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GET TO KNOW OUR CTO – ALISON MOORE, PhD

April 9, 2020

Alison Moore, PhD
Alison Moore, PhD
Chief Technical Officer
Alison Moore, PhD

What was your first job?

My dad was a pharmacist. He had an old-fashioned community pharmacy store and I would work for him in the summer. I helped him restock items in the back, where the pharmacy was. I also served customers who would come in for shampoo and other toiletries but working in the back with my dad was my favorite.

After my PhD, I did a visiting post doc fellowship at medical university in Germany. I was looking at intracellular calcium signaling in human thyroid cells to evaluate the TSH receptor signaling pathway.

Alison Moore, PhD

Why did you join Allogene?

I was fortunate enough to work with Amgen for 20 years, and I feel very lucky to have had the experiences I had there. I decided to leave after I realized I’d worked for the same company for such a long period of time. I wanted to be exposed to more biotech and to a different environment.

Once I hit the 20-year mark, I started researching emerging technology companies. I was very drawn to cell therapy because I’m a cell biologist. I felt cell therapy combined my experience and my roots in cell biology. Coincidentally, David reached out to me about the Allogene opportunity, and once we spoke, I knew I had found my new home. I had no reservations. I still don’t.

What is your favorite Allogene moment so far?

The day we got our first IND approved. That was my favorite day because putting an IND together requires so much work – so much fresh writing, so much collaboration from teams across the organization. When we received clearance for the IND to proceed, I felt we received our first validation as a company for all the work we had done together, on our own. I was so proud when it was cleared.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I’ve had the opportunity to play a part in several product launches. One of the most challenging launches is also the one I’m most proud of, the Repatha launch. I was proud of the giant BLA because it incorporated such forward-thinking science. Quality science will always be what makes me the proudest. This was a compilation of years’ worth of work across hundreds of people. I loved seeing the incredible coordination of work and the quality of the science.

Who is your greatest inspiration (personally or professionally)?

My father, who introduced me to medicines and where they come from, and who remained the same good natured man through terminal lung cancer; my sister, who, as a nurse, demonstrated exceptional compassion for all human circumstances; and the armies of non-executive staff in the field of biotechnology, who, through hard work and belief, are in pursuit of new learnings which collectively enable the future of medicine.

What is your hope for the future of cancer treatment?

My hope for cancer therapy is that, with a diagnosis in the future, there is a simple, one-time treatment that offers a cure. That instead of buying time, treatments restore life. That’s my hope.

GET TO KNOW OUR CSO – BARBRA SASU, PhD

August 27, 2019

Barbra Sasu, PhD
Barbra Sasu, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Barbra Sasu, PhD

What was your first job?

My first job was when I was 14 and I worked in a pharmacy at the photography counter. That was the closest thing to a science job in my hometown, which was in the middle of the countryside in Alfreton, England.

I had many jobs before I completed university. I worked at a cheese counter at the local super market (that was my favorite job), and I spent summers working in the factories. That was boring work that reinforced the need for me to do well in school and work hard to have a different future.

My first science job was a summer internship at my university biotech lab. I usually found something science-related to do when at university. My job was to recombine two plasmids to make a luciferase gene for bioluminescent luciferase assays. To do the assays I literally took freeze dried fireflies, pulled their butts off and crushed them up to make the reagent. It was a fascinating summer.

My first full-time job was at Amgen, after I did my postdoc. The day I walked in the door, I was asked to determine why some patients don’t respond to erythropoietin (EPO) when they have anemia. I sat in my office for a couple of months reading everything I could, created a theory about it, and spent the next eight years coming up with a product for it. It was nice being able to take something all the way from a textbook discovery to a potential therapeutic.

Barbra Sasu, PhD

Why did you join Allogene?

I joined Allogene because I believe CAR Ts are going to transform the practice of medicine, and I want to be a part of that.

What is your favorite Allogene moment so far?

Working together to get that first IND filed. The teamwork was excellent—everyone pulled together. We set a very tough goal for ourselves and I am proud we were able to accomplish it. I think the team atmosphere here is phenomenal.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am most proud of what we’ve accomplished here in research to develop our CAR T pipeline. We have pulled together an exceptional group of scientists who work collaboratively and believe strongly in Allogene’s vision. I’m very proud to work with everyone on this team.

Who is your greatest inspiration? (personally or professionally)?

Every mentor I’ve ever had is an inspiration. These people go above and beyond to not just do their own job, but to intentionally bring others up. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for my mentors, and I strive to give the same to those around me.

A few of my mentors include my lab supervisor in my PhD program, who taught me a lot about rigor and precision; my department head at Amgen, who taught me that accurateness is paramount (and that even typos on slides matter); and my direct supervisor at Amgen, who was not only a scientific inspiration, but whose death from glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer, makes me see on a personal level how important it is to target these rare indications, but grievous medical conditions.

What is your hope for the future of cancer treatment?

I’m focused on durability of response, so my hope is that cancer becomes a disease that you live with or eliminate, not a disease that kills you.

GET TO KNOW OUR CCO – CHRISTINE CASSIANO
April 9, 2020
Christine Cassiano
Christine Cassiano
Chief Communications Officer
Christine Cassiano

What was your first job?

I started working at 13 at a bookstore, the precursor to Barnes and Noble, before they had the internet to check your actual age. First at the information desk using microfiche, then at the register. I’d work there after school, on weekends, and full-time during summers. I learned to love books from my mom. We were book worms.

From the time I was in second grade, I knew I wanted to do something that would be broadcast from that massive piece of television furniture we had in the living room. I loved watching the evening news with my dad so I thought my destiny was to be a newscaster. Age cured that but not the general desire. My first corporate job at Sony Pictures learning about public relations made me realize I had chosen the right career track but the wrong industry. I didn’t have the right temperament for the entertainment business. When I found biotech, I found home.

Christine Cassiano

Why did you join Allogene?

I was only at Kite for a short period of time, but I fell in love with what we were doing. I joined Allogene to continue working in cell therapy.

What is your favorite Allogene moment so far?

Day 1. It was this new beginning, filled with the excitement of creating something new. It was filled with all the hope of what’s possible and people who believed in the future.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I’m most proud that I’ve found opportunities to push through the norm or the accepted to create something original and completely different. The highlights of my career are the moments when I’ve been able to breakthrough barriers or the questions from people who asked “why?” and instead make opportunities with like-minded people who embrace the “why not?”

Who is your greatest inspiration (personally or professionally)?

My parents. My dad was brilliant at finding loopholes, and he taught me from the time I was little how to do the same. He was always positive, didn’t take “no” for an answer, and found creative solutions. His voice in my ear has been instrumental throughout my career. My mom was so strong and wise beyond her years. She came down with cancer at a young age and battled it for a long time before passing away. Her strength and her journey motivate me in my work every day.

What is your hope for the future of cancer treatment?

My hope is that one day, what happened to my mom and her early death from cancer is only a story to be told or read about, not re-lived. That we as a society must remind ourselves through storytelling of a time in history when diseases like cancer “used” to happen.

GET TO KNOW OUR CEO – DAVID CHANG, MD, PhD

September 11, 2019

David Chang, MD, PhD
David Chang, MD, PhD
President, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder
David Chang, MD, PhD

What was your first job?

I had a few jobs in high school, but my favorite—although short-lived—was working at Baskin Robbins, scooping ice cream. It took me about three working days to taste-test all the flavors, and I left after I had nothing left to sample.

My first full-time job was a university faculty job—I was an assistant professor at UCLA.

David Chang, MD, PhD

Why did you join Allogene?

I saw a tremendous opportunity for both patients and the field of cancer therapy.

What is your favorite Allogene moment so far?

I’ve enjoyed watching the Allogene team grow, especially now that we’re in our new headquarters and have many teams in one collaborative space. My favorite moment happens every day—it’s when I come into the office and see more and more new colleagues who are clearly excited about the work they are doing here.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Personally, I am most proud that my wife and I celebrated our 30-year wedding anniversary this year. That is my greatest accomplishment. Professionally, there are two—the first was unequivocally demonstrating that the wild-type KRAS is required for response to the EGFR mAb therapy in colorectal cancer, and the second was seeing that 40% of patients with relapsed and refractory large B cell lymphoma have remained free of disease after a single infusion of KTE-C19, the autologous anti-CD19 CART therapy that became Yescarta.

Who is your greatest inspiration (personally or professionally)?

To me, this is a question that is more about who shapes my thinking and behavior. I have been fortunate to be around many amazing people. The list is long, but I would be remiss if I didn’t call out my parents, Phil Sharp, Dennis Slamon, Arie Belldegrun, and my wife, Jane.

What is your hope for the future of cancer treatment?

My hope is that cancer is no longer a life-threatening disease.

GET TO KNOW OUR CTO – ALISON MOORE, PhD

April 9, 2020

Alison Moore, PhD
Alison Moore, PhD
Chief Technical Officer
Alison Moore, PhD

What was your first job?

My dad was a pharmacist. He had an old-fashioned community pharmacy store and I would work for him in the summer. I helped him restock items in the back, where the pharmacy was. I also served customers who would come in for shampoo and other toiletries but working in the back with my dad was my favorite.

After my PhD, I did a visiting post doc fellowship at medical university in Germany. I was looking at intracellular calcium signaling in human thyroid cells to evaluate the TSH receptor signaling pathway.

Alison Moore, PhD

Why did you join Allogene?

I was fortunate enough to work with Amgen for 20 years, and I feel very lucky to have had the experiences I had there. I decided to leave after I realized I’d worked for the same company for such a long period of time. I wanted to be exposed to more biotech and to a different environment.

Once I hit the 20-year mark, I started researching emerging technology companies. I was very drawn to cell therapy because I’m a cell biologist. I felt cell therapy combined my experience and my roots in cell biology. Coincidentally, David reached out to me about the Allogene opportunity, and once we spoke, I knew I had found my new home. I had no reservations. I still don’t.

What is your favorite Allogene moment so far?

The day we got our first IND approved. That was my favorite day because putting an IND together requires so much work – so much fresh writing, so much collaboration from teams across the organization. When we received clearance for the IND to proceed, I felt we received our first validation as a company for all the work we had done together, on our own. I was so proud when it was cleared.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I’ve had the opportunity to play a part in several product launches. One of the most challenging launches is also the one I’m most proud of, the Repatha launch. I was proud of the giant BLA because it incorporated such forward-thinking science. Quality science will always be what makes me the proudest. This was a compilation of years’ worth of work across hundreds of people. I loved seeing the incredible coordination of work and the quality of the science.

Who is your greatest inspiration (personally or professionally)?

My father, who introduced me to medicines and where they come from, and who remained the same good natured man through terminal lung cancer; my sister, who, as a nurse, demonstrated exceptional compassion for all human circumstances; and the armies of non-executive staff in the field of biotechnology, who, through hard work and belief, are in pursuit of new learnings which collectively enable the future of medicine.

What is your hope for the future of cancer treatment?

My hope for cancer therapy is that, with a diagnosis in the future, there is a simple, one-time treatment that offers a cure. That instead of buying time, treatments restore life. That’s my hope.

GET TO KNOW OUR CSO – BARBRA SASU, PhD

August 27, 2019

Barbra Sasu, PhD
Barbra Sasu, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Barbra Sasu, PhD

What was your first job?

My first job was when I was 14 and I worked in a pharmacy at the photography counter. That was the closest thing to a science job in my hometown, which was in the middle of the countryside in Alfreton, England.

I had many jobs before I completed university. I worked at a cheese counter at the local super market (that was my favorite job), and I spent summers working in the factories. That was boring work that reinforced the need for me to do well in school and work hard to have a different future.

My first science job was a summer internship at my university biotech lab. I usually found something science-related to do when at university. My job was to recombine two plasmids to make a luciferase gene for bioluminescent luciferase assays. To do the assays I literally took freeze dried fireflies, pulled their butts off and crushed them up to make the reagent. It was a fascinating summer.

My first full-time job was at Amgen, after I did my postdoc. The day I walked in the door, I was asked to determine why some patients don’t respond to erythropoietin (EPO) when they have anemia. I sat in my office for a couple of months reading everything I could, created a theory about it, and spent the next eight years coming up with a product for it. It was nice being able to take something all the way from a textbook discovery to a potential therapeutic.

Barbra Sasu, PhD

Why did you join Allogene?

I joined Allogene because I believe CAR Ts are going to transform the practice of medicine, and I want to be a part of that.

What is your favorite Allogene moment so far?

Working together to get that first IND filed. The teamwork was excellent—everyone pulled together. We set a very tough goal for ourselves and I am proud we were able to accomplish it. I think the team atmosphere here is phenomenal.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am most proud of what we’ve accomplished here in research to develop our CAR T pipeline. We have pulled together an exceptional group of scientists who work collaboratively and believe strongly in Allogene’s vision. I’m very proud to work with everyone on this team.

Who is your greatest inspiration? (personally or professionally)?

Every mentor I’ve ever had is an inspiration. These people go above and beyond to not just do their own job, but to intentionally bring others up. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for my mentors, and I strive to give the same to those around me.

A few of my mentors include my lab supervisor in my PhD program, who taught me a lot about rigor and precision; my department head at Amgen, who taught me that accurateness is paramount (and that even typos on slides matter); and my direct supervisor at Amgen, who was not only a scientific inspiration, but whose death from glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer, makes me see on a personal level how important it is to target these rare indications, but grievous medical conditions.

What is your hope for the future of cancer treatment?

I’m focused on durability of response, so my hope is that cancer becomes a disease that you live with or eliminate, not a disease that kills you.

GET TO KNOW OUR CCO – CHRISTINE CASSIANO
April 9, 2020
Christine Cassiano
Christine Cassiano
Chief Communications Officer
Christine Cassiano

What was your first job?

I started working at 13 at a bookstore, the precursor to Barnes and Noble, before they had the internet to check your actual age. First at the information desk using microfiche, then at the register. I’d work there after school, on weekends, and full-time during summers. I learned to love books from my mom. We were book worms.

From the time I was in second grade, I knew I wanted to do something that would be broadcast from that massive piece of television furniture we had in the living room. I loved watching the evening news with my dad so I thought my destiny was to be a newscaster. Age cured that but not the general desire. My first corporate job at Sony Pictures learning about public relations made me realize I had chosen the right career track but the wrong industry. I didn’t have the right temperament for the entertainment business. When I found biotech, I found home.

Christine Cassiano

Why did you join Allogene?

I was only at Kite for a short period of time, but I fell in love with what we were doing. I joined Allogene to continue working in cell therapy.

What is your favorite Allogene moment so far?

Day 1. It was this new beginning, filled with the excitement of creating something new. It was filled with all the hope of what’s possible and people who believed in the future.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I’m most proud that I’ve found opportunities to push through the norm or the accepted to create something original and completely different. The highlights of my career are the moments when I’ve been able to breakthrough barriers or the questions from people who asked “why?” and instead make opportunities with like-minded people who embrace the “why not?”

Who is your greatest inspiration (personally or professionally)?

My parents. My dad was brilliant at finding loopholes, and he taught me from the time I was little how to do the same. He was always positive, didn’t take “no” for an answer, and found creative solutions. His voice in my ear has been instrumental throughout my career. My mom was so strong and wise beyond her years. She came down with cancer at a young age and battled it for a long time before passing away. Her strength and her journey motivate me in my work every day.

What is your hope for the future of cancer treatment?

My hope is that one day, what happened to my mom and her early death from cancer is only a story to be told or read about, not re-lived. That we as a society must remind ourselves through storytelling of a time in history when diseases like cancer “used” to happen.

GET TO KNOW OUR CEO – DAVID CHANG, MD, PhD

September 11, 2019

David Chang, MD, PhD
David Chang, MD, PhD
President, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder
David Chang, MD, PhD

What was your first job?

I had a few jobs in high school, but my favorite—although short-lived—was working at Baskin Robbins, scooping ice cream. It took me about three working days to taste-test all the flavors, and I left after I had nothing left to sample.

My first full-time job was a university faculty job—I was an assistant professor at UCLA.

David Chang, MD, PhD

Why did you join Allogene?

I saw a tremendous opportunity for both patients and the field of cancer therapy.

What is your favorite Allogene moment so far?

I’ve enjoyed watching the Allogene team grow, especially now that we’re in our new headquarters and have many teams in one collaborative space. My favorite moment happens every day—it’s when I come into the office and see more and more new colleagues who are clearly excited about the work they are doing here.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Personally, I am most proud that my wife and I celebrated our 30-year wedding anniversary this year. That is my greatest accomplishment. Professionally, there are two—the first was unequivocally demonstrating that the wild-type KRAS is required for response to the EGFR mAb therapy in colorectal cancer, and the second was seeing that 40% of patients with relapsed and refractory large B cell lymphoma have remained free of disease after a single infusion of KTE-C19, the autologous anti-CD19 CART therapy that became Yescarta.

Who is your greatest inspiration (personally or professionally)?

To me, this is a question that is more about who shapes my thinking and behavior. I have been fortunate to be around many amazing people. The list is long, but I would be remiss if I didn’t call out my parents, Phil Sharp, Dennis Slamon, Arie Belldegrun, and my wife, Jane.

What is your hope for the future of cancer treatment?

My hope is that cancer is no longer a life-threatening disease.

GET TO KNOW OUR CTO – ALISON MOORE, PhD

April 9, 2020

Alison Moore, PhD
Alison Moore, PhD
Chief Technical Officer
Alison Moore, PhD

What was your first job?

My dad was a pharmacist. He had an old-fashioned community pharmacy store and I would work for him in the summer. I helped him restock items in the back, where the pharmacy was. I also served customers who would come in for shampoo and other toiletries but working in the back with my dad was my favorite.

After my PhD, I did a visiting post doc fellowship at medical university in Germany. I was looking at intracellular calcium signaling in human thyroid cells to evaluate the TSH receptor signaling pathway.

Alison Moore, PhD

Why did you join Allogene?

I was fortunate enough to work with Amgen for 20 years, and I feel very lucky to have had the experiences I had there. I decided to leave after I realized I’d worked for the same company for such a long period of time. I wanted to be exposed to more biotech and to a different environment.

Once I hit the 20-year mark, I started researching emerging technology companies. I was very drawn to cell therapy because I’m a cell biologist. I felt cell therapy combined my experience and my roots in cell biology. Coincidentally, David reached out to me about the Allogene opportunity, and once we spoke, I knew I had found my new home. I had no reservations. I still don’t.

What is your favorite Allogene moment so far?

The day we got our first IND approved. That was my favorite day because putting an IND together requires so much work – so much fresh writing, so much collaboration from teams across the organization. When we received clearance for the IND to proceed, I felt we received our first validation as a company for all the work we had done together, on our own. I was so proud when it was cleared.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I’ve had the opportunity to play a part in several product launches. One of the most challenging launches is also the one I’m most proud of, the Repatha launch. I was proud of the giant BLA because it incorporated such forward-thinking science. Quality science will always be what makes me the proudest. This was a compilation of years’ worth of work across hundreds of people. I loved seeing the incredible coordination of work and the quality of the science.

Who is your greatest inspiration (personally or professionally)?

My father, who introduced me to medicines and where they come from, and who remained the same good natured man through terminal lung cancer; my sister, who, as a nurse, demonstrated exceptional compassion for all human circumstances; and the armies of non-executive staff in the field of biotechnology, who, through hard work and belief, are in pursuit of new learnings which collectively enable the future of medicine.

What is your hope for the future of cancer treatment?

My hope for cancer therapy is that, with a diagnosis in the future, there is a simple, one-time treatment that offers a cure. That instead of buying time, treatments restore life. That’s my hope.

GET TO KNOW OUR CSO – BARBRA SASU, PhD

August 27, 2019

Barbra Sasu, PhD
Barbra Sasu, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Barbra Sasu, PhD

What was your first job?

My first job was when I was 14 and I worked in a pharmacy at the photography counter. That was the closest thing to a science job in my hometown, which was in the middle of the countryside in Alfreton, England.

I had many jobs before I completed university. I worked at a cheese counter at the local super market (that was my favorite job), and I spent summers working in the factories. That was boring work that reinforced the need for me to do well in school and work hard to have a different future.

My first science job was a summer internship at my university biotech lab. I usually found something science-related to do when at university. My job was to recombine two plasmids to make a luciferase gene for bioluminescent luciferase assays. To do the assays I literally took freeze dried fireflies, pulled their butts off and crushed them up to make the reagent. It was a fascinating summer.

My first full-time job was at Amgen, after I did my postdoc. The day I walked in the door, I was asked to determine why some patients don’t respond to erythropoietin (EPO) when they have anemia. I sat in my office for a couple of months reading everything I could, created a theory about it, and spent the next eight years coming up with a product for it. It was nice being able to take something all the way from a textbook discovery to a potential therapeutic.

Barbra Sasu, PhD

Why did you join Allogene?

I joined Allogene because I believe CAR Ts are going to transform the practice of medicine, and I want to be a part of that.

What is your favorite Allogene moment so far?

Working together to get that first IND filed. The teamwork was excellent—everyone pulled together. We set a very tough goal for ourselves and I am proud we were able to accomplish it. I think the team atmosphere here is phenomenal.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am most proud of what we’ve accomplished here in research to develop our CAR T pipeline. We have pulled together an exceptional group of scientists who work collaboratively and believe strongly in Allogene’s vision. I’m very proud to work with everyone on this team.

Who is your greatest inspiration? (personally or professionally)?

Every mentor I’ve ever had is an inspiration. These people go above and beyond to not just do their own job, but to intentionally bring others up. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for my mentors, and I strive to give the same to those around me.

A few of my mentors include my lab supervisor in my PhD program, who taught me a lot about rigor and precision; my department head at Amgen, who taught me that accurateness is paramount (and that even typos on slides matter); and my direct supervisor at Amgen, who was not only a scientific inspiration, but whose death from glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer, makes me see on a personal level how important it is to target these rare indications, but grievous medical conditions.

What is your hope for the future of cancer treatment?

I’m focused on durability of response, so my hope is that cancer becomes a disease that you live with or eliminate, not a disease that kills you.

GET TO KNOW OUR CCO – CHRISTINE CASSIANO
April 9, 2020
Christine Cassiano
Christine Cassiano
Chief Communications Officer
Christine Cassiano

What was your first job?

I started working at 13 at a bookstore, the precursor to Barnes and Noble, before they had the internet to check your actual age. First at the information desk using microfiche, then at the register. I’d work there after school, on weekends, and full-time during summers. I learned to love books from my mom. We were book worms.

From the time I was in second grade, I knew I wanted to do something that would be broadcast from that massive piece of television furniture we had in the living room. I loved watching the evening news with my dad so I thought my destiny was to be a newscaster. Age cured that but not the general desire. My first corporate job at Sony Pictures learning about public relations made me realize I had chosen the right career track but the wrong industry. I didn’t have the right temperament for the entertainment business. When I found biotech, I found home.

Christine Cassiano

Why did you join Allogene?

I was only at Kite for a short period of time, but I fell in love with what we were doing. I joined Allogene to continue working in cell therapy.

What is your favorite Allogene moment so far?

Day 1. It was this new beginning, filled with the excitement of creating something new. It was filled with all the hope of what’s possible and people who believed in the future.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I’m most proud that I’ve found opportunities to push through the norm or the accepted to create something original and completely different. The highlights of my career are the moments when I’ve been able to breakthrough barriers or the questions from people who asked “why?” and instead make opportunities with like-minded people who embrace the “why not?”

Who is your greatest inspiration (personally or professionally)?

My parents. My dad was brilliant at finding loopholes, and he taught me from the time I was little how to do the same. He was always positive, didn’t take “no” for an answer, and found creative solutions. His voice in my ear has been instrumental throughout my career. My mom was so strong and wise beyond her years. She came down with cancer at a young age and battled it for a long time before passing away. Her strength and her journey motivate me in my work every day.

What is your hope for the future of cancer treatment?

My hope is that one day, what happened to my mom and her early death from cancer is only a story to be told or read about, not re-lived. That we as a society must remind ourselves through storytelling of a time in history when diseases like cancer “used” to happen.

GET TO KNOW OUR CEO – DAVID CHANG, MD, PhD

September 11, 2019

David Chang, MD, PhD
David Chang, MD, PhD
President, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder
David Chang, MD, PhD

What was your first job?

I had a few jobs in high school, but my favorite—although short-lived—was working at Baskin Robbins, scooping ice cream. It took me about three working days to taste-test all the flavors, and I left after I had nothing left to sample.

My first full-time job was a university faculty job—I was an assistant professor at UCLA.

David Chang, MD, PhD

Why did you join Allogene?

I saw a tremendous opportunity for both patients and the field of cancer therapy.

What is your favorite Allogene moment so far?

I’ve enjoyed watching the Allogene team grow, especially now that we’re in our new headquarters and have many teams in one collaborative space. My favorite moment happens every day—it’s when I come into the office and see more and more new colleagues who are clearly excited about the work they are doing here.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Personally, I am most proud that my wife and I celebrated our 30-year wedding anniversary this year. That is my greatest accomplishment. Professionally, there are two—the first was unequivocally demonstrating that the wild-type KRAS is required for response to the EGFR mAb therapy in colorectal cancer, and the second was seeing that 40% of patients with relapsed and refractory large B cell lymphoma have remained free of disease after a single infusion of KTE-C19, the autologous anti-CD19 CART therapy that became Yescarta.

Who is your greatest inspiration (personally or professionally)?

To me, this is a question that is more about who shapes my thinking and behavior. I have been fortunate to be around many amazing people. The list is long, but I would be remiss if I didn’t call out my parents, Phil Sharp, Dennis Slamon, Arie Belldegrun, and my wife, Jane.

What is your hope for the future of cancer treatment?

My hope is that cancer is no longer a life-threatening disease.

OUR CTO – ALISON MOORE, PhD

GET TO KNOW OUR CTO – ALISON MOORE, PhD

April 9, 2020

Alison Moore, PhD
Alison Moore, PhD
Chief Technical Officer
Alison Moore, PhD

What was your first job?

My dad was a pharmacist. He had an old-fashioned community pharmacy store and I would work for him in the summer. I helped him restock items in the back, where the pharmacy was. I also served customers who would come in for shampoo and other toiletries but working in the back with my dad was my favorite.

After my PhD, I did a visiting post doc fellowship at medical university in Germany. I was looking at intracellular calcium signaling in human thyroid cells to evaluate the TSH receptor signaling pathway.

Alison Moore, PhD

Why did you join Allogene?

I was fortunate enough to work with Amgen for 20 years, and I feel very lucky to have had the experiences I had there. I decided to leave after I realized I’d worked for the same company for such a long period of time. I wanted to be exposed to more biotech and to a different environment.

Once I hit the 20-year mark, I started researching emerging technology companies. I was very drawn to cell therapy because I’m a cell biologist. I felt cell therapy combined my experience and my roots in cell biology. Coincidentally, David reached out to me about the Allogene opportunity, and once we spoke, I knew I had found my new home. I had no reservations. I still don’t.

What is your favorite Allogene moment so far?

The day we got our first IND approved. That was my favorite day because putting an IND together requires so much work – so much fresh writing, so much collaboration from teams across the organization. When we received clearance for the IND to proceed, I felt we received our first validation as a company for all the work we had done together, on our own. I was so proud when it was cleared.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I’ve had the opportunity to play a part in several product launches. One of the most challenging launches is also the one I’m most proud of, the Repatha launch. I was proud of the giant BLA because it incorporated such forward-thinking science. Quality science will always be what makes me the proudest. This was a compilation of years’ worth of work across hundreds of people. I loved seeing the incredible coordination of work and the quality of the science.

Who is your greatest inspiration (personally or professionally)?

My father, who introduced me to medicines and where they come from, and who remained the same good natured man through terminal lung cancer; my sister, who, as a nurse, demonstrated exceptional compassion for all human circumstances; and the armies of non-executive staff in the field of biotechnology, who, through hard work and belief, are in pursuit of new learnings which collectively enable the future of medicine.

What is your hope for the future of cancer treatment?

My hope for cancer therapy is that, with a diagnosis in the future, there is a simple, one-time treatment that offers a cure. That instead of buying time, treatments restore life. That’s my hope.

OUR CSO – BARBRA SASU, PhD

GET TO KNOW OUR CSO – BARBRA SASU, PhD

August 27, 2019

Barbra Sasu, PhD
Barbra Sasu, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Barbra Sasu, PhD

What was your first job?

My first job was when I was 14 and I worked in a pharmacy at the photography counter. That was the closest thing to a science job in my hometown, which was in the middle of the countryside in Alfreton, England.

I had many jobs before I completed university. I worked at a cheese counter at the local super market (that was my favorite job), and I spent summers working in the factories. That was boring work that reinforced the need for me to do well in school and work hard to have a different future.

My first science job was a summer internship at my university biotech lab. I usually found something science-related to do when at university. My job was to recombine two plasmids to make a luciferase gene for bioluminescent luciferase assays. To do the assays I literally took freeze dried fireflies, pulled their butts off and crushed them up to make the reagent. It was a fascinating summer.

My first full-time job was at Amgen, after I did my postdoc. The day I walked in the door, I was asked to determine why some patients don’t respond to erythropoietin (EPO) when they have anemia. I sat in my office for a couple of months reading everything I could, created a theory about it, and spent the next eight years coming up with a product for it. It was nice being able to take something all the way from a textbook discovery to a potential therapeutic.

Barbra Sasu, PhD

Why did you join Allogene?

I joined Allogene because I believe CAR Ts are going to transform the practice of medicine, and I want to be a part of that.

What is your favorite Allogene moment so far?

Working together to get that first IND filed. The teamwork was excellent—everyone pulled together. We set a very tough goal for ourselves and I am proud we were able to accomplish it. I think the team atmosphere here is phenomenal.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am most proud of what we’ve accomplished here in research to develop our CAR T pipeline. We have pulled together an exceptional group of scientists who work collaboratively and believe strongly in Allogene’s vision. I’m very proud to work with everyone on this team.

Who is your greatest inspiration? (personally or professionally)?

Every mentor I’ve ever had is an inspiration. These people go above and beyond to not just do their own job, but to intentionally bring others up. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for my mentors, and I strive to give the same to those around me.

A few of my mentors include my lab supervisor in my PhD program, who taught me a lot about rigor and precision; my department head at Amgen, who taught me that accurateness is paramount (and that even typos on slides matter); and my direct supervisor at Amgen, who was not only a scientific inspiration, but whose death from glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer, makes me see on a personal level how important it is to target these rare indications, but grievous medical conditions.

What is your hope for the future of cancer treatment?

I’m focused on durability of response, so my hope is that cancer becomes a disease that you live with or eliminate, not a disease that kills you.

OUR CCO – CHRISTINE CASSIANO

GET TO KNOW OUR CCO – CHRISTINE CASSIANO
April 9, 2020
Christine Cassiano
Christine Cassiano
Chief Communications Officer
Christine Cassiano

What was your first job?

I started working at 13 at a bookstore, the precursor to Barnes and Noble, before they had the internet to check your actual age. First at the information desk using microfiche, then at the register. I’d work there after school, on weekends, and full-time during summers. I learned to love books from my mom. We were book worms.

From the time I was in second grade, I knew I wanted to do something that would be broadcast from that massive piece of television furniture we had in the living room. I loved watching the evening news with my dad so I thought my destiny was to be a newscaster. Age cured that but not the general desire. My first corporate job at Sony Pictures learning about public relations made me realize I had chosen the right career track but the wrong industry. I didn’t have the right temperament for the entertainment business. When I found biotech, I found home.

Christine Cassiano

Why did you join Allogene?

I was only at Kite for a short period of time, but I fell in love with what we were doing. I joined Allogene to continue working in cell therapy.

What is your favorite Allogene moment so far?

Day 1. It was this new beginning, filled with the excitement of creating something new. It was filled with all the hope of what’s possible and people who believed in the future.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I’m most proud that I’ve found opportunities to push through the norm or the accepted to create something original and completely different. The highlights of my career are the moments when I’ve been able to breakthrough barriers or the questions from people who asked “why?” and instead make opportunities with like-minded people who embrace the “why not?”

Who is your greatest inspiration (personally or professionally)?

My parents. My dad was brilliant at finding loopholes, and he taught me from the time I was little how to do the same. He was always positive, didn’t take “no” for an answer, and found creative solutions. His voice in my ear has been instrumental throughout my career. My mom was so strong and wise beyond her years. She came down with cancer at a young age and battled it for a long time before passing away. Her strength and her journey motivate me in my work every day.

What is your hope for the future of cancer treatment?

My hope is that one day, what happened to my mom and her early death from cancer is only a story to be told or read about, not re-lived. That we as a society must remind ourselves through storytelling of a time in history when diseases like cancer “used” to happen.

OUR CEO – DAVID CHANG, MD, PhD

GET TO KNOW OUR CEO – DAVID CHANG, MD, PhD

September 11, 2019

David Chang, MD, PhD
David Chang, MD, PhD
President, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder
David Chang, MD, PhD

What was your first job?

I had a few jobs in high school, but my favorite—although short-lived—was working at Baskin Robbins, scooping ice cream. It took me about three working days to taste-test all the flavors, and I left after I had nothing left to sample.

My first full-time job was a university faculty job—I was an assistant professor at UCLA.

David Chang, MD, PhD

Why did you join Allogene?

I saw a tremendous opportunity for both patients and the field of cancer therapy.

What is your favorite Allogene moment so far?

I’ve enjoyed watching the Allogene team grow, especially now that we’re in our new headquarters and have many teams in one collaborative space. My favorite moment happens every day—it’s when I come into the office and see more and more new colleagues who are clearly excited about the work they are doing here.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Personally, I am most proud that my wife and I celebrated our 30-year wedding anniversary this year. That is my greatest accomplishment. Professionally, there are two—the first was unequivocally demonstrating that the wild-type KRAS is required for response to the EGFR mAb therapy in colorectal cancer, and the second was seeing that 40% of patients with relapsed and refractory large B cell lymphoma have remained free of disease after a single infusion of KTE-C19, the autologous anti-CD19 CART therapy that became Yescarta.

Who is your greatest inspiration (personally or professionally)?

To me, this is a question that is more about who shapes my thinking and behavior. I have been fortunate to be around many amazing people. The list is long, but I would be remiss if I didn’t call out my parents, Phil Sharp, Dennis Slamon, Arie Belldegrun, and my wife, Jane.

What is your hope for the future of cancer treatment?

My hope is that cancer is no longer a life-threatening disease.

OUR CFO – ERIC T. SCHMIDT, PhD

GET TO KNOW OUR CFO – ERIC T. SCHMIDT, PhD

August 28, 2019

Eric T. Schmidt, PhD
Eric T. Schmidt, PhD
Chief Financial Officer
Eric T. Schmidt, PhD

What was your first job?

My first job was cutting grass. I was eighteen years old. It was also the hardest job I have ever had. I was hired by a landscaping company, working 9-10 hours a day doing physical labor. I did not know if I could get through the summer. I was making decent money, just above minimum wage, and I got a raise of 20 cents an hour halfway through the season. But I remember thinking, “Am I going to be able to do this for three months?” I think I lost 20 lbs.

My first “real” job was at UBS Securities, starting in 1995. I was a research associate covering the biotechnology industry. It was much easier than cutting grass. My job was to learn everything I could about biotechnology, and try to apply lessons from the past to investment opportunities in the future. It was (and still is) a luxury to be able to sit at a desk and think.

Eric T. Schmidt, PhD

Why did you join Allogene?

To make a difference. To try to change medicine. To try to create therapies that might truly transform the lives of people with cancer. In many ways I hope everyone at Allogene joined for that reason. The thought that there could be people walking on this planet in the future because of the work we’re doing is an amazingly powerful concept. I don’t even know if I can appreciate the meaning of that.

Why Allogene as opposed to other companies working on novel cancer therapeutics? The people. The Allogene team is exceptional. It is the best group of people that I’ve ever come across at a biotechnology company. I think, at the end of the day, it’s the people that matter the most. Strong science matters too, but the road to success is never a straight line in biotech, and the best people will be able to navigate the challenges that inevitably will arise.

What is your favorite Allogene moment so far?

The day that we treated our first AlloCAR T™ patient. That’s when it became real that we are doing this. When you put something into a patient for the first time, it’s a powerful moment, one filled with great hope yet also some apprehension. That’s when the work that we had been doing started to inflect toward something that really mattered.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Mentoring others to be better than I was at my job. Without a doubt. I was a research analyst for over 20 years and had the opportunity to hire, train, and advise many people who have gone on to accomplish far greater things in the investment world than I ever did. And some of them are now Allogene shareholders.

Who is your greatest inspiration (personally or professionally)?

My father.

What is your hope for the future of cancer treatment?

For the first time in the history of cancer therapy, we’re talking about the possibility of a cure, at least for some patients. We need to do better—we need to establish that treatments such as CAR T can be curative and advance them to the point where they are applicable to many more patients. But even during these early days of cell therapy, it is tremendous that we are talking about transformative outcomes for more patients. There is no doubt that in the next five years we will see more patients with an otherwise very poor prognosis presented with the opportunity to benefit greatly from novel therapies.

OUR EVP OF R&D AND CMO – RAFAEL G. AMADO, MD

Get to Know Our EVP of R&D and CMO – Rafael G. Amado, MD

January 29, 2020

Rafael G. Amado, MD
Rafael G. Amado, MD
Executive Vice President of Research and Development and Chief Medical Officer
Rafael G. Amado, MD

What was your first job?

My first job was as a physician intern in the emergency department of a trauma center in the south side of Chicago. I had not been in the United States very long (having moved from Spain), and what I saw was shocking—gunshot wounds, burns, car accidents, drug overdoses. It was daunting.

We were called “house officers” at that time because we basically lived at the hospital. I maybe made it to my apartment one out of four nights. I often thought about catching the next flight to Spain, where I was born, but I was too busy to even think about anything other than taking care of patients. It was brutal work, but it taught me so much.

My first full-time job after years of residency and fellowship was seeing patients as a faculty member at UCLA. I was an oncologist and hematologist, having completed my training there. I’d treat patients in the clinic for outpatient care; I’d rotate through the hospital wards, where I would be the attending on service and responsible for 40 or so patients at a time; and the rest of the time I would spend time in the lab doing basic research. I did this for 10 years after three years of fellowship.

Rafael G. Amado, MD

Why did you join Allogene?

I like to do innovative things and be stretched in my professional career. While our industry is heavily regulated, I believe there is always room for innovation. I knew this opportunity would provide exciting challenges. I also like the people and the “casual intensity” of the place.

The quality of the science is excellent. I have known David for years, and there are few people with his intellect and his capacity to focus on what’s important. I knew Arie from UCLA when I rotated through his clinic as a fellow; he has a track record of changing medical care that few people can claim. The conversations I had with the two of them about their vision for the company and how they want to evolve the field to allogeneic cells sources in liquid and solid tumors was exciting, and I immediately wanted to play a part in it all.

I must admit that I am also excited to get back to the West Coast, my home for over 20 years!

What is your favorite Allogene moment so far?

Well, I’m still pretty new, but I can think of two—both centered around the people. Prior to joining, I had the opportunity to meet with people I had admired for many years. This was absolutely a favorite moment. On my first day, I attended an internal Blood Cancer Awareness Month event and witnessed Allogene’s culture of comradery and celebration. People here enjoy spending time together. There is a lot of motivation and desire to help patients and make a difference, but also to have fun at work. That was great to witness on Day 1.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I feel that I have contributed to bringing drugs to the market without which some people around the world would not be alive today. The fact that in drug development we can use our ingenuity to make patients with cancer live longer is a precious gift.

Who is your greatest inspiration (personally or professionally)?

My father gave me a few of my favorite traits. He never gave up easily and he countered adversity with creative thinking and hard work. He was a great listener, and he taught me to listen to people for understanding. He also stayed with a problem until it was solved. He taught me to step back and look at a problem from different angles, to twist it around until it looks different, and to ask others for a different perspective. He was that way.

I enjoy music a lot, and I admire Bach both for his music and his ability to work day and night to produce glorious music. He was a humble man who did not flaunt his genius, even though he defined what western music is today.

I often read books about cosmology and like stargazing. I think the science is fascinating, and learning about the universe keeps me grounded and puts my problems and circumstances into perspective.

What is your hope for the future of cancer treatment?

Cancer research is iterative work that will continue to evolve and be punctuated by successes in specific tumors. But what’s the holy grail? Patients with epithelial metastatic tumors being cured. These tumors kill the majority of patients with cancer. My dream is that someday, I could say that I made a contribution to developing a cure for one of these devastating illnesses, such as metastatic colorectal or lung cancer. Cell therapy may be the answer—that’s what we at Allogene are here to figure out.

OUR GENERAL COUNSEL – VEER BHAVNAGRI

Get to Know Our General Counsel – Veer Bhavnagri

August 30, 2019

Veer Bhavnagri
Veer Bhavnagri
General Counsel
Veer Bhavnagri

What was your first job?

Leaving aside my time as a fast food cook, my first professional job was working at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. S&C afforded me the opportunity to work on novel and complex matters with some of the brightest lawyers and business leaders in the world. I am deeply grateful for that experience.

Veer Bhavnagri

Why did you join Allogene?

Allogene’s mission is to catalyze the next revolution of cell therapy through the advancement of allogeneic CAR T therapies. I joined Allogene to help further that important mission and work alongside a dedicated team and one that I greatly admire.

What is your favorite Allogene moment so far?

At one of our all-employee Town Halls, a patient who had received autologous CAR T therapy spoke about her story and treatment experience. She described the harrowing effects of cancer on her and her family and the importance of CAR T therapy in her treatment. Her story was a reminder of how all contributions at a company level have the potential to impact real patients and their families.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am proud of and grateful for the opportunity I had at Kite Pharma to play a small role in helping to develop autologous CAR T therapies. During my time at Kite, one type of autologous CAR T therapy progressed from preclinical stage to approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Supporting Kite during that time provided an invaluable and fulfilling experience.

Who is your greatest inspiration (personally or professionally)?

I am inspired by the families fighting cancer, and their stories. We understand that, in many cases, there is no time to wait for treatment, and we strive to keep our foot on the gas.

What is your hope for the future of cancer treatment?

I hope that biotechnology innovation leads to a cure for all cancers.

MEET CLINICAL
TRIALS MANAGER,
KARIMA AMIRI

At Allogene, the patient is in the center of everything we do, which is why our team is working hard to lead the next revolution in cancer treatment through the development of AlloCAR T™...

MEET CLINICAL
TRIALS MANAGER,
KARIMA AMIRI

JUNE 1, 2020

At Allogene, the patient is in the center of everything we do, which is why our team is working hard to lead the next revolution in cancer treatment through the development of AlloCAR T™ therapies. Karima Amiri, Senior Clinical Trials Manager on the Clinical Operations team at Allogene, demonstrated our values of focus and innovation when she worked through obstacles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure a patient’s safety while maintaining the progress of our clinical trial. A patient who is currently outside of the United States and was unable to travel due to current travel restrictions as a result of the pandemic, needed to get study samples collected that are critical to measuring the safety and efficacy of their treatment. Karima worked tirelessly through international import logistics and remained “on-call” to coordinate with our vendors and an international laboratory to ensure not only that the sample kits could get across international borders, but that the collection would pose minimal risk of viral exposure to the patient while maintaining the integrity of the collection.

The study samples are now safely back in our labs.

Despite what’s going on in the world, Allogene remains dedicated to revolutionizing cancer treatment for patients and providing “white glove” service to help clinicians treat their patients. We are proud to have people like Karima, and a clear example of our values on our team.

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