Director of Immunology & Immuno Oncology
Sawsan has extensive expertise in Immunology with focus on autoimmunity and immuno-oncology, and a demonstrated record of carrying IO therapeutics into human trials. Sawsan received her PhD in Immunology from the Technion-Isreal Institute of Technology, where her thesis work focused on using DNA vaccines for targeted suppression of specific chemokines and cytokines for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) and rheumatoid arthritis in animal models. Sawsan then did her postdoctoral training at Stanford University in the Steinman Laboratory, where she focused on multiple sclerosis, exploring the inhibitory effect of statins on T cell differentiation and the reversal of neuro-inflammation in mice. This led to an investigator initiative phase I trial STAyCIS that exhibited positive data. Sawsan also worked on the effects of other metabolic pathways controlling the expansion of pro-inflammatory T cell subsets such Th1 and Th17 in MS.
In 2008 Sawsan Joined Rinat/Pfizer Inc. where she helped established the immunology department and initiated several antibody therapeutic programs focusing on immuno-oncology and autoimmune inflammation (lupus, psoriasis, IBD and MS). In 2013 she became the research project lead of Anti PD-1 (PF-06801591) now in:
Sawsan moved this project from initiation, through molecule discovery and into phase I trial in 2 years and was promoted to Senior principal scientist in 2015 as she worked across multidisciplinary teams at Pfizer to characterize the clinical candidate and support pre-clinical IND activities. Her pre-clinical work was presented at AACR 2017 and Phase I data will be presented at ESMO 2017.