Manuela CazzantiUniversity of Torino
Manuela is a Senior Scientist working in Paolo Michieli’s lab at the University of Torino. She holds a MSc degree in Molecular Biology and a PhD in Human Oncology, both from the University of Turin. Manuela started her career working for Paolo in 2006. As a PhD student, she studied the biological role of HGF/MET signaling in cancer and experimented new strategic strategies to target it. As a post-doc, Manuela started to work on the other intriguing side of HGF/MET signaling, namely regenerative medicine. Since then she is fully dedicated to the development and characterization -both in vitro and in vivo- of agonistic antibodies mimicking growth factors as innovative tools to promote healing and repair of disease-damaged tissues. In 2016 she co-founded EuremAb, a spin-off biotech company of the University of Torino specialized in therapeutic antibodies and in animal models of human diseases. In 2017 she co-founded AgomAb together with team colleagues at the University of Torino and collaborators at argenx.
Virginia MorelloUniversity of Torino
Virginia obtained a MSc degree in Molecular Biotechnology and a PhD in Biomedical Sciences and Human Oncology, both from the University of Torino, Italy. In 2011 she joined the laboratory of Experimental Therapy at the University of Torino, led by Paolo Michieli. Virginia actively collaborated with argenx on the preclinical characterization of ARGX-111, a MET-antagonistic antibody that is now being tested in the clinic. After completing this project, she started working on the physiological role of HGF/MET signaling in tissue regeneration. In particular, she focused her research on the development and characterization of HGF-mimetic antibodies and in their preclinical validation in different mouse models of disease. In 2016 Virginia co-founded EuremAb, a University of Torino spin-off company specialized in therapeutic antibodies and mouse models of disease. In 2017 she co-founded AgomAb together with team colleagues at the University of Torino and long-established collaborators at argenx.
Hans de Haardargenx
Hans de Haard is a serial pioneer of antibody platforms and has been active in the antibody engineering field since 1989, initially at AKZO Nobel. Subsequently, at the University of Maastricht, he created a large non-immune human Fab library that subsequently became a core asset of Dyax, yielding multiple therapeutic antibodies including ImClone products IMC-A12, IMC-1F8 and the recently approved anti-VEGFR2 antibody ramucirumab (formerly called IMC-1121B). From 1998 to 2002 he was responsible for the discovery of llama VHH-based products at Unilever. From 2002 until he joined argenx, Prof. de Haard worked at Ablynx NV as Director Technology Development, and latterly as Senior Director Discovery Research. He was responsible for setting up the Nanobody® discovery engine and introduced VHH formatting, which turned out to be a major advantage of this platform. He was centrally involved in the development of the Nanoclone® methodology based on B cell selection. During his career, Prof. de Haard has discovered numerous therapeutic antibody leads, seven of which are now progressing in the clinic. He holds a Master of Science in Biochemistry and a PhD in Molecular Immunology from the University of Maastricht. He is a Professor of Immunology at University of Franche Comté (Besançon, France).
Michael Saunders has been discovering novel drugs and selecting therapeutic targets for 25 years, and joined argenx in 2009. At argenx he has been responsible for External Research and the Innovative Access Program, Target Selection, has contributed to the discovery of six antibodies in clinical and preclinical development, and is responsible for academic collaborations and Alliance Management with Pharma partners. He has written and obtained 5 Research Grants (>12M€). Previously, Michael Saunders working for Ablynx NV as an independent senior interim project director leading the successful Nanobody Landgrab program selecting 100 therapeutic targets, and resulting in the identification of Nanobodies of therapeutic relevance against these targets, 20 patent applications, 4 internal drug development programs and 5 scientific publications. Previously he worked at Devgen and GSK. Michael Saunders holds at MA from Cambridge University (UK), a PhD in Biology from the University North Carolina (USA) and an eMBA from ESSEC (France) and Mannheim (Germany) business schools.
Federica C. LintyUniversity of Torino and argenx
After obtaining her MSc in Medical Biotechnology at the University of Torino, Federica worked in the group led by Paolo Michieli at the Candiolo Cancer Institute where, through a close collaboration with argenx, she generated, screened and characterized the MET-agonistic antibodies that represent the first asset of AgomAb. Expert in the generation of monoclonal antibodies through phage display and single B-cell cloning technologies, Federica joined argenx in 2015 where she has worked as Associate Scientist until the end of 2018. At argenx she has actively contributed to the development of several drug candidates, some of which are now in the clinic.