BlueSphere Bio Names Immune Oncology Pioneers to Scientific Advisory Board

BlueSphere Bio, an immunotherapy startup focused on creating personalized T cell therapies for cancer, today announced the members of its newly formed scientific advisory board. Composed of internationally renowned scientists with deep expertise that spans basic T cell immunology to cutting edge adoptive T cell immunotherapies, the board will provide vital guidance for BlueSphere Bio as it builds its science and clinical programs.

Members of the scientific advisory board include:

  • Carl June, M.D.: June is the director of both the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies and the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he also is the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy. June has pioneered both the concepts and technologies that have driven advances in adoptive T cell immunotherapy, including T cell growth, the genetic transfer of targeting receptors and gene deletion. His work led to the first United States Food and Drug Administration-approved gene-modified cellular therapy. Elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2012 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2020, June is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the Richard V. Smalley Memorial Award from the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, the AACR-CRI Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology and the Harrington Prize from the American Society of Clinical Investigation. He also is a founder of Tmunity Therapeutics.
  • Ulrich von Andrian, M.D.: The Edward Mallinckrodt Jr. Professor of Immunopathology at Harvard Medical School, von Andrian is a global authority on the trafficking of immune cells, specifically T cells. His work using live cell imaging of immune cells in living mice changed many long-standing paradigms in immunology. He is a recipient of the BD Biosciences Investigator Award and an elected member of the Council of the American Association of Immunologists.
  • Greg Delgoffe, Ph.D.: A tenured associate professor of immunology at the University of Pittsburgh, Delgoffe is a leader in studying the tumor microenvironment and how it impacts infiltrating T cells with a focus on metabolism. Delgoffe is the recipient of an NIH Directors’ New Innovator Award, the Young Investigator Award from the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy, a NextGen Star Award from the American Association of Cancer Research and an Emerging Leader Award from the Mark Foundation of Cancer Research for work in cellular therapy.
  • Marc Jenkins, Ph.D.: Jenkins is the Regents and Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and director of the Center for Immunology at the University of Minnesota. He is a well-recognized expert on T cells, with work that spans T cell receptors, activation and memory formation to the discovery that most T cells are outside of lymphoid organs. Jenkins is a past president of the American Association of Immunologists and a recipient of the Mentoring and Lifetime Achievement Awards from that organization. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2020.

Co-founded by University of Pittsburgh physician-scientists Mark Shlomchik, M.D., Ph.D., and Warren Shlomchik, M.D., and research scientists Constantinos Panousis, Ph.D., and Alex Rowe, Ph.D., BlueSphere Bio was established by UPMC Enterprises to use the novel TCXpress platform to create personalized T cell therapies for cancer and blood and marrow transplantation. TCXpress, invented and developed in Mark Shlomchik’s Pitt laboratory, is an efficient and cost-effective approach for procuring and characterizing T cell receptors, the key component for any T cell immunotherapy.

“BlueSphere Bio is a science-driven company, with innovation playing a pivotal role in our current and future success,” said Warren Shlomchik, chair of the scientific advisory board. “This board possesses the highest levels of talent and expertise in all of the disciplines critical for BlueSphere’s continued growth.”

“Drs. June, von Andrian, Delgoffe and Jenkins all are accomplished innovators in this field, and together the advisory board will ensure that we are leveraging our research and technology to its fullest potential for the benefit of patients,” added David Apelian, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., BlueSphere Bio chief executive officer.

UPMC, through its commercialization arm UPMC Enterprises, has committed to investing $1 billion in drugs, diagnostics and devices by 2024. That includes its original $200 million commitment to the Immune Transplant and Therapy Center, a concerted effort between the health system and Pitt to harness the power of the human immune system to treat and cure a wide range of diseases. Over the past two years, UPMC Enterprises has formed five companies in the translational sciences sector — including BlueSphere Bio — and invested in external biotech companies and research projects aimed at dramatically improving care for patients while generating a financial return for UPMC.