This episode features excerpts from an interview with Dr Holbrook Kohrt who was leading the way in researching the potential of immune agonists targeting 4-1BB (CD137). It is with great sadness that we must report that since this episode aired, Holbrook Kohrt is no longer with us. He died, aged 38, on February 24, 2016.

Dr Holbrook Kohrt Stanford

In-Memorium Holbrook Kohrt 

Episode Theme

Immune modulators come in two flavors – the much discussed checkpoint inhibitors that we featured in Episode 1 “The Checkpoints Show” are inhibitory and “release the brake,” while immune agonists are stimulatory and help to “step on the gas” and make the immune system more effective.

In addition to introducing the concept of immune agonists, this episode seeks to take our journey forward by discussing how they may be used in combination. You’ll hear again from Dr Tom Gajewski (Chicago), who you may recall from Episode 2 “The Immune Biomarker Show.”

Also featured in Episode 6, is Dr William Pao (Roche) who describes the company’s T cell focused strategy and how they segment new products into T cell effectors, modulators and generators.

You may recall hearing a “vignette” or mini-interview with Dr Pao in Episode 3 “ASCO Lung Cancer Show.”

Dr William Pao Roche

There’s also an excerpt from an interview with Prof Tom Powles (Barts) on checkpoint inhibitors in bladder cancer.  Potentially practice-changing data for atezolizumab in metastatic bladder cancer and nivolumab in renal cell carcinoma is expected at the forthcoming European Cancer Congress.

Additional Resources

The interviews on the podcast were originally published on Biotech Strategy Blog (subscription required) and are excerpted on the podcast with permission.

Holbrook Kohrt: “Holbrook Kohrt leads the way in Targeting CD137”

Deepak Sampath: “Gazyva and ABT-199 in CLL & NHL – an interview with Genentech’s Deepak Sampath.”

William Pao: “Do you need a CAR T Cell Therapy to be a Global Cancer Immunotherapy Company?”

Tom Powles: “Atezolizumab PDL1 Checkpoint Inhibitor will change Bladder Cancer Treatment”

Podcast Music

The music in this podcast episode is by electric violinist and composer David Schulman from his album Quiet Life Motel.


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This podcast episode is sponsored by Genentech. We’re grateful for their support.


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