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Dirk Nagorsen

Chief Medical Officer, Affini-T Therapeutics

Throughout his career in academia and industry, Nagorsen has pioneered precision immunotherapies that have transformed patients’ lives. He was one of the first scientists to describe naturally occurring T-cell responses against cancer, and led the development of the first FDA-approved bispecific T-cell engager, Blincyto. As Amgen’s VP, Early Development, Nagorsen oversaw 30 oncology programs, including what became the first approved KRAS targeted treatment, Lumakras. This product was a game-changer for patients and garnered FDA approval less than three years after its phase I trial started.

Nagorsen brings this same urgency to his role as CMO of Affini-T Therapeutics, leading development of its TCR-T cell therapies for the most intractable solid tumors driven by oncogenic driver mutations, beginning with KRAS G12V and KRAS G12D. The company’s platform combines TCR discovery, synthetic biology, and gene editing capabilities, leading to what he calls the “triad of conviction” – using the most powerful weapon in the human body, T-cells, in the most precise way.

We asked…

What are the biggest challenges affecting the field? 

There are those general challenges with cell therapy approaches for conditions beyond blood cancers, notably finding ways to develop strategies that improve T-cell persistence and durability. Fortunately, we are seeing approaches that aim to address these challenges by leveraging advancements made in computational biology, cellular engineering, gene editing, synthetic biology, and more to enhance T-cell fitness and promote a durable response. 

What advice do you have for those new to the cell and gene field? 

Embrace the fact that you are working on the forefront of science and paving the way for a whole new generation of medicines. Keep and spread the excitement!

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