In my role as Head of Clinical Development, Immunology, I lead a team of physicians, clinical scientists and project leaders to deliver the medicines in our late-stage Immunology portfolio. We are taking our experience and knowledge from decades of research into inflammatory pathways in respiratory to move into immunology with a focus on three key disease areas; Gastroenterology, Dermatology and Rheumatology.

My early research was focused on understanding more about the underlying mechanisms of immune-based diseases. During my PhD I studied the role of a newly discovered subset of T cells – Th17 cells – in children with autoimmune arthritis. Whilst working as a consultant rheumatologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital I saw first-hand, the impact of autoimmune diseases on patients and their families, both physically and emotionally. Reflecting on the unmet need for patients with immune-based diseases, and wanting my clinical and scientific training to have the broadest possible impact, I decided to move to the biopharma industry to catalyse bringing new treatment options to patients.

As we continue to build our presence in immunology the tremendous unmet need for patients with immune mediated diseases is clear.  Few patients are able to achieve satisfactory responses and flare-ups are commonplace with over 70% of patients not in remission on current therapies for most autoimmune diseases.

We have an opportunity to implement a bold strategy across our immunology franchise and disrupt the treatment status quo by developing medicines that treat the underlying cause of immune mediated disease rather than simply masking the symptoms. Our overarching ambition is to aim for cure

Kiran Nistala VP and Head of Clinical Development, Immunology, Respiratory & Immunology Late-stage Development

CURRENT ROLE

VP and Head of Clinical Development, Immunology, Respiratory & Immunology Late-stage Development

2021

Led COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca (AZD1222) clinical development team to achieve emergency use authorisation in the UK and EU

2020

Joined AstraZeneca as Vice President and Head of Clinical Development, Immunology, Respiratory & Immunology Late-stage development

2018

Discovery Medicine Group leader: Led the development of GSK’s discovery and clinical research strategy in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, as well as the early phase clinical trial programme in Osteoarthritis

 Featured publications

Th17 plasticity in human autoimmune arthritis is driven by the inflammatory environment.

Nistala K, Adams S, Cambrook H, Ursu S, Olivito B, de Jager W, Evans JG, Cimaz R, Bajaj-Elliott M,  Wedderburn LR. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Aug 17;107(33):14751-6.

CD19+CD24hiCD38hi B Cells Are Expanded in Juvenile Dermatomyositis and Exhibit a Pro-Inflammatory Phenotype After Activation Through Toll-Like Receptor 7 and Interferon-α.

Piper CJM, Wilkinson MGL, Deakin CT, Otto GW, Dowle S, Duurland CL, Adams S, Marasco E, Rosser EC, Radziszewska A, Carsetti R, Ioannou Y, Beales PL, Kelberman D, Isenberg DA, Mauri C, Nistala K, Wedderburn LR. Front Immunol. 2018 Jun 22;9:1372.

Interleukin-35 takes the 'B' line.

Mauri C, Nistala K. Nat Med. 2014 Jun;20(6):580-1.

T cell expression of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor in juvenile arthritis is contingent upon Th17 plasticity.

Piper C, Pesenacker AM, Bending D, Thirugnanabalan B, Varsani H, Wedderburn LR, Nistala K. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2014 Jul;66(7):1955-60.

Two randomized trials of canakinumab in systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Ruperto N, Brunner HI, Quartier P, Constantin T, Wulffraat N, Horneff G, Brik R, McCann L, Kasapcopur O, Rutkowska-Sak L, Schneider R, Berkun Y, Calvo I, Erguven M, Goffin L, Hofer M, Kallinich T, Oliveira SK, Uziel Y, Viola S, Nistala K, Wouters C, Cimaz R, Ferrandiz MA, Flato B, Gamir ML, Kone-Paut I, Grom A, Magnusson B, Ozen S, Sztajnbok F, Lheritier K, Abrams K, Kim D, Martini A, Lovell DJ; PRINTO; PRCSG. N Engl J Med. 2012 Dec 20;367(25):2396-406.

Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Contributes to the Transcriptional Program of IL-10-Producing Regulatory B Cells.

Piper CJM, Rosser EC, Oleinika K, Nistala K, Krausgruber T, Rendeiro AF, Banos A, Drozdov I, Villa M, Thomson S, Xanthou G, Bock C, Stockinger B, Mauri C.

Cell Rep. 2019 Nov 12;29(7):1878-1892.e7.