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About Sonia Portillo
Sonia Portillo is an associate editor of ADC Review/ Journal of Antibody-Drug Conjugates, an online, peer reviewed publication dedicated to following the developments of ADCs and other targeted therapies. Portillo studies cancer treatment from a pharmacological perspective, specifically in the area of precision and personalized medicine.

Articles by Sonia


PepTalk: The Protein Science Week – New Horizons, New Goals

Published on 02nd January

This year PepTalk: The Protein Science Week, one of the largest annual gatherings of protein science researchers in the world – now in its 17th year – attracts nearly 1,300 experts from academia, biotech and pharma.

Each year, these experts in the field of protein science come together in January for one week of intensive learning, networking and to discover new opportunities, apply alternative solutions, and develop new and exciting promising partnerships.

This year PepTalk: The Protein Science Week which will be held January 8 – 12, 2018 in San Diego, CA (USA), has much to offer.  Expect to learn about a wide spectrum of applied protein sciences with emphasis on upstream R&D engineering to downstream biologics production.

Something for everyone
Whether you’re a world-renowned researcher or a graduate student, PepTalk: The Protein Science Week has something to offer for everyone.

The conference programs will feature keynote presentations, case studies and new unpublished data from top influential leaders in academia and industry. In addition, a number of training seminars will combine the depth of a short course and length of a conference track across an even broader range of topics, allowing participants to enhance their knowledge and gain insight and perspective even more fruitfully than before.

And finally, dinner short courses will offer a unique, intimate setting to delve into a particular topic of interest – providing a great introduction for those who are new to a discipline or a helpful refresher for those who want to brush up on their knowledge or expand their horizons.

Antibody-drug Conjugates
During the Antibody-drug Conjugates | Engineering for Clinical Success (January 9-10, 2018), which is part of PepTalk: The Protein Science Week, various Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) are expected to share the latest updates about the engineering that has brought about today’s revolution in the development of antibody-drug conjugates or ADCs.

A number of experts will examines how to design safe and effective therapeutics. These experts will also explore options for selecting new targets and ensuring potency will be discussed, along with strategies for advancing ADCs to the clinic. This year, a special focus on fighting cancer will be highlighted including tumor penetration. And finally, issues addressing conjugation, stability, and the growing number of payloads will also be addressed.

Following the opening remarks by Ian Schwartz, MS, (CMC Expert, Antibody Drug Conjugate and Upstream/Downstream Process Development, Tech Transfer, and Manufacturing Ops, Sartorius Stedim Biotech), Rakesh Dixit, Ph.D., DABT, (Vice President, R&D, MedImmune/AstraZeneca) will deliver the keynote presentation in which he will discuss preclinical toxicity models of safety assessment, translational safety and therapeutic index, and clinical development of ADCs using precision medicine approaches. His presentation will be based on a case study.

During the ADC portion of PepTalk: The Protein Science Weeke, other topics will includr targeting solid tumors with antibody-drug conjugates (Dimiter S. Dimitrov, Ph.D., Senior Investigator, Center for Cancer Research, NCI/NIH), Understanding Stability of ADCs Utilizing Deconjugation of Small Molecule Drugs (Colin Medley, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Small Molecule Pharmaceutical Sciences, Genentech),

Julia Gavrilyuk, Ph.D (Principal Research Scientist, Chemistry Lead, Discovery Chemistry, Abbvie StemcentRx) will discuss the development and optimization of antibody-drug conjugates armed with DNA-damaging payloads while Floris Van Delft, Ph.D. (Founder & CSO, SynAffix) will address his company’s hydraSpace technology which represents a versatile ionic spacer to empower glycan-conjugated (GlycoConnect) ADCs.

Also, this year Applied BioMath will participate for the first time. The company has vast experience using Model-Aided Drug Invention (MADI) to support ADC research and development.  MADI leverages mechanistic PKPD and systems pharmacology which quantitatively integrates knowledge about therapeutics with an understanding of mechanism of action in the context of human disease mechanisms. When applied to ADCs, MADI allows the computational exploration of numerous scenarios, such as the analysis of DAR or overall design of the ADC, in a fraction of the time it would take to figure out experimentally.  Applied BioMath has previously announced collaborations with Zymeworks Inc. for QSP support for ADC  therapeutics intended for the treatment of cancer, as well as, with CytomX Therapeutics for the development of a QSP model of CytomX Therapeutics’ Probody platform.

Late last year, John Burke, PhD, Co-Founder, President, and CEO of Applied BioMath noted that his presentation will establishes that QSP models can be leveraged to help better understand biology, generate hypotheses, design novel ADCs, and to optimize the discovery and development of existing ADCs.

2018 and beyond
Last year, 2017, was a remarkable year in the development of ADCs. In January 2017 only 2 ADCs were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and commercially available in the United States. But before the year was over, 2 additional ADCs were approved, bringing the total number of commercially available ADCs to 4. This development has created much excitement in the field.

Without any doubt, the global market for antibody-drug conjugates is rising swiftly – in part owing to an increase in the number of patient with hard to treat cancers – and, in part, due to revolution in the understanding of cancer biology, novel, cutting edge, technologists and large investments and new research collaborations leading to the introduction of new, targeted therapies. During PepTalk: The Protein Science Week this year, expect to be dazzled with new developments and advances in the development of ADCs.

Finally, before coming to San Diego, make sure to download the conference app. Just like in previous years, the mobile app for PepTalk: The Protein Science Week remains vital to help you pull together the whole event, providing information on all sponsors, media partners (including ADC Review | Journal of Antibody-drug Conjugates) as well as the most up-to-date speaker and presentation information.

The app allows you to create custom schedules, navigate the exhibition hall, explore poster presentations – and so much more.

Gearing up for an exciting 2018, expect PepTalk: The Protein Science Week kick off a year full of promise.

A new year with new horizons and new goals.


Last editorial review: January 2, 2018

Featured Image: Downtown San Diego Courtesy: © 2010 – 2018. Fotolia |Used with permission.

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