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Renowned scientist Owen N. Witte joins Kite Pharma Board of Directors

Published on: 28/03/17

Kite Pharma has revealed the addition of celebrated bioscientist and researcher Dr Owen N. Witte to its Board of Directors, where his primary remit will be to advise on engineered cell therapy and synthetic biology-related developments.

Witte is the founding Director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) where he still serves as a Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, and Molecular and Medical Pharmacology. He is also the current chair of Kite’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), a role which he will continue to fill.

Witte is considered instrumental in the development of targeted cancer therapies thanks to his seminal work in the fields of leukaemia and epithelial cancer stem cells; the ground he laid has led to the approval of blood cancer treatments such as Janssen’s Imbruvica (ibrutinib) and Novartis’ Gleevec (imatinib).

Notably, he is currently serving his second term on the President’s Cancer Panel on the appointment of Barack Obama. He has been decorated for his research and was recently celebrated for his work in the industry with the Stanford Medical School Kornberg-Berg Lifetime Achievement Award in Biosciences and the AAMC Award for Distinguished Research in Biomedical Sciences.

“Owen is a brilliant scientist with a rare combination of understanding for basic research and translational medicine across academia and the biopharmaceutical industry,” commented Arie Belldegrun, Chairman, President and CEO of Kite. “For well over two decades, Owen has made significant scientific discoveries resulting in medicines that have changed the course of medical history. Owen’s decades of pioneering cancer research will be invaluable as Kite rapidly accelerates new scientific programmes for the next generation of engineered cell therapies. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to again work with Owen developing innovative cancer treatments for patients in need.”

“Over the past eight years and as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board, it has been a privilege to witness Kite become a leader in the field of engineered cell therapy for the treatment of cancer,” remarked Witte. “I am honoured and excited to bring my scientific perspective to the Board during this transformational time for the company and for the field. I look forward to continuing in my role as Chair of the SAB, and contributing to the continued development and advancement of Kite’s industry-leading pipeline of CAR and TCR therapies.”

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