Monday, October 26, 2015

"Blowing up the current paradigm": A preview of BIO Europe

By: Leah Kinthaert

On November 2, Iain Dukes, Senior Vice President of Business Development & Licensing, at Merck will be a panelist for BIO-Europe. On that day, BIO-Europe will partner with the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM) to showcase some of the most innovative companies in the cell therapy and regenerative medicine space. For a preview, you can watch Dukes at BioPharm America 2015 on a panel with others from Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH and Theraclone here. The discussion focused on how there is still a lot of unmet medical need and how Merck and others are advancing the science of immuno oncology quickly with bold investments.

PD-L1 Positivity and Response – "An emerging controversy is the importance of PD-L1 positivity with respect to response. Mercks' view is that there is a clear relationship between PD-L1 positivity and response." Said Dukes.

Data is still emerging – "When one starts looking at combination therapies, the story gets very complicated." Dukes explained. "Going away from traditional, you develop it per tumor type. Checkpoint inhibitors, other than radiation therapy, are the only treatment paradigm that works in multiple tumor types. It really blows up the current paradigm for how one explores drugs for development in cancer."

Check in on Merck – This panel is a great chance to get a follow up from Dukes on what the last few months have had in store for Merck and how they are leveraging advances in immuno-oncology. Beatrice Gerard of Quintiles will be moderating; other panelists include: Michel Detheux of iTeos, Mohamed Ragab of Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Philippe Lopes-Fernandes of Merck-Serono. This interesting mix of individuals representing big pharma and start-ups was a great discussion generator last year and promises to be very informative for both biotech start-ups looking for guidance and R&D looking to fill gaps and bring in innovation.

About Iain Dukes – Iain has more than 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical research, drug discovery, scientific and technology licensing, start-up company leadership, consultant to numerous biotech and venture capital organizations. Before joining Merck, he served as Vice President of External Research and Development at Amgen where he led the External R&D department in identifying, assessing and transacting scientific external licensing opportunities, as well as potential opportunities for academic collaborations and platform technologies. Previously, Iain was President and CEO of Essentialis Therapeutics, a small start-up company, and before that he served as Vice President, Scientific and Technology Licensing at GlaxoSmithKline, where he built a leading licensing organization. At an earlier point, he was the Head of the Ion Channel Drug Discovery Group, and later Head of Exploratory Development in Metabolic and Urogenital Diseases at GlaxoWellcome. Iain pursued initial research training at the University of Leeds, UK, and received his D.Phil. degree from the University of Oxford where he also received a B.A. in Jurisprudence. He was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Physiology at the University of Pennsylvania, while simultaneously completing training at Gray’s Inn, UK in anticipation of being called to the Bar.

You can see the description of the cell therapy and regenerative medicine events on November 2 and 4 here. BIO-Europe will be held in Munich, Germany.

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