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Tomorrow's Health: The Future of Cancer Immunotherapy

What truly new frontiers are being opened in the fight against cancer?

Today, immunotherapy is one of the most exciting areas of new discoveries and treatments for different types of cancer.  The new generation of cancer immunotherapies is attracting high-dollar investments from leading venture capital and corporate players. However, competition is fierce with currently hundreds of compounds in development.   

Hear from experts from the academia, and the industry about the exciting developments and initiatives in Switzerland and how these aim to improve cancer patient treatment outcomes. The discussion will also shed light on both the scientific hurdles and the organizational challenges that the field is confronted with.

Immediately after the discussion, participants will be invited to join one of three different thematic breakout sessions followed by an interactive Q&A session with the speakers. Just type your questions into the designated chat box and hear them getting answered.



Organizer Swiss Business USA, Swiss Business Hub Germany and Switzerland Innovation
Event language



Online (CET/CST)

Cost of participating free of charge
Registration deadline

Event time: 11AM-12PM EST / 5PM-6PM CET

This virtual event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. The link to access the event will be provided upon registration.


5:00pm-6:00pm CET / 11:00am-12:00pm EST

Welcome by Sophie Cerny, Innovation Commissioner, Swiss business Hub USA

Panel Discussion

Choose one of the following live and interactive break-out sessions:

  1. Cutting Edge Academic Collaboration with Lana Kandalaft, Pharma D., Ph.D. and Andrea Alimonti, Prof.Dr.
  2. Combination Immuno Therapies with Pablo Umaña, Ph.D.  and Ana Cerdeira, Ph.D.
  3. Emerging Precision Medicine Technologies with Marija Plodinec, Dr. and Brian Hashemi, Dr.

Meet the Speakers

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Ana Maria Mendes Cerdeira, Ph.D.

VP, Strategic Planning and Portfolio Strategy of Molecular Partners

Ana Maria Mendes Cerdeira, Ph.D., is Vice President, Partnering and Strategy of Molecular Partners. Ana brings almost two decades of experience in global business development and strategic portfolio management to the team. Prior to joining Molecular Partners, Ana held several leadership positions at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, most recently serving as Vice President of Emerging Markets Portfolio Management, where she played a key role in defining the portfolio strategy and worked on several product launches, including Adcetris, Ninlaro and Entyvio. She led Global Takeda’s ATM department launching access programs across Emerging Markets. Previously, Ana also held several positions at Janssen Pharmaceuticals, including CMC Drug Product Leader and Head of the Formulation Science and Technology Center. She earned a MPharm from the University of Lisbon, Portugal and a Ph.D. from Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH Zürich), Switzerland.


Andrea Alimonti, Prof. Dr.

Head, Molecular Oncology, Institute of Oncology Research, CH; Prof. of Experimental Oncology and Translational Cancer Medicine, ETH Zurich; Prof. of Oncology, Università della Svizzera Italiana Lugano; Prof. of Pharmacology, University of Padua, IT

Prof. Andrea Alimonti, head of the Molecular Oncology at the Institute of Oncology Research is a full professor at the University of the Italian-Switzerland, at the University of Padova and at ETH Zurich.  He received several prestigious awards including the Swiss Bridge Award, the J. Steiner Award for cancer research (considered the “Swiss Nobel” for cancer research), the PCF Challenge Award and the Robert Wenner Prix. The major scientific contributions of Prof. Alimonti research include the identification of the relevance of “quasi-insufficiency” in cancer initiation and the discovery of a novel pro-senescence approach to cancer therapy based on immunotherapy.  His discoveries have inspired the design of several clinical trials assessing the role of MDSCs inhibitors in metastatic prostate cancer patients. These clinical trials are currently ongoing in Switzerland and other international cancer centers.



Brian Hashemi, Dr.

Managing Partner, Salus Partners SA and Chairman, Novigenix SA

Brian Hashemi is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Salus Partners SA, a leading independent asset management firm in Switzerland with special expertise in healthcare. A former NASA Principal Investigator and Researcher, Dr. Hashemi has extensive background in healthcare technology development and commercialization and has been an Assistant Professor at Baylor College of Medicine where he began his affiliation in the National Space Biomedical Research Institute. Brian holds a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Cornell University in New York, and an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Investment Management from The Wharton School in Philadelphia.


Marija Plodinec, Dr

CEO, Board Member and Co-Founder of ARTIDIS  

Marija Plodinec studied physics in Zagreb and received her doctorate in 2010 from the Maurice Müller Institute at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel. Dr. Plodinec is a recognized expert in the field of physical sciences in oncology and has co-authored important scientific papers and patents in this field. She is also a member of several international organizations focusing on cancer research and its clinical applications. She is a Senior Principal Scientist at the University Hospital Basel since may 2015. She co-founded ARTIDIS™ AG to further develop and market this platform for cancer diagnosis and prognosis. Since November 2017 she serves as the CEO of ARTIDIS™ AG and as a Member of its Board of Directors. She has been instrumental in the development of ARTIDIS™, a device capable of distinguishing benign from malignant tissue.

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Lana Kandalaft, Pharma D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor & Director, Center for Experimental Therapeutics, Department of Oncology, University of Lausanne; Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Ludwig Cancer Research Lausanne Branch

Prof. Lana Kandalaft is one of the key members of the Swiss Cancer Center in Lausanne Switzerland. She is currently the Cheffe de Service (Director) of the Center of Experimental Therapeutics, an integrated structure of clinical services, manufacturing facilities and laboratory platforms in the Department of Oncology, at the CHUV and the Swiss Cancer Center Lausanne aiming to take new cellular therapies from the lab to the clinic. She also is an Assistant Professor at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine. 
Prof. Kandalaft holds a Doctorate in Pharmacy and a PhD from the Welsh School of Pharmacy at Cardiff University, UK, and a Master's Degree in Translational Research from the University of Pennsylvania, USA. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship training at The National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, focusing on preclinical animal models and cancer therapeutics. She then continued working at The NCI as a senior research fellow before joining the School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where she held an appointment as an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Ovarian Cancer Research Center working on personalized vaccine development in ovarian cancer patients. She also was the Director of Clinical Development and Operations of the Ovarian Cancer Research Center at University of Pennsylvania where she played a crucial role in the development and implementation of cell-based and gene therapy clinical protocols.

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Pablo Umaña, Ph.D.

Head Cancer Immunotherapy Discovery, Roche Innovation Center Zurich (Roche Glycart AG)

Pablo Umaña obtained his PhD in Chemical Engineering and Biology from the California Institute of Technology in 1998 carrying out experimental work at ETH-Zurich. In 2001 co-founded GlycArt Biotechnology AG in Zurich-Switzerland, a company spinning out of research carried out at the ETH-Zurich, and headed its research since the company’s foundation. To date he continues to lead research at the Roche Innovation Center Zurich as part of the Pharma Research and Early Development (pRED) organization within Roche, after GlycArt was acquired by Hoffmann La Roche AG in 2005. 

He led the team that discovered and initially developed GAZYVA, a novel Type II CD20 antibody for the treatment of B-cell malignancies. GAZYVA was approved on Nov 1, 2013 by FDA for 1L CLL and is the first ever medicine approved by the FDA under the Breakthrough Therapy regime. He has also led the research for the generation and initial development of Roche-pRED’s tumor-targeted-T-cell bispecific, -immunocytokine and -immunomodulator platforms and drug candidates in the field of cancer immunotherapy.



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