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International network

Hani Gabra appointed CMO at BerGenBio

Professor Hani Gabra was recently appointed Chief Medical Officer at BerGenBio, based in Oxford UK. Professor Gabra has been part of CCBIO's network of international affiliated researchers since 2016, and considers his affiliation to CCBIO both an advantage and a prerequisite for his role as CMO for BerGenBio. He also finds there are clear opportunities for increased interaction between BerGenBio and CCBIO.

Driving AXL targeting therapies forward

At CCBIO, we have had the pleasure of collaborating with Hani Gabra since 2016, when he was included in our network of international affiliated researchers in a 10% adjunct professor position. We had a conversation with Professor Gabra about his new role at BerGenBio.

"It is a great pleasure to be working with the leadership team at BerGenBio and the external clinical and basic research community to drive forward AXL targeting therapies into the clinic," Gabra says.

"Over the years, my work on regulation of receptor tyrosine kinase networks including AXL and my work in translational cancer medicine has slowly converged, strengthening my view that anti-AXL therapy should be an important tool in the armamentarium of cancer treatment. After a period as VP in early clinical development at AstraZeneca, I now feel able to take up the challenging role of leading clinical development of AXL targeting therapies. In my role as a member of the leadership team at BerGenBio I get to contribute to delivering these assets as new treatments to patients with cancer as soon as possible," he continues.

Close collaboration

Professor Gabra considers his affiliation to CCBIO an advantage and a prerequisite for his role as CMO for BerGenBio.

"Not only is my affiliation to CCBIO an advantage in my new role, it is also true to say that in the absence of my affiliation at CCBIO it would have been unlikely that I would have ultimately taken on this role," he explains.

"The networking and scientific awareness opportunities from CCBIO bring the Bergen researchers together with the external research community. It is through these networks that some of our closest collaborators with unique skill sets to help accelerate BerGenBio’s aims are to be found," he concludes.

Translational interface

He also finds there are clear opportunities for increased interaction between BerGenBio and CCBIO.

"A major and central theme for BerGenBio is that of precision medicine through the identification sensitive and specific predictive biomarkers to help select patients most likely to benefit from anti-AXL therapies", he explains.

"Precision medicine encompasses molecular and in-situ pathology, strong clinical trials conduct, together with novel technologies to better articulate appropriate patient cohorts. It is this translational interface – that receives “forward" translational science from preclinical space as well as “reverse" translational science whereby clinical observations are modelled in preclinical experiments – that is an outstanding opportunity for increased interaction between CCBIO and BerGenBio," he says.

3 tips to young researchers

As part of CCBIO's mission is to be a scientifically stimulating and inclusive meeting place also for junior researchers and students, and facilitate their scientific careers, we asked Professor Gabra what would be the 3 most important career tips he would give our young researchers:

"1. Be passionate about what you do and ask the big questions"

"2. Choose your mentors and your collaborators carefully"

"3. Take control of your career development and ensure you are progressively assuming more opportunities for scientific leadership top complement"

CCBIO is happy to see that Professor Gabra with this has consolidated his affiliation to the Bergen research community, and we look forward to more fruitful collaboration between BerGenBio and CCBIO!