(August 2, 2017)

Sponsored by
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Cancer immunotherapy is rapidly evolving as successes from newer immune therapies have demonstrated effectiveness in harnessing the patient’s own immune system to help fight disease. This educational forum will offer real-world insights on critical issues associated with immuno-oncology therapies, from target selection to adverse effects. Speakers from global drug companies will share their thoughts on biology-related issues for translating new cancer immunotherapies during presentations and discussion addressing safety considerations, as well as methods and approaches to predict single agent versus combination value for emerging cancer immunotherapies. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Target selection and the immune response – how can disease biology help/hinder this process?
  • Adverse reactions unique to immune therapies – what is being tested to help predict these before human clinical trials?
  • Next generation immune therapies- what is driving innovation?

Guest Speakers:

Rakesh DixitRakesh Dixit, Ph.D.

DABT, Vice President, Research & Development, and Global Head, Biologics Safety Assessment

MedImmune (A member of AstraZeneca Group)

Dr. Dixit conducted extensive graduate and post-graduate training in Toxicology–Biochemistry with both Indian and US Institutions and is board certified in Toxicology from the American Board of Toxicology, Inc. since 1992. In December 1992, Rakesh joined the Department of Safety Assessment, Merck and Co., Inc. West Point, PA where he served in various management positions. During his about 14 years with Merck, Rakesh contributed to the successful filings of many blockbuster drugs. For about a year, Rakesh was associated with Johnson and Johnson PRD, La Jolla/Alza as Senior Director of Toxicology. In Aug 2006, Rakesh joined MedImmune, Inc. (an AstraZeneca Biologics company) to lead Global Biologics Safety Assessment, Experimental Pathology, and Laboratory Animal Medicine. In his current position, Rakesh is responsible for providing guidance on research and development of biological products; including nonclinical toxicology/safety support for all AstraZeneca-MedImmune biologics products, including monoclonal antibodies and vaccines. Rakesh has published more than 60 papers in renowned international journals and has given over 100 invited lectures/presentations/workshops in national and international meetings.

Approaches to Predict Single Agent vs. Combination Value for Emerging Cancer Immunotherapies

James SmothersJames Smothers, Ph.D.

Vice President, DPU Head, Immuno-Oncology & Combinations DPU


Dr. Smothers earned his doctorate in 1997 at the University of Rochester and completed his post‐doctoral appointment in 2000 at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. He began leading pre‐clinical research teams to validate immunotherapies for cancer and inflammation more than 15 years ago when he joined the Discovery Research unit at Immunex which was later acquired by Amgen. James is a named inventor on multiple patents which correspond to immunotherapies in Amgen’s pipeline and he has co‐authored several publications in the field of pharmaceutical and biotherapeutics medicines discovery. James joined the Oncology R&D unit at GlaxoSmithKline in 2010. In his current role, he leads a team of more than 50 research staff focusing on pre‐clinical and clinical studies of antibodies, small molecule chemistries and other drug modalities for immunotherapeutic treatment of cancer.