David is an internationally recognized leader in synthetic molecular biology with over 25 years of experience, focusing on biomedical applications with emphasis on regulation of vaccines and T cell immunotherapies. He is the scientific co-founder of Bellicum and its former Chief Scientific Officer. Among his scientific inventions, he conceived of chemically induced dimerization (CID) in the early 90s and is the inventor or co-inventor of most of its initial clinical applications, such as the CaspaCIDe® safety switch and the inducible activation switch, iMC, which was built into the DeCIDe® vaccine platform and the GoCAR-T cell platform, including adapting both technologies for Bellicum’s dual-switch technologies. CID technology is now in use in 1000s of laboratories worldwide and forms the basis of many related switch technologies being utilized in cellular therapies in preclinical work and clinically.
Before joining Bellicum, he served as the Vice Chairman of Pathology and Immunology at Baylor College of Medicine, where he was the Roger D Rossen Endowed Professor of Immunology. His lab focused on anti-cancer vaccination and animal modeling for prostate cancer, but his collaborative interests stretched into most areas of biology, such as Gene Regulation, Development, Cancer, Immunology and Aging. The animal models developed in his lab included the EZC-Prostate™ model for identifying and developing novel androgen axis inhibitors and the JOCK1 inducible prostate cancer model that demonstrated a critical inductive role of the Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor 1(FGFR1) Axis in prostate cancer development.
He has published extensively in top scientific and medical journals, including Science, Nature, Nature Medicine, Molecular Cell, and NEJM and is also an inventor on at least 10 patent families, reflecting many areas of regulated cellular therapy. Dr. Spencer earned his BS in Chemistry (magna cum laude) at the University of California in San Diego and his Ph.D. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He completed his postdoctoral degree at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Stanford University.
Through an agreement with Ponce Therapeutics, Inc., he currently also provides limited consulting CSO services to NanoCell Technologies, Inc.