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The Industry Insights Seminar Series is hosted by the Business Partnerships Office and sponsored by the BioEscalator.

  • First Tuesday of every month
  • 12.00 -1.00 pm 
  • Via Zoom
  • Networking & 1:1 meeting opportunities

Selected industry speakers provide seminars that are scientific in nature, across a range of medical or health topics.  Speakers are encouraged to bring along colleagues providing the opportunity to, not only attend a scientific seminar of interest, but also to network with industry scientists. One to one meetings can be facilitated upon request.  Seminars are suitable for all academics with some knowledge or interest in each topic area, from PhD students to PIs.  Although mostly aimed at an academic audience, those located in the BioEscalator and Wood Centre, as well as local spinouts, are welcome to attend. 

Please check the format of each talk before registering, as we will adapt to virtual or in-person seminars dependent upon the changing Covid-19 circumstances. 

Seminar Schedule

2 February 2021: Targeting the aryl hyrdrocarbon receptor (AHR) as a novel immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer

Company: Bayer AG

Presenter: Dr Ilona Gutcher - Group Leader Oncology

Abstract:  Current approved cancer immunotherapy treatments focus on stimulating anti-tumor T cell responses with antibodies against PD1/PD-L1 and CTLA4. However, tumor cells can also evade immune responses by upregulating tryptophan-degrading enzymes like indole-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO1) and tryptophan-2,3-dioxygenase (TDO2) to generate the immunosuppressive metabolites kynurenine (KYN) and kynurenic acid (KA). KYN and KA bind and activate the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), which is expressed in many cell types and is well known for its broad immunosuppressive effects. Targeting the AhR with an inhibitor may therefore provide a novel immunotherapeutic approach for enhancing anti-tumoral immune responses and treating cancer.

Here we describe for the discovery and functional characterization of the first-in-class small molecule AhR inhibitor BAY 2416964. BAY 2416964 is a novel, selective and potent inhibitor of AhR that inhibits nuclear translocation of AhR and its ensuing transcriptional activity. In vitro, BAY 2416964 stimulates the pro-inflammatory activity of human T cells and KA-suppressed monocytes. In vivo, BAY 2416964 treatment inhibits tumor growth in CT26 and B16-OVA syngeneic tumor models, the latter demonstrating increases in CD8+ T cells and NK cells, and decreases in suppressive myeloid cells, in the tumor microenvironment.

Based on promising pre-clinical data, a first-in-human phase I clinical trial was initiated in 2019 in patients with advanced solid malignancies to investigate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and preliminary anti-tumor activity of BAY 2416964 ( NCT04069026). Exploratory analyses include assessment of human PK; evaluation of target engagement; assessment of immune cell markers in the tumor microenvironment and profiling of an AhR gene signature. Dose escalation of BAY 2416964 is currently ongoing.


Changes to the event format

These events are usually in person at the BioEscalator. However, due to Covid-19, these seminars will be given virtually. Once back in person there will be limited in-person tickets for BioEscalator tenants, please contact Elodie Siney/reception if you would like to secure an in-person place.


Please contact either Sheena Lee or the BioEscalator if you have any questions.

If you have an industry partner you would like to invite to speak, please contact Sheena Lee.

Previous Talks

5 January 2021: Exosome-Based Therapies for the Treatment of Rare Genetic Diseases

Company: Evox Therapeutics 

Presenter: David Lowe - Vice President, Research

6 October 2020: Maintaining Human Livers Outside Of The Body: From Advances In Transplant Medicine To Developing Liver Nash Therapies

Company: Ochre Bio & OrganOx

Presenters: Quin Wills & Jack O'Meara, CSO and CEO Ochre Bio and Andy Self, Commercial Director at OrganOx

1 September 2020: Biotherapeutic Medicines From Botulinum Neurotoxins

Company: Ipsen

Presenter: Matthew Beard

7 July 2020: Translational Science & Medicine In Industry

Company: Janssen R&D

 Presenter: Luke Devey, VP Translational science

2 June 2020: A Multi-Omics Approach For Type 2 Diabetes Target Discovery: Identification And Characterisation Of Disease-Specific Small Open Reading Frame Encoded Peptides

 Company: Novo Nordisk

 Presenter: Dr. Bill Haynes, Site Head and Vice President, Novo Nordisk Research Centre Oxford

3 March 2020: Deep Learning Based Image Enhancement In Positron Emission Tomography

Company: GE Healthcare

Presenter: Dr Abolfazl Mehranian - Imaging Scientist 

4 February 2020: What Disease? – Do We Have The Right Approach To Disease Classification And How This Should Impact Our Approach To Treatment

Company: Sensyne Health 

Presenter: Dr Rabia Khan - Chief of Translational Medicine 

7 January 2020: Utility Of Non-Invasive Image Derived Biomarkers To Characterise Health And Disease: Advances Towards Personalised Medicine

Company: Perspectum Diagnostics Ltd

 Presenter: Dr Andrea Dennis - Head of Biomarker Sciences

4 December 2019: When Less Is More - A New Twist To GalNAc-Conjugated siRNA For Treatment Of Liver-Related Disorders

Company: Silence Therapeutics

 Presenter: Dr Marie Wikstrom Lindholm - VP Head of Technology Innovation 

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