Pre-Conference Workshop Day
March 18, 2024

8:00am Workshop A

Tackling Antigen Selection & Understanding Immune Tolerance in Autoimmune Diseases

  • Brad Hoffman Professor, University of Florida
  • Aaron Winkler Research Fellow, Immune Tolerance Lead, Inflammation and Immunology, Pfizer
  • Joseph Podojil Director - Immunology, Cour Pharmaceutical Development Company


Join this interactive, discussion-based, deep-dive session to discuss the basic science of tolerance approaches for autoimmune disease therapeutics and navigate antigen selection across homogenous and heterogeneous diseases to hone therapeutic strategies.

  • Putting B-cells in the spotlight to understand their role in inducing tolerance to an antigen
  • B-cells vs T-cells? Assessing which to go after and target in tolerizing strategies
  • Emphasizing mechanisms in immune tolerance and understanding the spread of immune tolerance to other antigens and the role of epitope spread
  • Assessing with T-reg directed therapies, is being non-antigen specific enough? Honing antigen-specific t-regs
  • Identifying multiple mechanisms and achieving immune tolerance; demonstrating preclinically and showing these mechanisms in in-human studies
  • Assessing antigen selection for complex diseases to identify target antigens
  • Tackling tolerance in complex heterogeneous disease settings rather than a well-defined population
  • Evaluating going after well-defined antigens vs diseases with multiple antigens driving the disease
  • Delving into bystander tolerance and exploring agnostic tolerance to deepen the understanding of antigen-specific tolerance mechanisms
  • Exploring the Epstein Barr Virus as a viral antigen in MS to illuminate antigen discovery and tolerance understanding
  • Mining big data for antigen correlations and to explore patient phenotypes to treat autoimmune diseases

10:30 am Morning Break

11:00am Workshop B

Building the Biomarker Toolbox for Practical Tolerance Strategies: Evaluating Biomarkers for Determinants of Efficacy, Patient Selection, & Durability

  • Glennda Smithson Director - Scientific & Translational Biomarker Research, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.
  • Christof Gaunt Founder in Residence - Immune Tolerance, Deep Science Ventures


This session is your opportunity to assess your biomarker toolbox from early-stage, preclinical research and practically translate to clinical studies

  • Exploring precision medicine to transform the treatment paradigm in autoimmunity
  • Delving into the relationship between mechanistic and disease biomarkers
  • Designing a biomarker program for clinical trials in antigen-specific tolerization
  • Using multiple parameters to understand the mechanisms of tolerization
  • Harnessing single-cell transcriptomic data for immune tolerance biomarkers
  • Assessing the feasibility of cell assays to develop simpler assays that can be used in clinical phase multi-center studies
  • Discussing both patient disease markers and mechanistic markers in tolerance studies, biomarkers of autoimmunity relevant to tolerance
  • Assessing functional assays of tolerance
  • Demonstrating bystander suppression via biomarkers
  • Investing in biomarkers to accelerate biomarkers as a tolerance endpoint – discussing what will regulators accept

1:30 pm Lunch

14:30pm Workshop C

Translating Antigen-Specific Immune Tolerance Approaches to Mitigate Immunogenicity of Biologic Therapies

  • Kei Kishimoto Chief Scientific Officer, Selecta Biosciences Inc.


Dive into harnessing antigen-specific immune tolerance strategies and expertise to inhibit unwanted immune responses against protein and enzyme therapies, AAV gene therapies, and more. Capitalize on your antigen-specific autoimmune tolerance approaches and capture this opportunity at your fingertips.

  • Understanding which cell populations become tolerized in drug-specific tolerance approaches Discussing pros and cons of applying antigen-specific immune tolerance technologies to anti-drug antibody responses vs treatment of autoimmune diseases
  • Highlighting how anti-drug antibodies can compromise the safety and efficacy of biological drugs
  • Identifying product opportunities for mitigating anti-drug antibody responses
  • Delving into a case study of translating an antigen-specific immune tolerance technology from a preclinical idea to a successful end of Phase III
  • Exploring the opportunity in gene therapy and how mitigation of immunogenicity can transform the field
  • Evaluating potential combination therapy approaches to tackle the most difficult immunogenic proteins