PepTalk 2017
PepTalk 2017


George Damis Yancopoulos M.D., Ph.D., President of the Laboratories & Chief Scientific Officer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
Dr. Yancopoulos graduated as valedictorian of both the Bronx High School of Science and Columbia College, and earned his advanced degrees at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. Following widely-recognized work in the field of molecular immunology at Columbia with Dr. Fred Alt, Dr. Yancopoulos left academia in 1989 as founding scientist for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, where he continues to serve as President of the Laboratories and Chief Scientific Officer. He is also adjunct full professor at Columbia University and was awarded Columbia’s Stevens Triennial prize for Research and the University Medal of Excellence for Distinguished Achievement. Dr. Yancopoulos is widely regarded as a world leader in several fields of biology and has authored more than 350 scientific manuscripts. According to a study by the Institute for Scientific Information, Dr. Yancopoulos was the eleventh most highly cited scientist in the world during the 1990's. In 2004, he was elected to both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Sciences. Dr. Yancopoulos’ scientific efforts have focused on the discovery of growth factors (such as the neurotrophins, ephrins and angiopoietins), their receptors, and their signaling pathways, as well as on developing new platforms for target and drug discovery such as Trap Technology, VelociGene and VelocImmune. His research has led to unifying models of molecular and biologic function, as well as new approaches to treating disease. Dr. Yancopoulos and his team have progressed numerous drug candidates to human trials, including the IL1-Trap which has recently been approved for treatment of an orphan inflammatory disease, the VEGF Trap for cancer and blinding eye diseases, and several fully human monoclonal antibodies for various indications, derived using VelocImmune technology.

Stefan Schmidt, Ph.D., M.B.A., CSO, ERBiotech
Dr. Stefan R. Schmidt has more than 14 years of managerial experience in Biotech and Pharmaceutical companies, and was previously Associate Director for Protein Science at AstraZeneca R&D (Sweden), with global responsibility of protein production and characterisation. In the past Dr. Schmidt managed protein research teams at GPC Biotech AG and Connex GmbH in Munich, Germany. He holds an MSc in Biology and a PhD in Biochemistry (Julius Maximilians University in Würzburg, Germany, 1996), and an MBA in Marketing (University in Gävle, Sweden 2009). In 2009 he joined ERA Biotech in Barcelona as VP Technology, directing the technology platform development. In 2010 he was promoted to the position of CSO, now taking the overall responsibility for R&D.

Volker Schellenberger, Ph.D., Vice President, Drug Discovery, Amunix
Volker is currently Chief Scientific Officer of Amunix Inc, which he co-founded with Willem Pim Stemmer in 2006. Volker is lead inventor of Amunix’ XTEN technology enabling the engineering of biotherapeutics characterized by long vivo half-life, low safety risk due to their biodegradable nature, and efficient recombinant production.
Volker has 17 years of industry experience in protein engineering and drug discovery. He served as Director of Genencor’s Protein Engineering department, where he invented Combinatorial Consensus Mutagenensis, selection by micro-compartmentalization as well as mutator technology. He focused on the discovery and engineering of antibody-enzyme fusion proteins. Prior to his work on biotherapeutics, Volker led projects optimizing enzymes for industrial applications as well as microbes for metabolic pathway engineering.
Volker received his Ph.D. from Leipzig University in 1986 for studies on protease catalyzed peptide synthesis. After postdoctoral studies at the Institute for Protein Research in Pushchino (Russia) he moved to the University of Göttingen where he developed a novel method for the production of peptides from recombinant peptide-multimers. After a postdoc with Bill Rutter at the University of California, San Francisco he joined Genencor in 1994. Volker is author of over 40 scientific papers and inventor of more than 70 issued or pending patent applications. He is the recipient of the Karl Lohman award of the German Society of Biochemists.

Joachim Feldwisch, Ph.D., Director, Pre-Clinical Development, Affibody AB
Dr. Feldwisch joined Affibody AB in 2002 where he worked as Project Manager Biotherapeutics and later as Director Preclinical Development. He received his MSc in Biology with main focus on biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Cologne and earned his PhD at the Max-Planck-Institute für Züchtungsforschung in Cologne in 1992. In the following years he worked at Pharmacia, Pharmacia&Upjohn and later Biovitrum both with biologicals and small molecule pharmaceuticals. His current research interests include optimization of small scaffold proteins as well as preclinical and clinical development of Affibody molecules for imaging and therapeutic use.

Ruben J. Boado, Ph.D., Vice President, Molecular Biology, ArmaGen Technologies, Inc.
Dr. Ruben J. Boado is Vice-President of ArmaGen Technologies, Inc. of Santa Monica, CA. He is also Professor of Medicine and member of the Brain Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Boado received a Ph.D. Degree in Biochemistry from the School of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, University of Buenos Aires (UBA), Argentina in 1982. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship and conducted research as Established Investigator at the UBA Center for Nuclear Medicine. In 1985, Dr. Boado joined the UCLA School of Medicine with a grant from the Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health (NIH). He was appointed Visiting Research Endocrinologist in the UCLA Department of Medicine in 1988, Assistant Professor in 1991, Associate Professor in 1997, and Professor of Medicine in 2001. At ArmaGen, Dr. Boado leads the molecular biology division, which is responsible for the genetic engineering, expression, and validation of novel recombinant fusion proteins, which cross the human blood-brain barrier (BBB). At UCLA, Dr. Boado's research program examined BBB genomics, and the genetic engineering of plasmid DNA for non-viral gene therapy for the brain. He has authored more than 180 scientific journal articles and book chapters in his field. Dr. Boado has served on numerous scientific review committees including the US Department of Energy, the Alzheimer’s Association and the NIH. Dr. Boado is co-inventor of U.S. and European patents related to BBB drug delivery.

Thomas Barnes, Ph.D., VP Discovery, Eleven Biotherapeutics
Dr. Barnes was previously Senior Vice President at Ore Pharmaceuticals (Gene Logic) leading the Drug Repositioning Division.  Prior to that, he was Director of Genomic Pharmacology at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, after leading the Millennium Biotherapeutics Discovery group.

Hing C. Wong, Ph.D., Founder, President & Chief Executive Officer, Altor BioScience Corporation
Dr. Wong has served as the President & CEO of Altor BioScience Corporation (Altor) since its inception in 2002. Dr. Wong has over twenty-eight years’ experience working in the biotechnology industry. Prior to joining Altor, Dr. Wong founded Sunol Molecular Corporation (Sunol) in March 1996, becoming its President and Chief Executive Officer. He engineered the acquisition of the plant technology-based company, Xios, in April 2002 and the spin-off of Altor in August 2002. In 2004 and 2005, Dr. Wong led the successful sales of Sunol’s anti-shigatoxin program to Caprion Inc. and the tissue factor antagonist program to Tanox Inc. After the sales of Sunol assets, he resigned from the executive office of Sunol to fully focus on development and advancement of Altor. During his tenure with Sunol and Altor, he raised over $68 million in capital via equity and debt placements, set up many major pharmaceutical/biopharmaceutical partnerships/collaborations, and managed multiple clinical trials. He is the principal investigator of multiple NIH grants, an inventor of numerous issued U.S. and worldwide patents, and the corresponding author of many scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals. He was a member of the Board of Directors of Sunol and Biosynexus, Inc. and was also on the Board of Trustees for the Rumbaugh-Goodwin Institute for Cancer Research. Dr. Wong spearheaded the merger of the Rumbaugh-Goodwin Institute for Cancer Research and Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Wong was the Director of the Department of Microbial Genetics at Cetus/Chiron Corporation from 1989-1992 and the Director of the Biology Skill Center of Baxter International from 1992-1996. During his tenure with Cetus/Chiron and Baxter, he made major contributions to the development of the approved drugs Proleukin® and Betaseron® and led the product development team and commercialization of Innovin®, Troponin I, Glucose Isomerase and Cellulon®. He received his Ph.D. degree in Microbiology and Immunology at the University Massachusetts, Amherst and conducted postdoctoral studies at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Ignace Lasters, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Complix
Ignace Lasters has more than 20 years of experience in the life science industry. He has published over 60 international peer-reviewed articles and is named inventor on numerous patent applications. His research experience involves various aspects of biochemistry, physico-chemistry and computer modeling techniques, applied to protein engineering and drug discovery.
Ignace holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the Free University of Brussels (1980). After a few years of post-doctoral research in the area of neutron and X-ray scattering of higher order chromatin, he joined the biotech industry in 1986. As head of the Computer Modeling Group in the Protein Engineering Division of PGS (now Bayer CropSciences, Ghent, Belgium), he focused on the development of 3-D modeling software for the design of improved industrial enzymes. In 1991 he joined Corvas International (now Dendreon, WA, USA) and headed up a team that discovered novel anti-thrombotics based on protein-based inhibitors against enzymes in the blood coagulation cascade.
In 1995 he went back to academia and spent 2 years as a senior researcher at the University of Louvain (Belgium), in the laboratory of Professor Desirė Collen, the inventor of t-PA and founder of Thrombogenics. Thereafter, in 1997 he became an independent consultant and executed projects for various companies, including Innogenetics, Keygene and Genscope, focusing on structural bioinformatics, biostatistics and advanced scientific programming applications. In 1999, Ignace co-founded Algonomics (acquired by Lonza in 2008), a bioinformatics services company dedicated to immunogenicity analysis of therapeutic proteins and antibody engineering. He combined the role of CEO and CSO at Algonomics until 2007. In 2008 he co-founded Complix and became its first CEO. Since June 2010, Ignace has assumed the role of CSO at Complix. Dimiter Dimitrov, Ph.D., Head, Protein Interaction Group, and Senior Investigator, Center for Cancer Research, NCI-Frederick, NIH Dr. Dimitrov joined the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA, in 1990, was tenured as Senior Investigator in 1993 and appointed at the Senior Biomedical Research Service in 2008. His research group includes ten molecular biologists who are experts in display/screening/libraries methodologies, antibody engineering, and microbial and cancer-related proteins, one structural biologist and one computational scientist. His major long-term goal is the development of clinically useful therapeutics and vaccines against infectious diseases and cancer based on human monoclonal antibodies and engineered antibody domains. He has authored and coauthored more than 300 articles cited more than 7000 times, and is inventor or coinventor of 44 inventions, patent applications or patents. See also his web site

Matthew Coleman, Ph.D., Associate Adjunct Professor, Radiation Oncology, University of California, Davis; Senior Scientist, Biology and Biotechnology, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Dr. Matthew Coleman is currently an Associate Adjunct Professor at the University of California, Davis in the Department of Radiation Oncology and a member of the NIH Cancer Center within the medical center. Dr. Coleman also holds a scientific appointment as a Senior Scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California.
Dr. Coleman’s research focuses on understanding the processes involved in genome instability following genotoxic stresses such as ionizing radiation. Dr. Coleman’s research also uses novel approaches in nanotechnology using nanolipoproteins to help characterize biological components involved in cell signaling.
Dr. Coleman’s training is in molecular biology where he received his B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, and his Ph.D. in biophysical studies of membrane proteins from Boston University. He has authored over 60 publications in peer-reviewed journals, published proceedings and book chapters covering a diverse breadth of molecular biology and biochemistry. Dr. Coleman has three patents and 6 patents pending related to biomarker discovery and biotechnology. For his work in the area of nanolipoproteins -membrane protein complexes Dr. Coleman received a Nanotechnology 50 award for co-development of his innovative approach to produce and solubilize membrane proteins using nanoparticles.

Jennifer Cochran, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Bioengineering, Stanford University
Dr. Jennifer Cochran is an Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at Stanford University, and a member or the Biophysics and Cancer Biology graduate programs. Researchers in the Cochran laboratory use both combinatorial and rational methods to engineer designer protein ligands, and have created protein-based agents for wound healing, stem cell and tissue engineering, and cancer imaging and therapy. Dr. Cochran has received the NCI Howard Temin Award, the Martin D. Abeloff Scholar Award from the V Foundation for Cancer Research, an American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award, and a Sidney Kimmel Scholar Award, and was named the 47th Mallinckrodt Faculty Scholar from the Edward Mallinckrodt Jr. Foundation.

Manfred Schuster, Ph.D., COO, APEIRON Biologics AG
Manfred Schuster studied Biochemistry and established during its PhD thesis an eukaryotic high throughput protein expression and purification system at the Genetics department of the Novartis Research Institute in cooperation with the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna. He joined the start-up company Igeneon in early 2000 and developed as program manager a protein based cancer vaccine until phase III clinical trials. He was further responsible for the preclinical development of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies with enhanced effector functions with a special focus on glyco-engineering technologies. He works since seven years at Apeiron Biologics, a Vienna based biotechnology company as COO, QP and VP for research and development.

Allen Krantz, Ph.D., President & CEO, Advanced Proteome Therapeutics, Inc.
Dr. Allen Krantz, from 1968 to 1974, was a member of the Faculty of Chemistry at Stony Brook University and from 1977 until 1982 also held an appointment in the Department of Pharmacological Sciences in the Medical School. From 1981 to 1994, Allen was Director, and then VP of Research at Syntex Canada as well as Distinguished Scientist, engaged in programs focused on enzymes as drug targets. From 1994 to 1997, Dr. Krantz served as Executive Vice President of Research at RedCell, Inc, as well as Directeur Scientifique of the French subsidiary (the forerunner of ConjuChem), and was responsible for transforming the company's program to a practical focal point on human serum albumin as a carrier of drugs. He is also a Founder of Pharmena North America Incorporated. Following short stints as EVP of the Research Foundation and Director of Patents and Licensing at the University of South Florida and then as Assistant Vice-Chancellor at UC Berkeley for University/Industry Liaison, Dr. Krantz established operations for Advanced Proteome Therapeutics Inc. in Boston. Dr. Krantz, a recognized expert in drug discovery and development, has 30 years of research and know-how dedicated to specific drug-targeting of proteins. He is an expert in the area of chemical modification of macromolecules, having developed several technology platforms which have been successfully applied to the selective modification of proteins.

Julio Camarero, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Dr. Camarero started his studies in chemistry at the University if Barcelona (Spain), received his Master degree in 1992, and finished his PhD thesis there in 1996. Afterwards he joined the group of Professor Tom W. Muir at The Rockefeller University as a Burroughs Wellcome Fellow where he contributed to the development of new chemoselective ligation techniques for the chemical engineering of proteins. In 2000, he moved to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a Distinguished Lawrence Fellow where he became staff scientist and head of laboratory in 2003. He finally joined the University of Southern California in 2007 as an associate professor. His current research interests are focused in the development of new bioorganic approaches using protein splicing and synthetic protein chemistry for studying biological processes involved in bacterial pathogenicity and how can be modulated or inhibited by small molecules. Dr. Camarero has authored over 40 peer-reviewed publications and four invited book chapters.

Anke Kretz-Rommel, Ph.D., Vice President, Research & Development, Anaphore, Inc.
Dr. Kretz-Rommel currently serves as Vice President, R&D at Anaphore. She has more than 15 years of experience in discovering and developing antibodies and protein therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Prior to Anaphore, she led multiple discovery and development efforts as head of the Cellular Immunology group at Alexion Antibody Technologies and was a key investigator on a first-in-class drug currently in clinical trials for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Dr. Kretz-Rommel received her Ph.D. in toxicology from the ETH Zurich, Switzerland.