Dr. William Hearl is the founder of Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. and is an experienced and successful life science businessman and entrepreneur. Dr. Hearl is adept at brokering mutually beneficial partnerships and identifying non-traditional collaborations and investment opportunities. The advent of the commercial development of LAMP technology came from discussions between Dr. Hearl and Dr. Tom August at Johns Hopkins University. Based on their mutual vision of the value of LAMP, ITI emerged and began operations in 2006. Read his full bio.

Interview with William Hearl From Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc.

Q: What need is Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. addressing?

A: Immunomic Therapeutics’ nucleic acid vaccines have the potential to utilize the body’s natural biochemistry to develop a broad immune response, including antibody production, cytokine release and critical immunological memory. This approach could put our investigational UNITE, or UNiversal Intracellular Targeted Expression, Platform at the crossroads of immunotherapies in a number of illnesses, including cancer, allergy and infectious diseases. Immunomic’s lysosomal targeting technology is currently being employed in a Phase II clinical trial as a cancer immunotherapy.

Immunomic is also collaborating with academic centers and biotechnology companies to study the use of the UNITE platform in cancer types of high mortality, including cases where there are limited treatment options such as glioblastoma multiforme “GBM”. We believe that these early clinical studies may provide a proof of concept for UNITE in cancer and, if successful, set the stage for future studies, including combinations in these tumor types and others. Preclinical data is currently being developed to explore whether the UNITE platform may amplify and activate the immune response in highly immunogenic tumor types and be used to create immune responses to tumor types that otherwise do not provoke an immune response.

Q: What are the products and/or services Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc offers/develops to address this need? What makes Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc unique?

A: Immunomic Therapeutics’ UNITE™ platform is founded on a combination of complementary technologies and capabilities: Immunomic’s proprietary lysosomal targeting technology, the optimal use of adjuvants, advanced antigen selection and optimization, the use novel delivery methods and the ability to manufacture material at a large scale.

Immunomic’s core technology has been expanded to amplify the immune response via a unique combination of intracellular and molecular biology methods for enhanced MHC-II presentation combined with potent adjuvant and delivery technologies that result in a unified and complete immune system response.

Q: What is your role at Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc., and what excites you about your work?

A: I am the founder of Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc., and I focus on brokering mutually beneficial partnerships and identifying non-traditional collaborations and investment opportunities.

As one of the founders of Immunomic Therapeutics and its CEO, I have helped forge the Company’s vision and direction since its inception. I have certainly enjoyed building a world class team of biotechnology professionals including my longtime colleague and co-founder, Dr. Teri Heiland. She leads an outstanding scientific team that reduces our UNITE platform to practice. However, what really excites me is that we have an opportunity to treat diseases, in particular cancer, and bring solutions to people in critical need of new therapies.

Setting Immunomic apart from other biotechnology companies is my company’s unique and decidedly entrepreneurial investment and business models. Initially, Immunomic raised a modest amount in angel investment capital, totaling less than $20M, which allowed Immunomic to maintain control over the vision and strategy of the company.

The unique investment strategy has yielded much success. Immunomic was able to blaze new trails with a strategy that returned a portion of our licensing revenues back to our initial investors, further fueling the entrepreneurial biotechnology ecosystem. Thus, with that minimal investment of less than $20M, the company created over $317M in licensing revenue and created a greater than four-fold return to its investors. Immunomic’s success in validating the UNITE platform through significant, early partnerships is a testament to the company’s capital efficiency and ability to reach significant milestones in a lean, cash-efficient way, avoiding the need to raise significantly dilutive funds.

Q: When thinking about Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. and the domain Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. is working in, what are some of the recent breakthroughs that are propelling the field forward and how will they impact healthcare?

A: The biggest breakthrough in recent years has been the discovery and use of immunotherapeutics and in particular the development of the anti-PD1 family of drugs which act to reverse the checkpoint inhibition of immune cells by a tumor. This has dramatically changed the landscape of clinical cancer research and has opened tumors up to new lines of attack.

This is where the investigational UNITE platform may enable a broad and robust immune response by exploiting the pathways and associated effect of activated antigen presenting cells. Once the barrier to tumor entry is reduced by the PD-1 drugs, then educated lymphocytes can identify and access the cancer cells, targeting them for cell death. Our lysosomal targeting technology drives antigen presentation through the MHC II compartment, and as such directly educates the helper T-cells about the cancer antigen of choice. This results in a Th1 oriented response with immune memory while maintaining presentation to the MHC I pathway. Combined with exosomal release of antigen-coated vesicles that can access B cells, UNITE can result in a comprehensive immune response. The UNITE platform could support this activity by combining the nucleic acid vaccine with select adjuvants and the appropriate delivery method.

Q: What are the short-term challenges that Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. and its peers are facing?

A: Within medicine, few technologies have had more impact than vaccines. Each year they prevent more than 3 million childhood deaths worldwide from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and measles, to name a few. Vaccines, such as those for HPV and Hepatitis B, have extended those preventative benefits for young and mature adults. Now, a new generation of vaccines, ones that harness a body’s immune system to treat disease rather than prevent it, are moving through clinical trials and into the marketplace.

However, for all their existing benefits and future potential, vaccines are still bedeviled by problems of perception and adoption. Patients can be suspicious of vaccines or confused by them, or they can fall into complacency, believing that certain diseases are no longer a threat. Regardless, the overall efficacy of vaccines is largely dependent on coverage, so when coverage dwindles, outbreaks occur. Take for example the recent measles outbreak in Minnesota, which began in a community that was suspicious of vaccines. Vaccine hesitancy also has a subtler and more insidious implication. It dampens the appetite for new vaccines, stifling innovation and robbing patients of better solutions.

We must help people better understand the enormous impact that vaccines have on the health of the population and we must continue to improve our ability to keep terrible diseases in check through the use of this tool.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with the PMWC audience?

A: A coordinated effort is going to be essential to conquer cancer in the long term. Without key partnerships, both present and future, it will be challenging to achieve the goals we have set before us. Particularly in the context of the fight against cancer, we know that a single therapy most likely will not provide the ‘silver bullet.’ We firmly believe the UNITE platform will play a fundamental role in the immuno-oncology landscape and we are looking forward to working with others in our industry to ensure success for our Company and more importantly for the patients in need of a lasting solution.

Interview with Daniel Chen from IGM Biosciences

Q: Checkpoint inhibitors, particularly with PD-L1/PD-1 targeting agents, have benefited a broad range of patients with cancer. How will we improve on this?

A: It’s true that PD-L1/PD-1 inhibitors have led to durable responses in a subset of patients, and survival benefit in many of the patients treated- either as monotherapy or combination.

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Call from PMWC 2019 Silicon Valley Program Committee – We Must Accelerate and Deliver on the Promise of Precision Medicine

Precision medicine advancements are real as demonstrated by the high volume of molecular, “precise” drugs on the market, which are based on extensive molecular and translational understanding of the specific drug targets.

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#AI Play in Patient Diagnosis? How Can We Prepare the Next Generation to Make Sense of Enormous Amounts of Health-related Data?

What role should artificial intelligence play in patient diagnosis? How can we best prepare the next generation to make sense of enormous amounts of health-related data? These were just a few of the questions explored at the 15th Precision Medicine World Conference held at Duke University September 24-25, 2018.

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Interview with Daniella Beller, Manager, Maccabi Research Institute Biobank

Q: What makes the Maccabi Research Institute biobank unique?

A: To explain the uniqueness of the Maccabi Biobank (named “Tipa” in Hebrew which means “drop” or “just a little”), first you must know a little about Maccabi.

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Why We Need Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) To Foster Drug Discovery

Investments in pharma R&D has substantially increased over the last decades. Yet there appears to be no clear correlation to the number of newly approved drugs. This fact is accompanied by ever-increasing healthcare costs, fueled by an aging population and the parallel rise in the chronic disease burden.

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Precision Medicine: A Decade of Improving the Standard of Care

In January, PMWC will host its 2019 Silicon Valley event, the largest Precision Medicine conference in the world with over 2,500 attendees gathering at the Santa Clara Convention Center. We are humbled and honored to have reached this stage of growth and are looking forward to continuing our work with key stakeholders and decision makers across the industry to ever strengthen this forum for exchange of critical and timely topics, to move the field of precision medicine forward and to improve the Standard of Care.

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Interview with David Hong from Karius

Q: What need is Karius addressing?

A: Physicians often have difficulty pinpointing the exact pathogen that is causing disease. Conventional diagnostics like blood cultures or PCR can have poor sensitivity due to pretreatment with antibiotics, the breadth of potential pathogens present, and the requirement for invasive procedures to access deep-seated infections.

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Interview with Charles Jaffe, MD, PhD from HL7

Q: What need is HL7 addressing?

A: For more than three decades, HL7 has provided the platform to enable global health data interoperability. This is more important than ever, as the cost of healthcare has increased exponentially, and the complexity of clinical evidence has grown to an almost unmanageable state.

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Interview with Eden Haverfield from Invitae

Q: What need is Invitae addressing?

A: Our mission is to bring comprehensive genetic information into mainstream medical practice to improve the quality of healthcare for billions of people. Invitae is uniquely positioned to answer some of life’s most serious and complex questions with the highest quality genetics and at an affordable price.

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Call by Ralph Snyderman (Duke U.) for Big Changes to Get to the Next Level of Precision Medicine

Beyond next-generation gene sequencing and developing diagnostic tools and targeted therapies, theoverall approach to clinical care has to be re-envisioned to fulfill the promise of precision medicine. Care must move from sporadic treatment of episodic disease (a reactive mode) to predicting disease and then acting to prevent and mitigate it (a proactive mode).

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Interview with William Hearl From Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc.

Q: What need is Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. addressing?

A: Immunomic Therapeutics’ nucleic acid vaccines have the potential to utilize the body’s natural biochemistry to develop a broad immune response, including antibody production, cytokine release and critical immunological memory.

Read More

Interview with Ralph Snyderman from Duke University

Q: What are some of the critical contributions that academic institutions and medical centers are making to implement and accelerate precision medicine?

A: Over the past decade, the field of precision medicine has created technologies enabling far more personalized and effective health care delivery. Many of the most dramatic advances have come in the field of oncology but targeting care to the needs of the individual is rapidly achieving broader applications.

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Interview with Catherine Reinis Lucey from UCSF

Q: What research are you or your lab focusing on and why, and what problem(s) are you trying to solve?

A: My work involves designing, implementing and studying innovations in medical education that allow our medical schools to fulfill our social contract to improve the health of our communities and reduce the suffering of our patients.

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Interview with Gunnar Carlsson from Ayasdi

Q: What need is Ayasdi addressing?

A: Ayasdi is pioneering the application of artificial intelligence to value-based care by targeting two of the most complex problems in healthcare: population risk stratification and clinical variation management.

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Interview with Nikole Kimes from Siolta Therapeutics

Q: What need is Siolta Therapeutics addressing?

A: Chronic diseases, including inflammatory diseases such as asthma, now represent the leading cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide.

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Johns Hopkins
University Of Michigan

The Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC), in its 16th installment, will take place in the Santa Clara Convention Center (Silicon Valley) on January 20-23, 2019. The program will traverse innovative technologies, thriving initiatives, and clinical case studies that enable the translation of precision medicine into direct improvements in health care. Conference attendees will have an opportunity to learn first-hand about the latest developments and advancements in precision medicine and cutting-edge new strategies and solutions that are changing how patients are treated.

Agenda highlights:

  • Five tracks will showcase sessions on the latest advancements in precision medicine which include, but are not limited to:
    • AI & Data Science Showcase
    • Clinical & Research Tools Showcase
    • Clinical Dx Showcase
    • Creating Clinical Value with Liquid Biopsy ctDNA, etc.
    • Digital Health/Health and Wellness
    • Digital Phenotyping
    • Diversity in Precision Medicine
    • Drug Development (PPPs)
    • Early Days of Life Sequencing
    • Emerging Technologies in PM
    • Emerging Therapeutic Showcase
    • FDA Efforts to Accelerate PM
    • Gene Editing
    • Genomic Profiling Showcase
    • Immunotherapy Sessions & Showcase
    • Implementation into Health Care Delivery
    • Large Scale Bio-data Resources to Support Drug Development (PPPs)
    • Microbial Profiling Showcase
    • Microbiome
    • Neoantigens
    • Next-Gen. Workforce of PM
    • Non-Clinical Services Showcase
    • Pharmacogenomics
    • Point-of Care Dx Platform
    • Precision Public Health
    • Rare Disease Diagnosis
    • Resilience
    • Robust Clinical Decision Support Tools
    • Wellness and Aging Showcase

Agenda highlights:

    • Five tracks will showcase sessions on the latest advancements in precision medicine which include, but are not limited to:
      • AI & Data Science Showcase
      • Clinical & Research Tools Showcase
      • Clinical Dx Showcase
      • Creating Clinical Value with Liquid Biopsy ctDNA, etc.
      • Digital Health/Health and Wellness
      • Digital Phenotyping
      • Diversity in Precision Medicine
      • Drug Development (PPPs)
      • Early Days of Life Sequencing
      • Emerging Technologies in PM
      • Emerging Therapeutic Showcase
      • FDA Efforts to Accelerate PM
      • Gene Editing / CRISPR
      • Genomic Profiling Showcase
      • Immunotherapy Sessions & Showcase
      • Implementation into Health Care Delivery
      • Large Scale Bio-data Resources to Support Drug Development (PPPs)
      • Microbial Profiling Showcase
      • Microbiome
      • Neoantigens
      • Next-Gen. Workforce of PM
      • Non-Clinical Services Showcase
      • Pharmacogenomics
      • Point-of Care Dx Platform
      • Precision Public Health
      • Rare Disease Diagnosis
      • Resilience
      • Robust Clinical Decision Support Tools
      • Wellness and Aging Showcase
  • Luminary and Pioneer Awards, honoring individuals who contributed, and continue to contribute, to the field of Precision Medicine
  • 2000+ multidisciplinary attendees, from across the entire spectrum of healthcare, representing different types of companies, technologies, and medical centers with leadership roles in precision medicine
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