ISCT Announces Recipients of Key 2021 Achievement Awards

By ISCT Head Office posted 04-12-2021 00:00


Vancouver, Canada, April 12, 2021 - The International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy (ISCT), the global society of clinicians, researchers, regulators, technologists, and industry partners dedicated to the translation of cell and gene therapy into safe and effective therapies to improve patients’ lives, today announces the recipients of its three 2021 annual awards.

ISCT has expanded its annual awards to three headline presentations to recognize consensus building and achievements across all those involved in the cell and gene therapy sector. This includes the contribution specifically from innovation and mentorship, two critical elements in the cell and gene therapy sector. ISCT showcasing role models also will inspire the current and future expanding workforce and encourage key interest with other leaders for innovation and mentorship in the cell and gene therapy field.

The awards will be presented at the ISCT 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting. This summit will be held as a virtual event between May 26-28, 2021. The award recipients are selected from a shortlist of nominees from the global cell and gene therapy field. The final decision is made by the ISCT Awards Committee, comprising 8 international senior figures across the sector.

These three awards include the 2021 Career Achievement Award, recognizing an exceptional individual that has given lengthy and distinguished service to advancing the overall cell and gene therapy field, resulting in significant achievements that benefit patients. It also includes the Darwin J. Prockop Mentoring Award, recognizing an outstanding individual who has excelled as a mentor and has contributed to the ongoing development of their mentees in the field of cell and gene therapy. The third award is the Le Prix Luc Sensebé Innovation Award, which recognizes a visionary scholar or entrepreneur in the cell and gene therapy industry who has assembled, built, and developed multidisciplinary teams that have in turn enabled infrastructure and development programs leading to human translation of new cell technologies and innovations.

“There have been major technological and scientific developments right across the field. However, it is people that are the foundation of the cell and gene therapy sector. Their talent, skills and tenacity have built the entire sector that is now making such an impact in the medical field, and saving lives,” said Daniel J. Weiss, MD, PhD, Chair, ISCT Awards Committee. “To reflect this, whilst ISCT works with and for the benefit of all stakeholders across the field, the society also recognizes the people in the sector working for the different elements of the field. So while ISCT organizes training, development and monitoring programs, it is also fitting that we recognize those leaders at the pinnacle of the sector and have done most to contribute towards bringing therapies to patients.”

2021 ISCT Career Achievement Award

Donald B. Kohn, MD (UCLA, US) will receive the 2021 ISCT Career Achievement Award. Prof. Kohn’s achievement award is a result of his research over the last 30 years. This research has yielded innovative clinical methods to treat genetic blood diseases. It has provided lower-risk possibilities for several treatment paths that would otherwise require transplantation and potential lifelong impacts. Prof. Kohn is credited with the development of the first successful hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy, targeting ADA deficiency in children.

"Prof. Kohn developed the first successful hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy, for children with ‘bubble baby disease’- ADA deficiency - and has now functionally cured over 50 children. He directs a large research program performing bench-to-bedside research on gene modification of blood forming stem cells and has brought this research to multiple clinical trials. He is an outstanding leader who is actively involved in training of undergraduate, graduate, medical students, as well as PhD and MD fellows,” said Jan Nolta, PhD, UC Davis. “The entire field seeks to build upon his success in these trials and he is highly deserving of this award."

2021 ISCT Darwin J. Prockop Mentoring Award

The 2021 ISCT Darwin J. Prockop Mentoring Award will be presented to Catherine Bollard, MBChB, MD (Children’s National Health System, US). Dr. Bollard's ongoing commitment to mentorship has advanced the careers of a large number of aspiring professionals that have worked alongside her. Dr. Bollard has become highly recognized across the industry for her leadership, passion and dedication to her mentees, and for her extraordinary efforts to advance their skills, capabilities, and opportunities.

“I first met Dr. Bollard in the fall of 2006 as a graduate student in the Department of Immunology at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM),” said Patrick Hanley, PhD Director, GMP for Immunotherapy, Children’s National Health System (CNH). “For the past 15 years, Cath has been a strong mentor, friend, advocate, and voice of reason for me and has been instrumental in my success, both at BCM and now at CNH. With her support and mentorship, I have published high impact papers, earned a number of awards, and received prestigious of grants. Cath’s impact on the field of cellular therapy and the practice of medicine is no longer restricted to her own success, but is now emanating in seeds she has planted and nurtured in the over 93 individuals she has mentored, including 22 junior faculty, 27 post doctoral fellows, and 12 graduate students. Dr. Bollard acts as a mentor to other senior investigators at CNH as well, particularly those in the Bone Marrow Transplantation division. Cath is the most deserving mentor for this award.”

2021 ISCT Le Prix Luc Sensebé Innovation Award

The 2021 ISCT Le Prix Luc Sensebé Innovation Award has been won by Keith Thompson, CBE (BioTransform Ltd, UK). Mr. Thompson has been selected for the award for his visionary work building the Cell & Gene Therapy Catapult in the UK. He drove dialogue with health authorities in the UK to advance regulatory policy development at a global standard. Under his leadership, the Catapult has advanced a strategy of addressing bottlenecks in process and product design, as well as manufacturing, in cell and gene therapy. Finally, the Catapult is pioneering an Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre model, creating purpose-built facilities to bring stakeholders together to enable and optimize patient access to emerging cell and gene therapies. Mr. Thompson was also recognized for his industry advisory role to the UK Vaccines Task Force, and for his contribution as a former ISCT Strategic Advisory Council member.

“The Catapult is a public-private partnership influenced and enabled by many stakeholders, a difficult model to conceive, let alone launch and scale. True to the mantra of Luc Sensebé, Keith introduced himself as the inaugural CEO of the Catapult in 2012 – starting with just a cell phone and a vision from the government to position the UK among the top countries in the world in the sector. Today, the Catapult has over 200 employees who support activities across the translational spectrum,” said Michael May, PhD, President/CEO, CCRM. “Under Keith, the Catapult established regulatory and health economics teams assisting many companies to navigate evolving approval pathways, but also contributed, through active engagement of NICE and the MHRA, to the UK being a global leader in regulatory policy development. The Catapult also recognized early on that manufacturing was a key industry bottleneck, investing significantly in technology development, cell characterization and analytics, process development and the best-in-class, large-scale manufacturing facility at Stevenage, UK. Finally, the Catapult is leading once again by establishing so-called Advanced Therapy Treatment Centers: regional consortia bringing together manufacturing, logistics, reimbursement, health-care delivery and the patient journey to enable and optimize patient access to emerging cell and gene therapies, a model that will certainly be replicated around the world. It is the perfect time to honor Keith’s hard work, commitment and achievements, and to acknowledge the impact that the Catapult has had on the global industry.”

About the International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy

Established in 1992, the International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy (ISCT) is a global society of clinicians, regulators, researchers, technologists and industry partners with a shared vision to translate cell and gene therapy into safe and effective therapies to improve patients’ lives worldwide.

ISCT is the global leader focused on pre-clinical and translational aspects of developing cell and gene-based therapeutics, thereby advancing scientific research into innovative treatments for patients. ISCT offers a unique collaborative environment that addresses three key areas of translation: Academia, Regulatory and Commercialization. Through strong relationships with global regulatory agencies, academic institutions and industry partners, ISCT drives the advancement of research into standard of care.

Comprised of over 2,400 cell and gene therapy experts across five geographic regions and representation from over 60 countries, ISCT members are part of a global community of peers, thought leaders and organizations invested in cell and gene therapy translation. For more information about the society, key initiatives and upcoming meetings, please visit:

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