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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Candidate Selection

In recent years, significant advancement has been made in the clinical application of cancer immunotherapies. Molecules directed against immune checkpoints and other agonists show great promise for treatment of a variety of malignancies. In addition to CTLA-4 and PD-1 blockade, a wide range of therapeutics with the potential to reverse the tumour-induced suppression are under development. Despite the first successes, only a relatively small portion of patients benefit from these treatments, and it has been shown that combination therapies can improve the outcome. Today, over a thousand trials of immune checkpoints are running, resulting in some critical questions, such as:

• Are combinations being tested too quickly and that might never work
• Is the workload being doubled and efforts and chances of patients to participate in the most promising trials being wasted

Early evaluation of the effectiveness of candidate therapeutics and combination therapies can be done using mouse models and in vitro bioassays with primary mouse or human immune cells. Also, a better understanding of the tumour microenvironment and the steps needed to generate an anti-tumour response by the immune system will help design clinical trials and, ultimately, discover relevant biomarkers. Finally, dealing with the potential unwanted immunogenicity of oncology drugs is important, as the development of anti-drug antibodies (ADA) might lead to an altered efficacy and potency and autoimmune responses.

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Thibault Janss holds a master’s degree in biochemistry, molecular, and cellular biology from the University of Liège, Belgium. Thibault received his PhD at the Grappe Interdisciplinaire de Génoprotéomique Appliquée in Liège, where he acquired a strong experience in the immunology field, working on dendritic cells and T-cell interactions. During this period, Thibault also developed an in-depth knowledge of flow cytometry. He joined ImmunXperts as a Senior Scientist at the beginning of 2017.

Sofie Pattijn is the Chief Technology Officer and Founder at ImmunXperts, and has over 20 years of experience in the field of immunogenicity assessment and in vitro assay development. Sofie has extensive hands-on lab experience and has managed and coached several in vitro teams over the last decade. From 2008 until 2013, she was Head of the in vitro immunogenicity group at AlgoNomics and Lonza Applied Protein Services. Prior to that, Sofie worked at Innogenetics for over 15 years.
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