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The Chain: Protein Engineering Podcast
16 minutes | Oct 19, 2021
Episode 40: Exploring Developability Concepts with Bispecific Antibodies
Dr. Nimish Gera, Head of Biologics at Mythic Therapeutics, sits down with Christina Lingham, Executive Director of Conferences and Fellow at Cambridge Healthtech Institute, in this Episode of the Chain to talk about how the developability of bispecific antibodies topic came about, how the field is changing, new bispecific molecules coming through the pipeline, and his expectations for the future.
20 minutes | Aug 12, 2021
Episode 39: René Hoet on Antibody Discovery and Following Your Heart
Rene Hoet is working for over 20 years in Biotech and Pharma Industry focusing on Antibody Research and development.Since April 1 2021 Rene works as Chief Scientific Officer at Montis Biosciences, Leuven, Belgium to develop the next generation Immuno-Oncology drugs using a novel approach interfering in the Tumor Endothelial Cell and Perivascular Macrophage Interactions to restore a immunocompetent tumor microenvironment.From Oct. 2018 till 26 March 2021 Rene worked as Chief Scientific Officer at Imcheck Therapeutics (Marseille, France) reporting to the CEO where he built up a successful mAb research & development group on first in class mAbs (and bispecifics) in immune-oncology targeting butyrophilins and immune modulating gammadelta T cell and macrophage subsets. In Nov. 2019, Rene together with the CEO raised 48 M euro series B investment and moved ICT01 an antibody to BTN3A1, the first activating gammadelta T cell mAb, from preclinical stage into the clinic (start clinical trial March 2020).From 2010-2018 Rene worked for Bayer AG as Vice President Biologics Research (Cologne, Germany), part of the Biologics Research & Development leadership team at Bayer reporting to the Sr. VP. Biologics Research & Development. His group was responsible for Antibody Discovery and Optimization for all therapeutic areas in Bayer (incl. Cardiovascular Diseases, Oncology, Gynecology,Hematology and Autoimmunity) and during this period a number of antibodies from Bayer´s internal pipeline entered into the clinic. Anetumab (Mesothelin-ADC), FXIa (phase II), C4.4.a-ADC, FGFR2-ADC, PRLR, TIFPa, CD22-TTC, CEACAM6 (all phase I). In addition Rene was appointed in 2012 to extraordinary Prof. Biopharmaceutics at the University of Maastricht, The Netherlands to guide researchers to use antibodies to Bridge the Gap between academic research and pharma applications.Between 2008-2010 Rene worked at Genmab as Sr. Director Research and was heading up Product Related Research, Scientific Communication & Translational Research. His team was driving new Antibody Discovery Programs and was also actively supporting Clinical Antibody Programs of Ofatumumab (CD20) (FDA approved 2009) and Daratumumab (CD38) (FDA approved 2015). From 1997-2008 Rene had various positions at Dyax and became V.P. Research and Operational Manager of Dyax sa. Rene and his team were driving internal Antibody Lead Discovery (in Dyax Liege Belgium and Cambridge US) as well as external collaborations and supporting out-licensing of Dyax antibody phage libraries. From the antibody phage libraries he developed at Dyax now 4 antibodies have been approved Ramucirumab (KDR), Lilly, 2014, Necitumumab (EGFR), Lilly, 2015, Avelumab (PDL-1) EMD Serono/Pfizer, 2017, and lanadelumab (kallikrein), Shire, 2018). In addition over 10 antibodies from this mAb library from various companies are still in clinical trial. Rene obtained his PhD at the Un. Nijmegen, the Netherlands and performed a post-doctoral study at the Un. Cambridge U.K.with Prof. G. Winter (nobel prize winner 2018). He contributed to over 40 scientific papers and is inventor on 20 patent /patent applications.
26 minutes | Jul 23, 2021
Episode 38: Pivoting to Meet Protein Purification Needs with TriAltus
A University of Alabama Birmingham researcher was frustrated with inconsistent solutions and processes for purifying unique proteins and set out to develop a new approach for high throughput protein purification. Thus was the seed idea for TriAltus Bioscience, which aims to bring protein purification technology from the research bench to the production environment. The Chain spoke with Bob Shufflebarger, CEO of TriAltus to give the background story and insights into future developments. TriAltus lab manager Naomi Logsdon joined the conversation to share her scientific background and passion for discovery, plus explain the novel technology used in TriAltus purification.Naomi Logsdon, Lab Manager, TriAltus BioscienceNaomi Logsdon is a molecular biologist and laboratory manager with over 30 years of experience and an outstanding record of scientific research in both academic and industrial settings. She is a co-author on more than 40 peer-reviewed publications and holds two gene patents. Logsdon graduated from Rice University cum laude with a B.A. in Biology. She began her research as an undergraduate assistant and was co-author on four research publications studying oxygen radical toxicity. Cell biology and cancer were the focus at subsequent positions at Baylor College of Medicine, DuPont Merck Pharmaceuticals, and the University of Delaware. Protein expression and purification became an area of interest at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, where she evaluated several expression systems for use in high-throughput screening. She also cloned two novel potassium channels as potential drug targets. She later joined the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) at the Center for Biological Sciences and Engineering, where her protein expression and purification skills were applied to crystallographic studies of interleukins. She held managerial and technical positions in several other labs at UAB prior to joining TriAltus in 2019. Bob Shufflebarger, CEO, TriAltus BioscienceBob Shufflebarger is a life sciences industry veteran. He has more than 25 years’ experience in various facets of life science and technology businesses, from his earliest years working at the scientific bench to experience directing operations, finance, and marketing; developing turnaround strategies, and initiating and completing licensing deals. Shufflebarger founded TriAltus Bioscience in 2017 to commercialize novel protein purification technology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.Prior to TriAltus, Shufflebarger worked at Atherotech Diagnostics for 16 years, where he held positions within the company including Finance Director, Vice President of Operations, and Chief Operating Officer. As COO he initiated a business pivot that led to revenue turnaround and substantial growth, culminating in sale to a Private Equity firm and eventual growth to more than $100M in annual revenue.Shufflebarger earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Birmingham-Southern College and an MBA from Duke University. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Birmingham Venture Club for 10 years, and served Board President in 2015 and 2016. He chaired the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk in 2015 and is a 2019 graduate of Leadership Birmingham.
21 minutes | Jul 9, 2021
Episode 37: Flashback Friday: COVID-19 Science-Sequence-Structure for Pandemic Preparedness
The Chain looks back to earlier this year when researchers virtually convened on the one-year anniversary of the first documented case of COVID-19 in the United States. This episode brings you a panel discussion from PepTalk Protein Science and Production Week, moderated by Karla Satchell, PhD, Professor of Microbiology and Co-Director of the Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases at Northwestern University. The panel discusses the role of data integration for the rapid R&D of therapeutics and vaccines, the immediate challenges in the new year – as the Delta variant spreads this summer in the United States -- and how we can transform nearsighted lessons learned into a farsighted vision of pandemic preparedness. Moderator: Karla Satchell, PhD, Professor, Microbiology; Principal Investigator and Co-Director, Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases, Northwestern UniversityPanelists:William Gillette, PhD, Principal Scientist, Protein Expression Laboratory, Leidos Biomedical ResearchArvind Ramanathan, PhD, Computational Biologist, Argonne National LaboratoryErica Ollmann Saphire, PhD, Professor, La Jolla Institute for ImmunologyAnupam Singhal, PhD, Senior Product Manager, Antibody Discovery, Marketing, Berkeley Lights, Inc.
27 minutes | Jun 25, 2021
Episode 36: Quality Control from Molecule to Organization
Nancy Sajjadi joins The Chain to share her quality control knowledge and experience of adopting a quality-by-design approach for assays. We discuss how the focus of her QC work has changed through the years, and what kind of challenges she foresees as the cell and gene therapy fields move forward. Ms. Sajjadi talks about consulting with clients who are developing cutting edge therapies and explains her approach of creating a “culture of quality” within scientific organizations to lead to more successful outcomes. Nancy Sajjadi, Independent Quality ConsultantNancy Sajjadi, M.Sc. is an independent quality consultant with over 30 years of experience in biopharmaceutical product development. She began her career as a bench scientist doing malaria vaccine research before turning to development of cell and gene using therapy retroviral vectors for infectious disease, cancer, and cell therapy applications. Her responsibilities there included research, development, and quality control. She left her position as Director of QC at Chiron Technologies Center for Gene Therapy, in 2000 and to start a consulting business. She has provided services to biopharmaceutical companies, contract laboratories, non-profit organizations, universities, and US government agencies. She has assisted clients in the development, implementation, and improvement of quality programs for a range of biopharmaceutical products in early phase development. She also has provided technical expertise in assay development, qualification, and validation. Ms. Sajjadi has authored several articles pertaining to bioassays and viral gene therapy, has served on 5 advisory panels for the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and teaches introductory courses in bioassay design, development, and validation for non-statisticians.
37 minutes | Jun 10, 2021
Episode 35: NK Cells and the Science of Innate Immunity w/ Éric Vivier
In this episode, Dr. Willem Overwijk returns for a conversation with Dr. Éric Vivier. Dr. Vivier is a professor of immunology at Aix-Marseille and a hospital practitioner at Marseille Public University Hospital. Éric Vivier is also the Chief Scientific Officer at Innate Pharma, a clinical-stage biotech company that creates novel antibodies that activate the immune system to treat patients with cancer. They discuss Dr. Vivier’s scientific background, the importance and the potential of Natural Killer cells, and the next wave of immunotherapy.
41 minutes | May 28, 2021
Episode 34: Antibody and Vaccine Development for COVID-19 – Panel Discussion
This episode of The Chain features a live panel discussion moderated by Erica Ollmann Saphire, PhD of La Jolla Institute for Immunology. Expert panelists from academia and government assess the COVID-19 antibody and vaccine development thus far, including what did and did not go well during the pandemic. They also look towards the future and the role mRNA vaccines may play for diseases like influenza, what we learned about the United States’ ability to manufacture during surge production, and what infrastructure is still needed to fight both the current crisis and future outbreaks. Erica Ollmann Saphire, PhD, Professor, La Jolla Institute for ImmunologyPeter Hotez, MD, PhD, FASTMH, FAAP, Dean, National School of Tropical Medicine; Professor, Departments of Pediatrics, Molecular Virology & Microbiology; Co-Head, Section of Pediatric Tropical Medicine; Health Policy Scholar, Baylor College of MedicineLakshmi Krishnan, PhD, Vice-President, Life Sciences, National Research Council Canada, Government of CanadaPeter W. Marks, MD, PhD, Director, FDA CBER
17 minutes | May 14, 2021
Episode 33: Tackling COVID-19 Drug Discovery with Structural Genomics
The Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases at Northwestern University was prepared for COVID-19 long before the United States economy shut down. Now over a year since COVID-19 was first recorded in the U.S., co-director Dr. Karla Satchell speaks with The Chain about the role of structural genomics in preparing for disease outbreak and response.Karla Satchell, PhD, Professor, Microbiology; Principal Investigator and Co-Director, Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases, Northwestern UniversityDr. Karla Satchell is a Professor of Microbiology-Immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine since 2000. She is also the Principal Investigator for the NIAID-funded Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases, a multi-site center in high-throughput structure determination for microbial pathogens. In 2020, the Center dedicated significant resources to structural biology of SARS-CoV-2, including efforts to provide structural biology data to support development of novel drugs, vaccines, and therapeutics. Across all areas of research, she has published more than 100 research articles. She has also been elected as a Fellow for the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
13 minutes | May 7, 2021
Episode 32: Young Scientist Spotlight: Cryo-EM to Uncover Structures of Coronavirus Spike Glycoproteins
Linoleic acid is an essential free fatty acid in the human body and its metabolic pathway is central to immune regulation and inflammation – which are also key symptoms in COVID-19. Using cryo-electron microscopy, Christine Toelzer’s research identified linoleic acid bound to a hydrophobic pocket of the SARS-CoV-2 glycoprotein. Christine shares her thoughts on how these findings will contribute to the fight against COVID-19 and how her lab work has been altered by the pandemic. Christine also discusses the future of other young scientists coming up in the protein science space. Christine Toelzer is currently a Research Associate at the University of Bristol. After a M.Sc. in biology and an additional M.Sc. in physics she continued with PhD work in biochemistry at the University of Cologne. Her research has always focused on structure function relationships, starting with structure determination of biotechnologically important proteins by x-ray crystallography, magnetic structure determination of inorganic compounds by neutron diffraction and recently using electron cryo-microscopy to obtain the structure of large protein complexes involved in transcription and diseases. In the last year (2020) she started coronavirus related work to contribute to the global effort aimed at better understanding the virus and uncover its potential weaknesses.About the Young Scientist Keynote Award:This recognition honors a young scientist from the international protein science community who has contributed to scientific advancement and innovation in this field. Nominations were solicited from across academic and industry research groups in the fall of 2020, and the finalists were determined through the votes and input of our 15-person advisory panel.
33 minutes | Apr 30, 2021
Episode 31: The Role of Tags in Your Purification Toolbox w/ Dennis Karthaus
In this episode we talk with Dennis Karthaus of IBA Lifesciences about his early science interests and pursing his PhD. His passion for marine biology eventually led him on a path to study biotechnology, where he now focuses on protein expression and purification. Specifically, tag-based purification that can help researchers increase lab productivity. But, as our guest explains, scientists should consider their specific bottlenecks and applications for the protein of interest, to determine if a tag is right for them.
60 minutes | Apr 16, 2021
Episode 30: Recombinant Methods to Generate Antibodies Against COVID-19 – Roundtable Discussion
In a roundtable discussion, three experts bring perspectives on different methods for generating antibodies, including generating antibodies from naive libraries, patients, and immunizations. They discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the advantages of refocusing on infectious disease research. As well as the importance of having ready immune libraries and immunized mice, plus other approaches, ahead of any future infectious disease outbreak.
33 minutes | Apr 2, 2021
Episode 29: Efficient Chromatography Devices for Purification Requirements
The purification requirements in the biopharmaceutical industry will be even more demanding in the coming years due to increased awareness of product-related impurities like oligomers, variants, positional isomers, and glycoforms. These impurities need to be separated from the final product. Dr. Raja Ghosh’s work focuses on the design and development of efficient chromatography devices that combine high-speed with high-resolution in separation. He speaks with Dr. David Wood of the Ohio State University about how the chromatography devices he is developing address these challenges.
31 minutes | Mar 19, 2021
Episode 28: Chasing Interleukin-2 from Academia to Industry w/ Willem Overwijk
On this episode of The Chain, Dr. Willem Overwijk shares his personal experience of his recent transition from academia to industry, and the differences between the two. Dr. Overwijk moved to industry, in part, to follow his research interest in a specific molecule that he had been working on since graduate studies: interleukin-2. Thanks to advances in protein engineering, this once ultra-potent molecule now can be administered with lower toxicity while still being an effective cancer therapy. We discuss IL-2, plus the exciting future of protein engineering in immuno-oncology.
26 minutes | Mar 5, 2021
Episode 27: Human VH Domains – Finding Antibodies to Treat COVID-19 and Beyond
Dr. Dimiter Dimitrov, Director of the Center for Antibody Therapeutics at the University of Pittsburgh, sits down with The Chain to discuss his research and its relevance to the current pandemic. His work focuses on human VH domains, which in contrast to the animal antibody domains, like llama and shark, may have lower probability of immunogenicity. Dr. Dimitrov helps develop several such domains, most recently against SARS2, and one of which that is in production for evaluation in human clinical trials. Beyond COVID-19, Dr. Dimitrov explains that clinical trials for various cancer-related proteins and HIV are also underway, showing the vast potential for domains both for industry growth and life-saving therapies.
32 minutes | Feb 19, 2021
Episode 26: Science Commune: Role of Regulation in an Age of Acceleration
Dan Chen returns for the Science Commune segment and speaks with Dr. Peter Marks, Director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER). Dr. Marks reflects on his fortuitous path from academia to industry to government, plus the differences between each area. Dr. Marks explains the research and regulatory role of CBER, especially as it pertains to the latest cell therapies. And finally, the two discuss the impressive speed of COVID-19 vaccine science breakthroughs and regulatory approval.
15 minutes | Feb 5, 2021
Episode 25: Innovations in Antibody Engineering to Generate Novel Cancer Immunotherapies
Christian Klein is a longtime and key member of the protein and antibody community. In this episode, he speaks with Executive Conference Producer, Christina Lingham, on how the field has changed since their first collaboration. Dr. Klein offers an overview of the latest applications of bispecific antibodies, including the latest progress of clinical trials by Roche and others. He also explains how the PD1-X molecule is unique and can increase specificity of therapeutics even more.
28 minutes | Jan 22, 2021
Episode 24: Taking Risks and Setting Precedent in Bioanalytical Assays for Cell & Gene Therapies
There are no bad ideas in developing bioanalytical testing, says Jim McNally, CSO of BioAgilytix. Not all ideas will work, of course. But he has found that it is the outside-the-box ideas that often turn out to be the solution in challenging assay work. Dr. McNally speaks with The Chain about his background in bioanalytical testing and supporting clinical trials, the exciting future of cell and gene therapies, and the importance of setting precedent in bioanalysis of these new, life-saving therapies. It is an exciting time for gene therapy especially, and Dr. McNally shares how new immunogenicity data is getting us closer to bringing this therapy to more people.
22 minutes | Jan 8, 2021
Episode 23: Undruggable No More - Biologists & Engineers Unite to Successfully Deliver Potent RAS-Cleaving Enzyme
There are some proteins that still evade scientists in the race for better therapeutics. Some of the most elusive drug targets in cancer research are RAS oncoproteins. In a paper published this July, researchers demonstrated the delivery of an extremely potent pan-RAS-cleaving enzyme, opening the door for the first targeted pan-RAS inhibitor for cancer therapy. In this episode we speak with two of the researchers from this project, a cancer biologist and a protein engineer, to learn what sparked their collaboration and what their system means for the future of cancer biologics.
25 minutes | Dec 18, 2020
Episode 22: Science Commune: Embracing the Complexity of Glycobiology
Carolyn Bertozzi grew up in a science family with a physicist father. But it was organic chemistry that “clicked” for Carolyn and started her down the path of understanding biology at a molecular level. Daniel Chen and Carolyn Bertozzi discuss her work in glycobiology. Bertozzi’s research finds that glycosylation has consequences in immune modulation, and that glycobiology plays an important role in human disease that has historically been underexploited in drug development. Finally, Chen and Bertozzi talk about gender representation in science and the importance of female role models for both women and men.
17 minutes | Dec 4, 2020
Episode 21: Science Commune: Inspiration and Growth from the Early Days of Microbiology
What was science like before the shift to big data technology? How did biologists learn about cells before we could do high throughput gene analysis? What we can learn about how to problem solve from those who helped get us to where we are today? In this Science Commune episode, Dr. Rik Derynck helps us answer those questions by sharing his stories as a young scientist in the “primitive” early days of cell biology. Derynck talks about his work on TGF-β and how his early pursuit of the unknown helped inspire new methodologies for problem solving that carry into his work today. Derynck looks towards the future of the field as biologists gain understanding of TGF-β’s role in cancer immunology and immunotherapy.
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