Dr Steven Townson | Principal Scientist, Clinical Research Oncology Early Development
Merck & Co Inc

Dr Steven Townson, Principal Scientist, Clinical Research Oncology Early Development, Merck & Co Inc

Dr. Townson is a Principal Scientist in Clinical Research Oncology Early Development within the Translational Oncology Group at Merck Research Laboratories. He is involved in the development and execution of clinical translational biomarker studies to elucidate biomarkers associated with tumour response or resistance to immune agents. Studies are conducted across a range of tumour types to investigate PD1 inhibitors alone or combination with agents disrupting pathways relevant to anti-tumour immune function. He and his team collaborate with key academic centres and other industry partners to develop these studies. He has developed many academic collaborations throughout his pharmaceutical career across a range of different classes of anti-cancer agents. Prior to Merck he held several academic positions researching developmental genetics and cancer biology.


Agenda Day 1 @ 3:15

Next generation biomarkers for the era of precision cancer immunotherapy

  • “Empiric” and “science-driven” approaches to clinical experimentation are synergistic, and enable iterative learning
  • Novel biomarker tools are needed to enable more accurate interpretation of clinical results from combination I-O clinical trials.
  • Precision immuno-oncology: Biomarkers that describe fundamental parameters of tumor immunobiology are needed to triage patients to the appropriate combination therapies.
  • Implications:
    • Clinical trial design (enrichment, umbrella, basket)
    • Diagnostics: Acceleration of novel biomarkers
    • Regulatory:  Accelerated approval for biomarker-defined populations; complementary diagnostics; tumor-agnostic labeling

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