Dr. Sharon Benzeno is the Chief Business Development Officer and leads the Drug Discovery group at Adaptive. Sharon oversees the use of the company’s immune medicine platform for novel drug discovery, including TCR discovery to inform next-generation cellular therapy, antibody discovery, and vaccines. Before joining Adaptive in 2014, Sharon was Senior Director at Elsevier Inc., a healthcare informatics company. Prior to Elsevier, Sharon co-led the oncology business unit at Capgemini SE, a consulting and technology services company. Sharon came to Elsevier from Capgemini, where she held a variety of management roles at AstraZeneca plc. Sharon holds a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from New York University School of Medicine, an MBA in Finance and Leadership from New York University Stern School of Business and a BA in Biochemistry from New York University. Sharon completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cancer biology at the University of Pennsylvania Abramson Cancer Center.
Dr. Arati Rao is dual fellowship trained Geriatric-Oncologist and a former Associate Professor of Medicine at the Duke University School of Medicine who is passionate about cell therapy development. She has worked both in the heme malignancies CAR T space at Kite-Gilead and now in the solid tumor neoantigen TCR space at PACT. She has in depth knowledge on cell therapy/immunology programs and has worked closely with regulatory agencies including the FDA and EMA. As the global lead and Medical Monitor for ZUMA-2, she was responsible for successfully filing a BLA and received accelerated approval for Tecartus™ (brexucabtagene autoleucel) in relapsed/refractory mantle cell lymphoma with the FDA. During her academic career, she led the myeloid leukemia efforts at Duke and served as a PI/Co-PI on several trials. She was also an NIH funded clinical researcher. She has served as a faculty on the NCCN-Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma guidelines (v1.0) and on several ASCO and ASH committees including the ASH- scientific committee for myeloid biology.
Challenges in Cell Therapy Development
Cell therapy development globally has continued to increase. CAR T therapies have led the way but TCR, TIL, neoantigen and other therapies are also being evaluated. The development of cell therapies brings several challenges: type of study and biometrics, regulatory, operations, manufacturing, cost and reimbursement and most importantly patient related and toxicity issues.
Hy Levitsky is President of Research and Development. He was previously EVP and CSO at Juno Therapeutics, and before that, Head of Cancer Immunotherapy Experimental Medicine at Roche Pharma Research and Early Development. He received an MD from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1984, followed by training in internal medicine and medical oncology. He joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1991, rising to Professor of Oncology, Medicine and Urology in 2001 while working at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center where he served as Scientific Director of the George Santos Bone Marrow Transplant Program. Upon joining industry, he has held an adjunct professorship since 2011. His research has focused on tumor immunology, cancer vaccines, and adoptive T cell therapy. He is a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Stohlman Scholar, a Member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and is a founding member of the Cancer Immunotherapy Consortium of the Cancer Research Institute.
Susie leads medical sciences at Arsenal Bio, a programmable cell therapy company, #engineeredtocure, that develops integrated circuit T cell (ICT) therapies for the treatment of solid tumors. She is a physician, scientist, and biopharma executive with over 20 years of experience leading clinical and translational research dedicated to improving patients' lives and finding a cure for cancer. Prior to joining Arsenal Bio, Susie was at Allogene developing allogeneic CAR T cell therapies. Throughout her career, she has worked on novel treatments for solid and hematologic malignancies across modalities including biologics, small molecules, antibody-drug conjugates and bispecific T-cell engagers. Susie has held senior leadership roles at Abbvie, Gilead and Amgen, and is a founding member of the Chicago chapter of Chief, an organization dedicated to supporting, empowering, and mentoring women C-suite leaders.