Kite Pharma Expands Leadership Team and Announces Senior Management Promotions
SANTA MONICA, Calif., April 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Kite Pharma, Inc. (Kite), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing engineered autologous T cell therapy (eACT(TM)) products for the treatment of cancer, today announced that Ms. Cynthia M. Butitta has been appointed its Chief Operating Officer in addition to serving in her current role as Chief Financial Officer. Further, Dr. Margo R. Roberts, Ph.D., has been promoted to Chief Scientific Officer. Additionally, Mr. Prentice Curry has been promoted to Vice President, Quality and Operations. Kite also announced the appointment of Mr. Scott L. Navins as Vice President, Corporate Controller. All appointments and promotions are effective immediately.
Dr. Arie Belldegrun, M.D., Kite’s President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “The senior team at Kite is an extraordinary set of highly talented individuals, and it is because of their commitment that the Company has continued to advance rapidly in achieving its goals. I am proud of their accomplishments and am very pleased to announce these promotions. We’re also excited to welcome Scott to our expanding team.”
Prior to joining Kite, Ms. Butitta served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of NextWave Pharmaceuticals. Previously, she was Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Telik, Inc., and prior to that, she served as Vice President of Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer for Connetics, Inc. Ms. Butitta received her B.S. degree with honors in Business and Accounting from Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin and her MBA degree in Finance from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Dr. Roberts has over 23 years of biomedical research experience in both biotechnology and academia. Prior to her promotion, she served as Kite’s Vice President, Research. Previously, she was Principal Scientist and Director of Immune and Cell Therapy at Cell Genesys, Inc., where she led the development of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) technology encompassing CAR design and function in T cells and stem cells, and related methodologies for T cell engineering. Dr. Roberts was also an associate professor at the University of Virginia, has authored over 25 scientific publications, and is the inventor on 13 issued US patents and three published US patent applications related to CAR technology and tumor vaccine therapies. Dr. Roberts received both her B.Sc. degree with honors and her Ph.D. degree from the University of Leeds in England.
Mr. Curry joined Kite in July 2013 as Senior Director, Quality. Prior to this he was Senior Director Quality Assurance at MedImmune, responsible for Operations. He also has held managerial roles at XOMA, Amgen and Cetus. During the course of his career, Mr. Curry’s areas of expertise have included quality assurance, quality control, validation, supply chain, regulatory affairs and operations. Mr. Curry graduated from Texas Tech University with dual B.S. degrees in Biology and Food Science.
Prior to joining Kite, Mr. Navins held senior financial roles at Arno Therapeutics, including Treasurer and, ultimately, Vice President, Finance. He also served as Vice President – Finance and then Chief Financial Officer at Two River Consulting, LLC, and as Financial and Operations Principal at Riverbank Capital Securities, A FINRA member broker-dealer. Previously, he held positions of increasing responsibility in financial management at firms including Westbrook Partners and Morgan Stanley. Mr. Navins commenced his career as a Certified Public Accountant and received his Bachelor of Accountancy degree cum laude from The George Washington University.
About Kite Pharma
Kite Pharma, Inc. is a privately held clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development of novel cancer immunotherapy products, with a primary focus on eACT(TM) designed to restore the immune system’s ability to recognize and eradicate tumors. In partnership with the NCI Surgery Branch through a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA), Kite is advancing a pipeline of proprietary eACT(TM) product candidates, both CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) and TCR (T cell receptor) products, directed to a wide range of cancer indications. Kite’s management team has a proven track record of building successful biotechnology companies and successfully developing cutting-edge immunotherapies and oncology treatments. Kite is based in Santa Monica, CA.
Cynthia M. Butitta
Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer
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SOURCE Kite Pharma, Inc.