Biotalk Episode 2: A Conversation with Andrew Allen

On this episode of Biotalk, Locust Walk welcomes Andrew Allen, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Founder, President, CEO, and board member of Gritstone Bio to the podcast. Prior to Gritstone, Dr. Allen co-founded Clovis Oncology and served as CMO. He was CMO at Pharmion Corporation and also served in clinical development leadership roles at Chiron Corporation and Abbott Laboratories and worked at McKinsey & Company. Dr. Allen discusses the founding of Gritstone bio, it’s evolution since 2015, and the two key aspects to the Gritstone platform: novel antigen identification and an immunogenic vaccine platform consisting of proprietary self-amplifying mRNA and chimpanzee adenovirus delivery systems.

Locust Walk is happy to speak with you further if you have any questions about this episode or if we can be helpful to guide your organization through the current market environment.


 2:13: What is your perspective on how a CEO should be thinking about the current environment based on your previous experience with these types of downcycles?

 5:00: How do you think about creative deal making as a CEO to make sure you’re not missing out on an opportunity elsewhere?

 11:51: What was it about the company that convinced you that you were working on something differentiated, and was worthy of being a company?

 20:13: How would you describe the evolution of Gritstone and what is next as the company grows and evolves?

 23:30: Is Edge foundational to the concept of a personalized cancer vaccine?

 23:48: How is it that Edge contributes to buzz-worthy type data for Gritstone?

 27:57: As we are starting to think through the various versions of mRNA delivery technologies, particularly within the context of antigen delivery for vaccination, how should our listeners be thinking through differentiating platforms to determine a good platform for a vaccine and what actually matters when looking towards platforms?

 32:43: As we think about RNA-focused medicines, are there certain things you’ve been working on that has caught your eye?   

 35:33: How do you think about modality blending within RNA and do you think it’s the way the industry might be moving?