Defining Fearless Science
If you’ve been reading “Thinking out Loud” since I started writing this blog, you know that we espouse the concept of Fearless Science. Meaning, we report what we see, even if it doesn’t fit the dogma. Take COVID vaccines for example. We say: T cell response matters (see our COVID page).
And finally, the ‘big guns” agree. At a recent Vaccine Technology meeting, a Pfizer representative pointed to T cells as the source and correlate of vaccine efficacy when asked how the BioNTech vaccine was working despite waning antibody responses. In April, I wrote about the importance of considering a robust T cell response for future COVID vaccines in addition to antibody responses. Indeed, T cell-epitope driven vaccines were the concept that launched EpiVax as a company over 25 years ago.
The vaccine industry is catching on, I joined 60 other academic and industry signatories on an open letter to the FDA, requesting that T cell response be included as a correlate of immune protection for future vaccines and boosters. Scientific American has a nice write-up, although it would even be nicer if they featured our work on T cell-driven peptide vaccines! Our EPV-CoV19 candidate is continuing to progress into clinical trials, and is likely to generate effective T cell response against all known variants of SARS-COV-2. To learn more about our approach, click on analysis of our vaccine below.
To be honest, we’re had to remain fearless for a long time. We have always faced skepticism from vaccine researchers about whether T cell response was relevant to vaccine design, and whether T cell-directed vaccines could offer improvements of existing antibody-focused vaccines. Since that point, we’ve published over 200+ papers validating our theories and vaccine design methods.
Fearless scientists are not afraid of sharing ideas, even if they go counter to dogma. That’s what my team has always done, right from the start.
Almost as good as meeting Jimin (BTS)! BioPharmGuy Fan Meet-up
It’s true! BIO 2022 in person was a blast, and we hosted an EPIC 25th birthday party that got a favorable review for the discerning and wonderfully snarky BioPharmGuy… now that’s pretty cool!
Meena Subramanyam on “Recipes for Success”
Did you catch our latest podcast episode? It was a pleasure having Meena Subramanyam on the show! Meena has held leadership roles at Takeda, Biogen and Merck-Serono and is an active member of the AAPS Women in Pharmaceutical Science Community.
This was a discussion that started back in March at the EpiVax Women in Biotech Summit. We asked Meena to come on the show to expand on some excellent advice she has for the next generation of #womenscientists.
I highly recommend this episode for any early career scientists looking for guidance on how to plan your career, navigate the challenges of family and professional life, and develop strong professional networks.
All past episodes are on our website, or you can subscribe on Apple Podcasts!
EpiVax World Tour, Fall 2022!
By my count, EpiVax will be traveling to almost a dozen seminars and conferences this fall! Whew!
We’re more than thrilled to be heading to Tokyo to kick things off with our much loved Westin Immunogenicity Seminar in Tokyo, Japan on Friday, September 9th 2022. We are looking forward to seeing our colleagues in Japan and to visit in-person after a three year hiatus. Here’s the link to save the date!
Then it’s up to Quebec City, Canada for the ISV Annual Congress! We are organizing a Pre-Conference Computational Vaccinology Workshop on Saturday, September 17th (with lunch!) for vaccine designers using iVAX or interested in learning to use the toolkit. Save the date here to reserve a spot!
November will find us in Basel for Festival of Biologics, Boulder, Colorado for Boulder Peptide Symposium(bring your skiis!), Boston for SITC, Barcelona(again) for PEGS Europe, and finally off to San Diego for World Vaccine and Immunotherapy.