NEW HAVEN, Conn., Jan. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Arvinas Inc., a biotechnology company creating a new class of oncology drugs based on protein degradation, today announced that it has appointed Manuel Litchman, M.D., as President and Chief Executive Officer of the company. Dr. Litchman was most recently Senior Vice President and Global Program Head at Novartis Pharmaceuticals.
"Manny has a great track record pursuing unique avenues of oncology therapeutic development, and we anticipate that his experience will prove invaluable as we advance our drug programs towards the clinic," said Tim Shannon, M.D., general partner at Canaan Partners and Chairman of Arvinas' board of directors who served as the company's interim CEO from its founding until the appointment of Dr. Litchman. "I am confident that we have found a leader who can capture the value of Arvinas' approach to oncology drug development."
Prior to joining Arvinas, Dr. Litchman spent more than 18 years with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, serving in multiple positions of increasing responsibility, focusing on oncology. Since August 2012, he has led the CTL019 program, a Phase 2 collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania that is investigating chimeric antigen receptor modified T cells (CARTs) directed against CD19 on B cell malignancies. Prior to the start of the CTL019 collaboration he served as Head of Oncology Business Development and Licensing at Novartis.
"Arvinas' approach to combating disease, particularly cancer, uses new avenues that degrade disease-causing proteins instead of simply blocking them. This strategy holds promise to address many more targets than traditional inhibition strategies, given that so many targets just can't be effectively inhibited," noted Dr. Litchman. "This is an exciting opportunity to shape a company with enormous potential to change how cancer is treated."
Dr. Litchman began his career in Clinical Research at Hoffmann-La Roche, then transitioned to Sandoz/Novartis, where he led global clinical development programs. He later moved to Ursus Capital, a biotechnology hedge fund, where he held the position of Senior Equity Analyst, before eventually returning to Novartis. Dr. Litchman earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and M.D. degree at Yale University School of Medicine and completed his internal medicine residency and his hematology-oncology fellowship at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
"Dr. Litchman's work throughout his career, particularly Novartis' CTL019 program, demonstrates that he can lead novel oncology programs, which is critical to the success of Arvinas, given the company's novel technology that focuses on degrading proteins to combat diseases, including cancer," added Craig Crews, Ph.D., Lewis B. Cullman Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and Professor of Chemistry and Pharmacology at Yale University.
Arvinas is creating a new class of drugs based on protein degradation, which has the potential to open up areas of drug development that were previously closed because of the technical limitations of target inhibition. The company's technology is built on the research of Craig Crews, PhD, of Yale University and has primary application in oncology indications as well as potential in inflammatory, autoimmune and rare diseases. Series A investors are 5AM Ventures, Canaan Partners, Connecticut Innovations and Elm Street Partners. www.arvinas.com