Conference Day One

See all agenda topics and sessions covered at our 2021 event.

8:30 am
Online Networking Coffee

Targeted Therapy Strategies for Rare Autoimmune Diseases

8:50 am Chair’s Opening Remarks

  • Thomas Tedder Alter Geller Professor for Research in Immunology Departments of Immunology & Pediatrics , Duke University Medical Center


  • An Overview – Where We Are With The Underlying Pathology & Therapeutic Outlook

9:00 am Panel Discussion: Potential Therapeutic Targets for B Cell-Mediated Autoimmune Disease & T Cell Dependent Autoantibody Responses

  • Thomas Tedder Alter Geller Professor for Research in Immunology Departments of Immunology & Pediatrics , Duke University Medical Center
  • Lynne Murray Senior Vice President - Research & Development, MiroBio
  • David Alleva VP, Immunology, IM Therapeutics
  • Kea Martin Scientist (R&D), Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals


  • Sharing latest insights around the biological mechanisms in which B cell mediated autoimmune disease manifests and how this informs drug concepts
  • Looking at the intrinsic T-B cell crosstalk as a therapeutic target and modality
  • Learning how to make go/no-go decisions and demonstrating that a clinical candidate has disease modifying effects
  • Latest insight from T cell based and B cell targeting oncology immunotherapy to inform autoimmune disease drug development efforts

9:30 am Targeting KLRG1 + Cytotoxic T Cells for Depletion: A New Treg Sparing Approach to Address T Cell Driven Autoimmune Diseases


  • KLRG1 is expressed on a subset of the most cytotoxic T and NK cells
  • Depletion of these terminally differentiated cells is safe and effective
  • Damage in Inclusion Body Myositis and other autoimmune diseases is driven by KLRG1 + T cells

10:00 am Antigen-Specific Immunotherapy with Thyrotropin Receptor Peptides in Graves’ Hyperthyroidism


  • Apitopes® are designed to mimic naturally processed epitopes to restore the immune system’s natural balance (i.e. tolerance to a selfantigen)
  • ATX-GD-59 is a peptide mixture of two different, highly soluble apitopes® derived from TSH-receptor. Preclinical studies have
    demonstrated that ATX-GD-59 has a significant impact on the antiTSHR T cell and B cell response
  • A proof of principle study has demonstrated evidence of efficacy in the majority of patients by the reduction of the antibodies and hormones associated with Graves’ disease

10:30 am Investigating Mechanisms of Action of Targeted Cell Therapy and Choosing Indications for Autoimmune Disease

  • Samik Basu Vice President, Preclinical & Translational Research, Cabaletta Bio


• Understanding the natural mechanism of action of T cell subsets and their responses in modulating disease

• Discussing how these mechanisms can be leveraged for autoimmune disease

• Prioritizing indications which show promise for CAR-T-based approaches, and sharing rationale in preclinical development

• Sharing progress in pre-clinical development

11:00 am
Virtual Speed Networking Break

Targeting B Cell Maturation, Depletion & Differentiation Factors

11:30 am Optimizing B Cell Depletion in Autoimmune Disease

  • Venkat Reddy Consultant Rheumatologist and Honorary Lecturer, University College Hospital and University College London


  • Exploring mechanisms of resistance to rituximab
  • Understanding mechanisms of action of Type I and Type II anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies
  • Discussing alternative strategies to CD20 directed therapies in autoimmune disease

12:00 pm Signals Driving Transitional B Cell Activation & Their Role in Autoimmunity

  • Natalia Giltiay Affiliate Assistant Professor, University of Washington & Staff Scientist, Immunology Group, Kyverna Therapeutics


  • Transitional (TR) B cells are highly sensitive to programming by type I IFN and TLR7 signaling
  • TR B cells have the potential to produce autoantibodies and may play a key role in autoimmune disease initiation
  • B cell therapies known to target TR B cells continue to show durable efficacy

12:30 pm IMU-838: A Safe And Potent Inhibitor Of Dhodh For The Treatment Of Autoimmune Disease: Mechanism Of Action & Clinical Outcomes


  • IMU-838 is a safe and orally available small molecule inhibitor of DHODH for the treatment of autoimmune diseases
  • DHODH inhibition targets highly metabolically activated T cells
  • Targeting DHODH has an additional antiviral activity

1:00 pm NX-5948, a Selective Degrader of BTK, Significantly Reduces Inflammation in a Model of Autoimmune Disease

  • Ryan Rountree Senior Director, Preclinical Pharmacology, Nurix Therapeutics


  • NX-5948 is a chimeric targeting molecule (CTM) that engages the E3 ligase cereblon (CRBN) to promote the selective degradation of BTK without IMiD activity
  • NX-5948 mediates potent anti-inflammatory activity through inhibition of B cell activation
  • Preclinical animal models support further exploration of NX-5948 to treat autoimmune diseases

1:30 pm
Networking Lunch

Engineering Cell Immunotherapy to Treat Autoimmune Disease

2:00 pm Is Now the Time for Cell Therapy of Autoimmune Disease?


  • B cells participate in disease in the majority of autoimmune diseases
  • Effective cellular immunotherapies have a proven track-record for B cell leukemia and lymphoma treatment
  • Detailed studies in mouse models of lupus provide a roadmap for clinical trials in patients with systemic autoimmunity that is resistant to conventional therapy

2:30 pm Cellular Systems as Drug Development Tools

  • Simi Ahmed Senior Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, NYSCF

3:00 pm Checkpoint In Autoimmune Diseases – Target Approach, Challenges & Clinical Potential

  • Srini Ramanathan Senior Vice President, Research and Development Sciences and Site Head, Horizon Therapeutics


  • Learning how checkpoint agonism has the potential to counter disease pathophysiology in autoimmune conditions
  • Stressing the importance of selectivity in driving pharmacological effects
  • Identifying the right patients in the relevant diseases as a key determinant of the therapeutic success of this approach

3:30 pm Afternoon Break

Targeting T and B Cell Co-Stimulatory Pathways

4:00 pm Nck SH3.1 Domain Inhibitors for the Treatment of T Cell Mediated Pathologies


  • Nck inhibition offers the opportunity to broadly modulate T cell Receptor (TCR) signalling, permitting immunomodulation without immunosuppression
  • By modulating signalling at the T cell receptor, a key nexus of T cell function, a therapeutic can simultaneously address a broad swath of pathologies
  • Targeting the Nck SH3.1 domain orthosteric pocket with small molecules permits a selective, safe targeting of Nck and TCR function

4:30 pm Checkpoint Regulator, Neihulizumab, as a Novel Therapy for Immunological Diseases

  • Judy Chou President & Chief Executive Officer, AltruBio


  • Neihulizumab (AbGn-168H, Altrubio Inc, San Francisco, CA, USA) is a humanized IgG4 monoclonal antibody that binds to human PSGL-1 and regulates T cell functions.
  • It has been tested in psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, ulcerative colitis and graft-versus-host diseases with clear signs of efficacy and excellent safety profile.
  • PSGL-1 agonism is a valid strategy for developing therapeutic modalities in treating T cell-mediated autoimmune diseases.

5:00 pm From Wound Healing to Brain injury: B Cell Therapy for Tissue Repair

  • Ruxandra Sîrbulescu Instructor in Medicine, Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School


  • B cells can perform a variety of functions beyond antibody production
  • The interaction of endogenous and therapeutic cells can significantly impact the course of tissue repair
  • B cells are an effective, safe, and accessible therapeutic option for a variety of injuries

5:30 pm Chair’s Closing Remarks & End of Conference Day 1