Natural Killer Cells: Progress and Promise

Life Sciences, Clinical Trials, Preclinical,
  • Thursday, August 18, 2022

Natural killer cells (NK cells) have moved front and center as one of the most exciting therapeutic technologies in clinical development. They are considered by many experts to be the favored cell type in the fight against solid tumors.

The goal of this webinar is to provide a 360-degree view of the progress being made in NK cells, including technology, manufacturing and the promise and challenges as they move into the clinic:

  • Technology
    • What improved technologies for natural killer cell (NK cell) modification can improve persistence in vivo and create meaningful opportunities to elevate the standard of care in solid tumors and oncology in general
    • What is the lay of the land in the NK space (i.e., iPSC-derived NK, CAR-NK, gene switches and gene editing)?
  • Manufacturing
    • What primary models are emerging, and how do they differ?
    • What are the advantages of autologous vs allogeneic sources and various allo models, including iPSC-derived, apheresis-derived, placental-derived, cord blood-derived, etc.?
    • Avoidance of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and other side effects associated with T cell therapies projects a stronger case for off-the-shelf approaches. Given the side effects and logistical, scale and reimbursement challenges associated with existing T cell-based models, are NK cell therapies the key to broad-based adoption of novel cell-based therapeutics?
  • Clinical
    • What is the latest thinking regarding combination therapies to drive meaningful improvements in clinical outcomes beyond the current standard of care?
    • How might dosing strategies evolve to improve clinical outcomes?

Join the featured speakers to discuss natural killer cells, one of the fastest growing segments of the cell therapy industry.


Christina Coughlin, CytoImmune Therapeutics

Christina Coughlin, CEO, CytoImmune Therapeutics

Christina Coughlin, MD, PhD is the CEO of CytoImmune Therapeutics, an engineered natural killer cell company. Dr. Coughlin joined CytoImmune from Rubius Therapeutics, Inc. where she served as the Chief Medical Officer and led the clinical development, translational medicine and regulatory efforts in the allogeneic red cell therapy platform. Prior to Rubius, Dr. Coughlin was with Tmunity Therapeutics, Inc., where she served as Chief Medical Officer and was responsible for the development of autologous CAR T and TCR-T cellular therapies. Dr. Coughlin serves as Non-Executive Director on the board of Avacta Life Sciences in London, UK.

Dr. Coughlin has held other leadership roles in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology fields in her career including Chief Medical Officer at Immunocore, heading the development of the soluble TCR platform, and Oncology Asset Team Leader at Pfizer. Dr. Coughlin received her MD and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and completed fellowships in hematology and oncology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and in the Translational Research Group under the direction of Carl June, MD at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Evren Alici, Karolinska Institute

Evren Alici, Associate Professor, Cell and Gene Therapy Group, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institute

Evren Alici is the Group Leader of the Cell and Gene Therapy Group, HERM, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet. Evren received his MD at Ege University in 1999 and PhD from Karolinska Institutet in 2006. Evren’s main research interests are natural killer cells, multiple myeloma, lentiviral and retroviral gene transfer, stem cell transplantation and immunology.

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Volker Huppert, Glycostem

Volker Huppert, Chief Development Officer, Glycostem

Volker is a Bioprocess Engineer from Aachen University. He leads the development team at Glycostem Therapeutics B.V. (Oss, The Netherlands) with activities in process development, analytical development and genetic engineering. He set up a cell therapy manufacturing process and manufacturing team in a newly built and qualified clean room and prepared the manufacturing process from scaling to commercial needs.

In his previous role Volker has been leading the product development activities for hematopoietic stem cell and natural killer cell products for research use and as medical devices for cell therapy manufacturing with Miltenyi Biotec GmbH (Bergisch Gladbach, Germany), including cell separation, cell culture, transduction, functional assays and flow cytometry.

Volker has pioneered application development on the automated cell processor CliniMACS Prodigy, including NK cell culture.

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Martin A. Giedlin, Senti Bio

Martin A. Giedlin, PhD, VP, Head Tech Ops, Senti Bio

Dr. Giedlin is currently the VP, Head of Tech Ops at Senti BioSciences supporting the allogeneic CAR-NK programs. Before joining Senti, he led the PD groups at PACT Pharma (non-viral process for generating autologous neoTCR+ T cells), Poseida (non-viral process for generating autologous CAR Ts) and Novartis (clinical and commercial manufacturing process for Kymriahâ). His experience covers over 25 years of approaches to harness the immune response for cancer and infectious disease treatment, starting with Proleukinâ rIL-2 (aldesleukin; Chiron), oncolytic adenovirus (Onyx), Listeria-based cancer vaccines (Cerus) and CCR5 knockout CD4+ T cells for HIV+ patients (Sangamo). In addition, he led the implementation of AAV clinical manufacturing to support the hemophilia, LSD and neurodegenerative disease programs.

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Ezequiel Zylberberg, Akron Bio

Ezequiel Zylberberg, Vice President, Product Development and Planning, Akron Bio

Ezequiel brings more than a decade of research and operational experience to Akron, where he focuses on developing and delivering high-quality, industrial-scale solutions to accelerate cell and gene therapy commercialization. Prior to joining Akron, Ezequiel was a Research Affiliate at MIT’s Industrial Performance Center (IPC) and a strategic management consultant focused on supply chain optimization, innovation management and investment promotion across industries and around the world.

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Robert Margolin, Akron Bio

Robert Margolin, Vice President of Commercial, BioProducts Business, Akron Bio

Robert Margolin brings 14 years of business leadership and sales experience in the cell and gene therapy market, with a focus on business development and corporate strategy and execution. His experience ranges across cell therapy drug product and ancillary material manufacturing. Robert’s deep knowledge of clinical and commercial operations has driven process development, scale-up and design and configuration of electronic systems and logistics platforms for each stage of development. Robert has worked closely with the field’s leading companies and industry organizations throughout the US and Europe. Additionally, Robert played an instrumental role in the formation and growth of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine, serving as its Vice President of Communications, along with launching several of the field’s preeminent conferences and events. Robert’s network spans the entire industry encompassing KOLs from business, science, medicine, regulatory, policy and advocacy.

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Who Should Attend?

This webinar will appeal to preclinical and clinical researchers and study organizers at cell therapy companies.

What You Will Learn

Attendees will gain insights into:

  • Progress to date on natural killer cell (NK cell) therapy development
  • Technological strategies to enhance safety, durability and potency
  • Clinical promise and challenges associated with widespread adoption

Xtalks Partner

Akron Biotech

Akron Bio drives advanced therapy development and commercialization with high quality, industrial scale solutions. Akron’s strategic focus is supplying cGMP-compliant ancillary materials and services to enable the advancement of cell and gene therapies. These include cytokines and growth factors, human sera and purified proteins, cryopreservation solutions, plasmid DNA manufacturing and custom development services. In addition, our services and capabilities such as raw materials qualification, logistics and packaging optimization, bioassay design, validation, and regulatory services provide our customers with unique knowledge and expertise. As a regulatory compliant company (ISO certified), Akron supports clients with rigorous documentation and quality standards to fulfill their regulatory demands. Our unique capabilities allow us to seamlessly transition from R&D to preclinical and clinical development with minimal change control, and thus drive the emerging regenerative medicine sector to unmet clinical needs through affordable and seamless manufacturing options.

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