.6B up front deal. As a founder and Senior Director of
Technical Operations at ARMO, John led the manufacturing and pre-clinical research teams.
John served as the Director of Immunoncology R&D at Medimmune LLC and is the author of 28 peer
reviewed manuscripts and 22 granted or pending patents. After reviewing the immunoncology space for
the last two years at MedImmune and developing such diverse projects as innate and T cell agonists,
CART and other cell therapy projects as well as novel immunostimulatory antibody drug conjugates,
John has most recently founded Deka Biosciences, a next generation cytokine development company.
With the most recent failures of all the T cell agonists, and the development and functional challenges
with cell therapy programs, it is likely that novel cytokines and delivery modalities coupled with
precision patient selection will be clear value drivers for the pharmaceutical industry for years to come.
Digital Conference Platform
The Digital conference platform is purpose-built to enable us to provide you with a more personal experience.
For starters, no more wondering who is in the room! View and message the entire attendee list. If that’s not enough, there are a multitude of structured and unstructured networking opportunities to give you the chance to reconnect with old friends and meet your future collaborators.
Then there’s the learning. Through an engaging and interactive agenda, you will be able to actively or passively participate as much as you’d like. From polls and Q&A through to case studies and dedicated discussions, it has never been easier to accelerate your knowledge of Cytokine Therapeutics.
Imagine the possibilities of this digital event! Networking with your peers, learning from the experts, collaborating, and shaping the future of Cytokine Therapeutics – all on a world-class, purpose-built platform.
Partner With Us
The Next-Gen Cytokine Therapeutics Summit being online presents an opportunity for us to super-charge our offering. We have selected the best-in-class platform to offer our attendees a wide range of options to learn, network, and collaborate. The result, bringing together the industry leaders in cytokine therapeutics.
Making your session engaging and knowledgeable will attract the largest audience. We will guide you on how best to maximize the benefits of using our platform.
No need to sit behind a desk! Our networking tools enable attendees to arrange 121 video conversations as well as taking part in curated networking sessions. You could potentially meet many more people than you would in a typical venue setting.
Get in touch to learn more about the options available at The Next-Gen Cytokine Therapeutics Summit.
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