I serve as Vice President, Tumour Targeted Delivery, Early Oncology. In my current role, I lead the research group dedicated to the discovery and preclinical development of targeted cancer therapeutics and novel delivery mechanisms that selectively attack cancer cells while sparing normal healthy tissues.

Throughout my 20-year career I have worked on a breadth of tumour-targeting strategies and biotherapeutics including immunotherapeutics, CD3-bispecifics, liposomal drug delivery systems, nanoparticles, antisense oligonucleotide delivery and pegylation technologies. In this time, I’ve built industry leading platforms and a diversified pipeline in the tumour-targeted oncology arena. I’ve had notable success identifying and bringing antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) to patients – including an ADC for adults and children with acute myeloid leukaemia, as well as an ADC for refractory B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

I am passionate about the promise of targeted therapeutics, and I have given numerous lectures on this topic at national and international meetings. I have authored more than 50 scientific publications, book chapters, and I am a recognized inventor or co-inventor of more than 25 patents in the field. I am a member of several scientific and medical societies including American Association for Cancer Research and also serve as the Deputy Editor of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

I earned a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Alberta on an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research scholarship. My research was in the lab of Theresa M Allen who pioneered the concept of stealth liposomal technology that ultimately resulted in the development of a liposomal form of a well-known chemotherapy used to treat haematological malignancies and solid tumours. 

 

Advancing the frontiers of cancer biology gives us the necessary insights to develop treatments that can successfully shut down cancer growth. By working with our great scientists within AZ and our stellar partners, we are closer than ever to realizing our bold ambition to eliminate cancer as a cause of death.

Puja Sapra Vice President, Tumour Targeted Delivery, Early Oncology

CURRENT ROLE

Vice President, Tumour Targeted Delivery, Early Oncology

2016 – 2020

Served as Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, Targeted Therapeutics Discovery Unit, Oncology Research and Development, Pfizer

2009 – 2016

Started as Associate Director and held increasing levels of responsibility to Executive Director, Nanomedicines and Bioconjugates Discovery and Development, Oncology Research and Development, Pfizer

2005 – 2009

Served as Senior Scientist/Head of Pharmacology group, Enzon Pharmaceuticals

Featured publications

A Novel GUCY2C-CD3 T-Cell Engaging Bispecific Construct (PF-07062119) for the treatment of Gastrointestinal Tumors

Mathur D, Root A, Bugaj-Gaweda B, Bisculco S, Tan X, Fang W, Kearney J, Lucas J, Guffroy M, Golas, J, Rohde CM, Stevens C, Kamperschroer C, Kelleher K, Lawrence-Henderson RF, Upeslacis E, Yao J, Narula J, LaVallie ER, Fernandez DR, Buetow BS, Rosfjord E, Bloom L, King LE, Tchistiakova L, Nguyen A, Sapra P. Clin Cancer Res. 2020 May 1;26(9):2188-2202.

 

PF-06804103, a site-specific anti-HER2 antibody-drug conjugate for the treatment of HER2-expressing breast, gastric, and lung cancers

Graziani EI, Sung M, Ma D, Narayanan B, Marquette K, Puthenveetil S, Tumey LN, Bikker J, Casavant J, Bennett EM, Charati MB, Golas J, Hosselet C, Rohde CM, Hu G, Guffroy M, Falahatpisheh H, Finkelstein M, Clark T, Barletta F, Tchistiakova L, Lucas J, Rosfjord E, Loganzo F, O'Donnell CJ, Gerber HP, Sapra P. Mol Cancer Ther. 2020 Aug. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-20-0237.

 

Myocarditis in Cynomolgus Monkeys Following Treatment with Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

Ji C, Roy MD, Golas J, Vitsky A, Ram S, Kumpf SW, Martin M, Barletta F, Meier WA, Hooper AT, Sapra P, Khan NK, Finkelstein M, Guffroy M, Buetow BS. Clin Cancer Res. 2019 Aug 1;25(15):4735-4748.

 

Gemtuzumab Ozogamicin (GO) Inclusion to Induction Chemotherapy Eliminates Leukemic Initiating Cells and Significantly Improves Survival in Mouse Models of Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Zhang CC, Yan Z, Pascual B, Jackson-Fisher A, Huang DS, Zong Q, Elliott M, Fan C, Huser N, Lee J, Sung M, Sapra P. Neoplasia. 2018 Jan;20(1):1-11.

 

A PTK7-targeted antibody-drug conjugate reduces tumor-initiating cells and induces sustained tumor regressions

Damelin M, Bankovich A, Sapra P*, Dylla SJ*, et al. Sci Transl Med. 2017 Jan 11;9(372). (*Corresponding authors)

 

Enhanced Antitumor Activity of an Anti-5T4 Antibody-Drug Conjugate in Combination with PI3K/mTOR inhibitors or Taxanes

Shor B., Kahler J, Dougher M, Xu J, Mack M, Rosfjord E, Wang F, Melamud E, Sapra P. Clin Cancer Res. 2016 Jan 15;22(2):383-94.