Considering the nonclinical toolkit in I–O: assessing safety, understanding the TME & working towards an animal-free future

Immuno-Oncology Insights 2023; 4(1), 69–77

DOI: 10.18609/ioi.2023.011

Published: 17 April 2023
Kimberly Homan, Aaron Fullerton

Róisin McGuigan,  Editor, Immuno–Oncology Insights, speaks to Genentech’s Kimberly Homan,Director and Senior Principal Scientist, Complex in vitro Systems Lab, and Aaron Fullerton, Director, Investigative Toxicology, to take stock of the current state of play in the I–O nonclinical space and ask: where are we now, and where are we going?

Kimberly Homan directs the Complex in vitro Systems lab at Genentech, a core group focused on employing new predictive tools to enhance clinical translational outcomes. She has prior experience holding key leadership positions in two biotech startups, one of which she co-founded while in graduate school at UT Austin. As a co-appointed postdoc at Roche and at the Wyss Institute in Harvard, Kimberly invented methods to bioprint human tissues and use them to model drug disposition, mode of action, and safety. Kimberly holds a BSc degree in chemical engineering and PhD in biomedical engineering; she is also a former United States Marine Corps officer and veteran.

Aaron Fullerton obtained his PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology from Michigan State University, where he focused on the role of inflammation and aberrant immune responses to xenobiotics in the etiology of hepatotoxicity. He continued this research focus as a postdoctoral IRTA fellow at the NIH (National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute) where he investigated the roles of the innate and adaptive immune systems in the pathogenesis of drug-induced liver injury. In 2014, he joined Genentech’s Safety Assessment group and led a research team in the Investigative Toxicology Lab focused on identification of safety liabilities and elucidating mechanisms of toxicity in the areas of hepatotoxicity, immunotoxicity, and hematopoietic toxicity. Aaron currently leads the Investigative Toxicology Laboratory as they continue to support non-clinical safety assessment efforts for both small and large molecule drug modalities through the use of in vitro human and animal cell models.