Dr. Hawkins is a world-renowned medical oncologist and biotech innovator with a focus on the development of novel cell and gene therapies. Dr. Hawkins founded Immetacyte Ltd, a cell therapy company spun out of the University of Manchester, which became fully independent from the University in 2015 and developed the key technologies in Tumour Infiltrating Lymphocytes (TIL) which Instil is advancing. He became full time CEO of Immetacyte from 2018 until the acquisition by Instil Bio when he became Chief Strategy Advisor. Instil Bio has recently completed a series of private funding rounds and an IPO on NASDAQ raising over $340 M on listing.
After Medical Training Bob undertook a PhD with Greg winter and Caesar Milstein at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge during which time, he developed the methods to select high-affinity antibodies used for the development of Humira®, and acted as a founding consultant of Cambridge Antibody Technology (acquired by AstraZeneca in 2006). Furthermore, Dr. Hawkins led the team that developed the first phage-derived single-chain antibody to be used in a clinical trial in the world. He subsequently focussed on cell and gene therapy from a laboratory research perspective and cancer immunotherapy clinically. He moved to the University of Manchester as Cancer Research UK Professor of Medical Oncology in 1998 and led the team that did the first CAR-T trials in the UK. He led the largest European scientific consortium in engineered T cell therapy (ATTACK) and subsequent training and clinical programs and was also a founding consultant to Oxford Biomedica. As a clinical investigator, Dr. Hawkins has been principal investigator on more than 20 clinical trials including several practice changing studies in kidney cancer. Dr. Hawkins has served on the scientific advisory boards of global biopharmaceutical companies and on national and international grants committees.