Ahead of protein and antibody engineering conference PEGS Europe 2023 in Lisbon, DDW’s Megan Thomas looks at what to expect from each track of the annual biologics technology meeting. On Day 1, Tuesday 14 November 2023, the tracks include: Display of biologics, antibody-based cancer therapies, safety and efficacy of bispecific antibodies, modulating the tumour microenvironment, optimisation and developability, and cell line and systems engineering.
Display of biologics
The first track of PEGS Europe 2023 is ‘Display of biologics’, which will feature a range of sessions made up of presentations, talks and posters which address difficult targets with display technologies, conditionally activated biologics, display technology selection for developability, and novel selection strategies of antibodies.
Addressing difficult targets with display technologies
This session will begin with chairperson’s remarks from Ahuva Nissim, PhD, Professor, Antibody and Therapeutic Engineering, William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London, and feature a keynote presentation on antibodies binding to GPCRs in different confirmations by Andreas Plueckthun, PhD, Professor & Head of Biochemistry at the University of Zurich.
Thereafter, the line-up includes:
- John McCafferty, PhD, Scientific Advisor, IONTAS; CEO and Founder, Maxion Therapeutics, presenting: ‘KnotBodies: Creating ion channel modulating antibodies by fusing knottins into antibody loops’.
- Stefan Zielonka, PhD, Global Head of Antibody Discovery and Protein Engineering, Merck Healthcare KGaA; Professor of Biomolecular Immunotherapy, Technical University of Darmstadt, presenting: ‘A library approach for the de novo high-throughput isolation of humanised VHH domains with favourable developability properties following camelid immunisation’.
Conditionally activated biologics
This session will begin with chairperson’s remarks from E Sally Ward, PhD, Director, Translational Immunology; Professor, Molecular Immunology, Centre for Cancer Immunology, University of Southampton.
Thereafter, the line-up includes:
- Daniel Steiner, PhD, Vice President, Lead Generation, Molecular Partners AG, presenting: ‘From clustering activated agonists to SWITCH-DARPins’
- Peter Ellmark, PhD, CSO, Alligator Bioscience AB, presenting: ‘ALG.APV-527: Design of a Bispecific Tumour Antigen-Conditional 4-1BB x 5T4 Agonist that Mediates Strong T Cell Activation and Potent Anti-Tumour Activity’
- Francisco Ylera, R&D Team Lead, Bio-Rad, presenting: ‘Pioneer and Spylock: The fastest route to mono- and bi-specific therapeutic antibodies’.
There are two luncheon presentations in this session, presented by Aaron Sato, PhD, CSO, Twist Bioscience, and Piotr van Rijssel, Application Scientist, ENPICOM. Sato will present ‘Writing the future of biologics with an integrated offering of immunisation, libraries, and machine learning’, and van Rijssel will present ‘Data-driven discovery made easy, scalable, and ready for the ML era’.
Selecting display technology for developability
This session will begin with charperson’s remarks from René Hoet, PhD, Chief Innovation Officer, FairJourney Biologics.
Thereafter, the line-up includes:
- Harald Kolmar, PhD, Professor and Head, Institute for Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Technische Universität Darmstadt, on: ‘When evolutionary distance matters: Generation of mono- and multi-Specific humanised antibodies by chicken immunisation and yeast display screening’.
- Achim Doerner, PhD, Principal Scientist, Protein Engineering & Antibody Technologies, Merck Healthcare KGaA, on: ‘Mammalian antibody display: Microfluidic hit discovery and their fruitful combination’.
- René Hoet, PhD, Professor, Chief Innovation Officer, FairJourney Biologics: on: ‘New technology developments for future (multi-specific) antibody discovery and optimisation’.
- Rachel Fong, Director of Sales and Alliances, Integral Molecular, on: ‘Specificity testing of antibodies, bispecifics, and CAR T therapeutics for IND using the membrane proteome array’.
- Iwan Zimmermann, PhD, CSO, Linkster Therapeutics AG, on: ‘Selecting novel antibody leads against SLC transporters using the Linkster discovery platform’.
Novel selection strategies of antibodies
This session will begin with charperson’s remarks from Joao Goncalves, PhD, Full Professor, Microbiology & Immunology, University of Lisbon. This will be followed by presentations from Bill Harriman, PhD, Senior Vice President, Antibody Discovery, OmniAb, as well as Reno Debets, PhD, Professor, Chair, Tumour Immunology Lab, Medical Oncology, Erasmus MC Cancer Center.
Harriman will present ‘Discovering functional modulators of the ion channel Kv1.3 from engineered peptide and antibody libraries’. Debets will present: ‘Selection and validation of TCR-like antibodies and TCRs for adoptive therapy’.
Antibody-based cancer therapies
The second track of PEGS Europe 2023 is ‘Antibody-based cancer therapies’, which will feature a range of sessions made up of presentations, talks and posters which cover antibody drug conjugates (ADCs), intracellular, bispecific, and logic-gated antibodies, and conditionally active biologics. It will begin with chairperson’s remakrs from Gregory Adams, PhD, CSO, Elucida Oncology, which will be followed by the keynote presentation from Ulrich Brinkmann, PhD, Expert Scientist, Pharma Research & Early Development, Roche Innovation Center, Munich, on antibody chain-exchange-based approaches to generate and optimise bispecific antibodies, prodrugs, and ADCs.
Antibody drug conjugates (ADCs)
This session will include three presentations, two clinical updates, two poster highlights, and two luncheon presentations. The presentations include:
- Philipp Spycher, PhD, CEO, Araris Biotech AG, on: ‘Inducing significant and efficient tumour growth inhibition vs trastuzumab deruxtecan using two different Topo1 inhibitors (DAR4) and peptide linkers for payload conjugation to trastuzumab’.
- Sebastian Jaeger, PhD, Senior Scientist, ADCs & Targeted NBE Therapeutics, Merck Healthcare KGaA, on: ‘Evaluation of Fcab-drug conjugates as a novel antibody-based format for targeted drug delivery’.
- Kathrin Herbst, PhD, Director of Science & Business Development, Lightcast, on: ‘A new era of single-cell functional profiling for drug discovery’.
After the presentation and the opening of the exhibit hall with poster viewing, Gregory Adams, PhD, CSO, Elucida Oncology, and Patrick Groothuis, PhD, Principal Scientist, Byondis, will give clinical and pre-clinical updates respectively. Adams, on a first-in-human study of ELU001, a targeted c’dot drug conjugate, in subjects with folate receptor α (frα) overexpressing solid tumours, and Groothuis on the non-clinical pharmacology of the MET-targeting ADC BYON3521.
Poster highlights in this session include Margarida Ferreira-Silva, PhD, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Lisbon, on the development of a novel trispecific antibody for the anticancer immune targeting of non-hodgkin lymphoma, as well as Yangsoon Lee, PhD, Sr Dir, R&D, ABL Bio, on the ROR1 targeted 4-1BB conditional bispecific antibody, ABL102, which exhibits potent in vitro and in vivo anti-tumour activity and superior safety profile.
Luncheon presentations will be given by Andrew Bradbury, MB BS, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, Specifica, and Stefanie Kall, Ph.D., Sr. Marketing Product Manager, Product, NanoTemper Technologies. Bradbury will cover evolutionary intelligence in antibody library design and discovery, and Kall will cover the use of multi-parameter characterisation to profile developability characteristics unique to ADC’s.
Intracellular, bispecific, and logic-gates antibodies
This session will begin with chairperson’s remarks from Rob de Jong, PhD, Senior Director and Head, Antibody Format Development, Genmab, and will be followed by four presentations.
The presentations include:
- Terence Rabbitts, FRS, FMedSci, Professor, Molecular Immunology, Center for Cancer Drug Discovery, Institute of Cancer Research, on: ‘Intracellular antibodies for drug discovery against hard-to-drug targets’.
- Mireille Vankemmelbeke, PhD, Principal Scientist, Biodiscovery, Scancell, on: ‘Glycan and novel targets for bispecific cancer therapy’.
- Rob de Jong, PhD, Senior Director and Head, Antibody Format Development, Genmab, on: ‘HexElect: Logic-gated antibody pairs that selectively act on cells co-expressing two antigens’.
- Thierry Wurch, PhD, SVP Integrated Biologics Discovery and Development, Head, Antibody discovery, Evotec (France), on: ‘Evotec’s integrated biologics continuum to strengthen immunotherapy discovery programmes’.
Conditionally active biologics
This session is made up of presentations:
- Edward van der Horst, PhD, CSO, Sensei Bio, on: ‘Conditionally active antibodies in immuno-oncology: Selectively targeting VISTA in the tumour microenvironment’.
- Ryo Uchikawa, Pharmacologist, Chugai Pharmaceutical Co, on: ‘A novel tumour-selective anti-CD137 agonist antibody activated by elevated extracellular ATP in tumour microenvironment’.
- Debadyuti Ghosh, PhD, Associate Professor, Molecular Pharmaceutics & Drug Delivery, University of Texas, on: ‘Boosting safety and retention of intratumourally delivered antibodies using cationic peptide anchors’.
Safety and efficacy of bispecific antibodies
The third track of PEGS Europe 2023 is ‘Safety and efficacy of bispecific antibodies’, which will feature a range of sessions made up of presentations, talks and posters which cover recent advances in bispecifics, ADCs, and combination therapies, and preclinical considerations for safety and efficacy.
Recent advances in bispecifics, ADCs, and combination therapies
This session will begin with chairperson’s remarks from Rakesh Dixit, PhD, President & CEO, Bionavigen, which will be followed by his keynote presentation on advances in the efficacy and safety of biscpeifics, ADCs, and combination cancer therapies.
Presentations that follow include:
- Andres Perez Bay, PhD, Senior Staff Scientist, Oncology & Angiogenesis, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, on: ‘A bispecific METxMET antibody-drug conjugate with cleavable linker is processed in recycling and late endosomes’.
- John Mumm, PhD, Founder & CEO, Deka Biosciences, on: ‘Next-generation cytokine therapy: Coupling dual tumour targeted cytokines with precision patient selection’.
- Helmut Salih, MD, Professor for Translational Immunology, Medical Director, Clinical Collaboration Unit Translational Immunology, University Hospital Tuebingen and DKFZ Heidelberg, Germany; Co-Founder, TWYCE GmbH, on: ‘An optimised IgG-Based B7-H3xCD3 bispecific antibody for treatment of gastrointestinal cancers’.
- Phil Jones, VP Discovery, RxBiologics, on: ‘Antibody discovery using the Galaxy library platform’.
In between presentations, there will be a poster highlight from Johan Fransson, PhD, Executive Director, Antibody and Protein Therapeutics, Prometheus Biosciences. The poster covers how MK-7240 (PRA023) binds to trimeric and monomeric soluble TL1A and membrane TL1A.
The luncheon presentation will be done by James Keck, PhD, President’s Innovation Fellow and Senior Director, Innovation and Product Development, Product Development, The Jackson Laboratory. He will cover the evaluation of safety and efficacy of antibody therapies in PBMC humanised mice.
After lunch, there will be a panel discussion on the challenges of mitigating toxicity of IO bispecifics. The panel moderator, Rakesh Dicit, will host a discussion between previous presenters John Mumm and Helmut Salih, with the addition of David DiLillo, PhD, Senior Director, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.
Preclinical considerations for safety and efficacy
Following the chairperson’s remarks from Mark Chiu, PhD, CSO, Tavotek Biotherapeutics, this session will feature a series of presentations and a panel discussion.
The presentations include:
- Christina Lourdes Mayer, PharmD, President & Principal Consultant, Semivida Research, on: ‘Evolving benefit-risk considerations for bispecific antibodies in an era of expanded indications and emerging technologies’.
- Oliver Schon, PhD, Vice President, Research & Development, BiVictriX Therapeutics, on: ‘Bispecific antibody drug conjugates for the treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia — a safer and more efficacious option for patients?’
- Sakthi Srinivasan, PhD, Customer Project Lead, Business Science, Immuneed, on: ‘Improved understanding of safety and efficacy of multifunctional antibodies using circulating whole blood (ID.Flow)’.
- Annemie Deiteren, MD, PhD, Director, Translational Medicine & Clinical Pharmacology, Translational Medicine & Early Development, Sanofi, on: ‘Multispecific, multivalent TSLP-IL13 NANOBODY’.
- Chairperson Mark Chiu, on: ‘Strategies to enhance efficacy of a tetraspecific antibody to TNBC and PDAC’.
Thereafter, Chiu will moderate a panel discussion on navigating early-stage clinical safety and efficacy of biologics for acute diseases such as oncology or infectious diseases. Panelists include presenters Christina Lourdes Mayer and Oliver Schon.
Moderating the tumour microenvironment
The fourth track of PEGS Europe 2023 is ‘Moderating the tumour microenvironment’, which will feature a range of sessions made up of presentations, talks and posters which cover modulating antibody responses and enhancing anti-tumour activity and targeting myeloid cells.
Modulating antibody responses and enhancing anti-tumour activity
Following the chariperson’s remarks from Björn L. Frendeus, PhD, CSO, BioInvent International, there will be a series of presentations and poster highlights. The presentations include:
- Mark Cragg, PhD, Professor of Experimental Cancer Biology, Antibody and Vaccine Group, School of Cancer Sciences, University of Southampton, on: ‘Modulating antibody effector functions in the tumour microenvironment’.
- Sophia Karagiannis, PhD, Professor, Translational Cancer Immunology & Immunotherapy, Kings College London, on: ‘Modulation of B cell and antibody responses in solid tumours’.
- Patrizia Murer, PhD, Head, Protein Engineering, Anaveon, on: ‘ANV600, a uniquely engineered, cis-signaling IL-2R b/g agonist, efficiently expands intratumoural stem-like and effector CD8 T cells’.
- Laura Codarri Deak, PhD, Senior Principal Scientist, Cancer Immunotherapy, Roche Innovation Center, Zurich, on: ‘PD-1-cis IL-2R agonism yields better effectors from stem-like CD8+ T cells’.
- John Mumm, PhD, Founder & CEO, Deka Biosciences, on: ‘Improving cytokine therapy efficacy and safety by using combination agents targeted to the tumour microenvironment’.
- Simon Low, PhD, Sr Dir, Biologics Discovery & Innovation, Cue Biopharma, on: ‘A novel TCR-specific engager platform (Immuno-STAT) enabling next generation approaches to targeted immunotherapies’.
There are two poster highlights from Simon Bredl, PhD, Sr Scientist, Infectious Diseases & Hospital Epidemiology, University Hospital Zurich, and Klaudia Sobczak, Early Stage Researcher, Chemical Glycobiology Lab, CIC bioGUNE. Bredl’s poster looks at genetically engineered macrophages to disrupt the cold tumour microenvironment, and Sobczak’s covers deciphering the structural details of the recognition mode of cancer-associated glycoproteins by siglec receptors implicated in immune suppression in cancer.
Targeting myeloid cells
This session will begin with chairperson’s remarks from Stephen Beers, PhD, Professor of Immunology & Immunotherapy, University of Southampton, which will be followed by the keynote presentation by James Arnold, PhD, Reader, Tumour Immunology, Kings College London, on perivascular macrophages as a therapeutic target in potentiating the immune-stimulatory effects of chemotherapy against cancer.
- Marjolein van Egmond, PhD, Professor, Oncology and Inflammation, Surgery/Molecular Cell Biology and Immunology, Amsterdam UMC, on: ‘Novel FcαRI bispecific antibody immunocytokines for the recruitment of myeloid effector cells in cancer therapy’.
- Miro Raeber, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor for Clinical Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Zurich, Department of Immunology, University Hospital Zurich, on: ‘IL-2 promotes anti-tumour responses via a lymphoid-dendritic cell pathway’.
- Alexander Schinagl, PhD, Founder & CTO, OncoOne R&D GmbH, on: ‘The modular PreTargit platform enables RIT for hard-to-treat cancers by significantly improved therapeutic indexes’.
- Björn Frendeus, PhD, CSO, BioInvent International AB, on: ‘FcgR blockade to enhance cancer immunotherapy’.
- David Mills, PhD, Senior Director, Preclinical Science, Ambrx, on: ‘Preclinical discovery of ARX622, a site-specific HER2-targeted TLR7 agonist immune-stimulatory antibody conjugate’.
Poster highlights in this session will by presented by Yahel Avraham, Graduate Student, Systems Immunology, Weizmann Institute Of Science, and Haiyan Jia, PhD, Principal Scientist, Biotherapeutics & Advanced Therapies, MHRA. Avraham will present on empowering GITR-targeted agonistic antibody-based immunotherapy by Fc engineering, and Jia will present on promoting immune response of endothelial cells by Bevacizumab, providing insights into the role of anti-VEGF therapy in reprogramming the immunosuppressive tumour microenvironment.
Optimisation and developability
The fifth track of PEGS Europe 2023 is Optimisation and Developability, which will feature a range of sessions made up of presentations, talks and posters which cover optimising drug properties, immunogenicity risk assessment, and in silico and machine learning approaches to developability and biologics drug design.
Optimising drug properties
This session will begin with chairperson’s remarks from Andreas Evers, PhD, Principal Scientist, Computational Chemistry & Biology, Global Research & Development Discovery Technology, Merck Healthcare KGaA. These will be followed by the keynote presentation from Hitto Kaufmann, PhD, CSO, Hansa Biopharma, on why developing predictive algorithms that allow drug candidate selection in silico is essential.
The presentations which follow include:
- Paul Wassmann, PhD, Senior Principal Scientist, NIBR Biologics Center, Novartis, on: ‘Non-mAb biotherapeutics: A paradigm change for the developability assessment concept?’
- Giuseppe Licari, PhD, Lead Scientist, Computational Structural Biology, Global Drug Product Development – BDC, Merck Serono, on: ‘Embedding dynamics in intrinsic physicochemical profiles of market-stage antibody-based biotherapeutics’.
- Catherine Bladen, PhD, COO, Absolute Biotech, on: ‘Comparing potential bispecific formats of trastuzumab and a humanised OKT3’.
- Thierry Menguy, PhD, Head, CMC Projects, LinkinVax, on: ‘Case studies about innovative recombinant protein vaccines of the VRI/Linkinvax dendritic cell-targeting platform’.
Immunogenicity risk assessment
There are three presentations in this session, followed by a break and then two luncheon presentations. The first three include:
- Sophie Tourdot, PhD, Immunogenicity Sciences Lead, BioMedicine Design, Pfizer, on: ‘Approaches to immunogenicity risk assessment of mRNA-LNP products’.
- Will Thrift, PhD, Senior Artificial Intelligence Scientist, Genentech, on: ‘Graph-pMHC: Graph neural network approach to MHC class II peptide presentation and antibody immunogenicity’.
- Francois Romagne, PhD, Scientific Director, MI-mAbs, on: ‘Accelerating antibody discovery for difficult targets through mRNA immunisation and Beacon single cell technology’.
The luncheon presentations include:
- Nikki Machalek, Scientist II, KBI Biopharma, on: ‘Comprehensive size distribution analysis of adeno-associated virus fill-states’.
- Amanda Grimm, Senior Segment Marketing Manager, Antibody Drug Discovery, GenScript USA, on: ‘Empowering therapeutic antibody development’.
In silico and machine learning approaches to developability and biologics drug design
This session will begin with Chairperson’s Remarks from Hitto Kaufmann, PhD, CSO, Hansa Biopharma, followed by the keynote presentation from Charlotte Deane, PhD, Professor, Structural Bioinformatics, Statistics, University of Oxford; Chief Scientist, Biologics AI, Exscientia, on the developability risk of antibodies with lambda light chains.
The presentations which follow include:
- Peter Tessier, PhD, Albert M. Mattocks Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences & Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, on: ‘Predicting antibody developability using machine learning’.
- Ernst Weber, PhD, Head, Molecular Design & Engineering, Bayer, on: ‘Next-generation biologics engineering platform: From conventional screening to early multiparameter deep characterisation and machine learning-based properties prediction’.
- Thomas Cornell, PhD, Senior manager, Protein Engineering, Protein Engineering, Abzena, on: ‘Advanced computational tools and experimental methods to approach antibody developability’.
- Eddy Berthier, Associate Principle Scientist Pharmaceutical Development, Drug Product Services, Lonza, on: ‘In silico and in vitro toolbox for developability screening of novel modalities’.
- Norbert Furtmann, PhD, Head, Computational & High-Throughput Protein Engineering, Large Molecule Research, Sanofi, on: ‘Towards biologics by design: Computational and AI-based optimisation of multi-specific protein therapeutics’.
- Maniraj Bhagawati, PhD, Lab Head, Functional Characterization, Large Molecule Research, Roche pRED, on: ‘Developability strategy for large molecule therapeutics: Integrating in silico and wet lab approaches’.
- James Apgar, PhD, Associate Research Fellow, BioMedicine Design, Pfizer, on: ‘Optimisation of antibody developability properties using deep learning predictive models’.
Cell line and systems engineering
The sixth track of PEGS Europe 2023 is Cell Line and Systems Engineering, which will feature a range of sessions made up of presentations, talks and posters which cover applying data science to enhance protein expression, and engineering and developing host cell lines.
Applying data science to enhance protein expression
This session will begin with Chairperson’s Remarks by Nicola Burgess-Brown, PhD, Director of Enzymology and Protein Engineering, Exact Sciences Innovation, which will be followed by a featured presentation on accuracy and data efficiency in deep learning models of protein expression by Diego Oyarzun, PhD, Reader in Computational Biology, Informatics Forum, University of Edinburgh.
Thereafter, the following presentations will take place:
- Carlos Outeiral, PhD, Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Research Fellow, Department of Statistics, University of Oxford, on: “Codon language models for protein engineering”.
- Peter Herr Neubauer, PhD, Lab Head, Bioprocess Engineering, TU Berlin, on: “Automated model based optimisation of difficult-to-express protein processes in a robotic facility”.
- Claes Gustafsson, Ph.D, CCO & Co-Founder, ATUM, on: “Using machine learning to predict protein expression”.
- Mark Stockdale, Strategic Alliance Director, Asimov, on: “Quantitative synthetic biology to advance biologics production”.
The keynote presentation will be given by Kate Smith, PhD, Director, UK Protein & Cell Sciences, GSK, and will introduce GSK’s high-throughput expression systems, its approaches to organising data, and its design approaches.
Luncheon presentations will be given by Jeff Allen, SVP Process and Analytical Development, Analytical, Primrose Bio, and Aleksander Kruis, Head of Metabolic Engineering, R&D, Acies Bio. Allen will present on efficient therapeutic development using the Pfenex Expression Technology platform, and Kruis will present on leveraging the BioXp platform for automated plasmid construction at Acies Bio.
Engineering and developing host cell lines
This session will begin with chairperson’s remarks from Bjørn Voldborg, MSc, Head, National Biologics Facility, DTU Bioengineering, Technical University of Denmark. The presentations which follow include:
- Paul Dalby, PhD, Professor, Department of Biochemical Engineering; Co-Director, Future Targeted Healthcare Manufacturing Hub, University College London, on: “Directed evolution of bovine enterokinase from inclusion body to soluble protein expression”.
- Morten Nørholm, PhD, Research Group Leader, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, Technical University of Denmark, on: “A next generation pET system for bacterial protein production”.
- Claudia Rinnofner, PhD, Founder & CEO, myBIOS GmbH, on: “Novel strategies for protein production using Pichia pastoris”.
- Carola Mancini, European Field Applications Scientist, BioPharma, Molecular Devices, on: “The future of microbiology: Sustainable alternatives for food and beverage”
- Richard Hammond, MA MEng., CTO, Sphere Fluidics Limited, on: “Picodroplets for cell line engineering: a novel automation approach”.
- Jae Seong Lee, PhD, Associate Professor, Applied Chemistry & Biological Engineering, Ajou University, on: “Genome-wide virus-free CRISPR screening platform for identifying novel engineering targets in mammalian cells”.
- Christoph Keysberg, PhD, Research Assistant, Biberach University, on: “The potential of emerging sub-omics technologies for CHO cell engineering”.
- Jose Luis Corchero-Nieto, PhD, Senior Scientist, Nanobiotechnology Group, CIBER-BBN & University Autonoma de Barcelona, on: “Getting the most out of your cells: Refining the process for higher protein yields”.