In my role at AstraZeneca, I lead our Discovery Team and am focused on Immuno-Oncology and antibody drug conjugates – from novel target identification and validation to clinical candidate selection. This includes preclinical predictive models to identify patients who have a higher likelihood of benefitting from immuno-oncology treatments, giving us the best chance of finding the most efficient routes to effective medicines.

A large piece of our research in immuno-oncology is on the possibility of living drugs – oncolytic viruses and cell therapies – to amplify the body’s own ability to recognize and attack tumors, destroying the cancer cells and, potentially, achieving cure.

I am a clinical immunologist and physician-scientist, and in my training, specialized in managing patients with immunodeficiency. My research has focused on translational immunology, which includes cancer immunology and immunotherapy. My early work related to human viral immunity and restoring anti-viral immune responses through cellular immunotherapy. Through my research, I developed a strong interest in tumor neoantigens – believed to play a dominant role in the immune system’s response to cancer – and have contributed toward the discovery of a novel class of tumor antigens.

I also serve as an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center.

I have authored nearly 50 peer-reviewed papers, co-founded six biotechnology companies, and have generated 20 patents. I lecture extensively on cancer immunology and immunotherapy at conferences and seminars, and am a member of several scientific and medical societies including the Broad Institute, American Association for Cancer Research, American Association for Hematology and the British Society for Immunology, and serve on the UK Academy of Medical Sciences Mentoring committee.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in immunology and medical degree from the University of Edinburgh, I earned a doctorate from the University of Birmingham (UK) in Immunology/Immunotherapy, and completed postdoctoral training at the University of Birmingham and the University of Virginia.

 

We’re entering the next frontier of Immuno-Oncology, and I am particularly excited about our innovative work in oncolytic viruses. We now have the technology to turn pathogens into something that can potentially eradicate tumors and deliver cures by empowering the body’s immune system to target and launch it’s own attack against cancer cells. I am proud to apply my background and passion for translational cancer immunology and immunotherapy into new, potentially transformative medicines for people with cancer.

Mark Cobbold Vice President, Discovery, Oncology R&D

Award

2004: Young Immunologist of the Year, British Society for Immunology


Award

2005: Best Presentation Award, British Society for Bone Marrow Transplantation


Award

2012: Overall Winner, BIG Idea Award, University of Birmingham



CURRENT ROLE

Vice President, Discovery, Oncology R&D

2015-present

Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. Founded Cobbold Lab at MGH Center for Cancer Immunology, which was the first to demonstrate immunity against cancer-specific phosphopeptide antigens is present in healthy individuals and patients with cancer; the first to discover major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class-I displayed N-Acetylglucosamine and methylarginine peptide neoantigens and demonstrated these are also targets of immunity in humans; and developed three novel antibody engineering approaches to redirect T-cells against tumors with high specificity (APEC, TEAC and ATTAC)

2011-2019

Co-founded six biotechnology companies over eight years (Zellecta, SeraScience, PhosImmune, Revitope Oncology, Gritstone Oncology and GigaMune)

2014-2015

Reader in Translational Immunology, Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Immune Regulation, University of Birmingham (UK)

 Featured publications

Aberrant X chromosome skewing and acquired clonal hematopoiesis in adult-onset common variable immunodeficiency.

Wong GK, Barmettler S, Heather JM, Millar D, Penny SA, Huissoon A, Richter A, Cobbold M. JCI Insight. 2019 Jul 25;4(14). Publication link.

Immune dysregulation in immunodeficiency disorders: The role of T-cell receptor sequencing.

Wong GK, Heather JM, Barmettler S, Cobbold M. J Autoimmun. 2017 Jun;80:1-9. Publication link.

Identification of Glyco¬peptides as Posttranslationally Modified Neoantigens in Leukemia.

Malaker SA, Penny SA, Steadman LG, Myers PT, Loke JC, Raghavan M, Bai DL, Shabanowitz J, Hunt DF, Cobbold M. Cancer Immunol Res. 2017 May;5(5):376-384. Publication link. 

Accelerated Loss of TCR Repertoire Diversity in Common Variable Immunodeficiency.

Wong GK, Millar D, Penny S, Heather JM, Mistry P, Buettner N, Bryon J, Huissoon AP & Cobbold M. J. Immunol. 2016 Sep 1;197(5):1642-9. Publication link.

 

MHC Class I-Associated Phosphopeptides Are the Targets of Memory-like Immunity in Leukemia.

Cobbold M*, De La Peña H, Norris A, Polefrone JM, Qian J, English AM, Cummings KL, Penny S, Turner JE, Cottine J, Abelin JG, Malaker SA, Zarling AL, Huang HW, Goodyear O, Freeman SD, Shabanowitz J, Pratt G, Craddock C, Williams ME, Hunt DF, Engelhard VH. Sci Transl Med. 2013 Sep 18;5(203):203ra125. *Corresponding Author. Publication link.

Phosphorylation-dependent interaction between antigenic peptides and MHC class I: a molecular basis for the presenta¬tion of transformed self.

Mohammed F†, Cobbold M†, Zarling AL, Salim M, Barrett-Wilt GA, Shabanowitz J, Hunt DF, Engelhard VH, Willcox BE. Nat Immunol. 2008 Nov;9(11):1236-43. †Co-first authorship. Publication link.