CytomX Therapeutics, Inc. Expands Leadership Team With Addition Of Michael Kavanaugh, M.D., As Chief Scientific Officer And Head Of Research And Early Development

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- CytomX, a biotechnology company developing Probody therapeutics for the treatment of cancer, today announced that it has appointed W. Michael Kavanaugh, M.D., as chief scientific officer and head of research and early development. In addition, the company has appointed Sridhar Viswanathan, Ph.D., as vice president of process sciences and manufacturing sciences and Danielle Olander as vice president of human resources.

"As we enter the new year, CytomX is positioned for advancement of our pipeline as we move multiple Probody drug conjugate and checkpoint inhibitor programs toward the clinic," said Sean McCarthy, D.Phil., chief executive officer of CytomX. "Mike's experience in translating exciting scientific and preclinical discoveries into promising clinical programs will be valuable to us as we drive our programs towards clinical candidate nominations. Mike, Danielle and Sridhar bring leadership and key experience to specific areas of our organization to support this period of growth and maturation at CytomX."

Added Dr. Kavanaugh, "The team at CytomX has made tremendous progress with its Probody platform.  Probodies have the potential to create novel and differentiated cancer therapeutics by unlocking targets previously inaccessible for antibodies and antibody drug conjugates, and enabling new combination treatments with checkpoint inhibitors such as PD-1, PD-L1 and CTLA-4. I am excited to join the team and help guide the wholly owned and partnered programs to their full potential for patients."

Prior to joining CytomX, Dr. Kavanaugh was senior vice president and chief scientific officer of Five Prime Therapeutics. Since joining the company in 2009, he held multiple positions in research and development and led the growth of the company's therapeutic pipeline. Before Five Prime, Dr. Kavanaugh served as vice president of Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics, Inc. and executive director of Oncology Biologics in the Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research. He joined Novartis as part of the company's acquisition of the Chiron Corporation in 2006, where he held positions as vice president and head of antibody and protein therapeutics research. Dr. Kavanaugh received his medical doctorate from Vanderbilt University and his bachelor's degree in molecular biochemistry and biophysics from Yale University. He completed training in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease and molecular and cellular biology at the University of California, San Francisco and the Cardiovascular Research Institute. Dr. Kavanaugh also currently serves as an attending staff physician at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center and as an associate clinical professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Viswanathan joins CytomX from Perseid Therapeutics, a joint venture between Maxygen and Astellas that was subsequently acquired by Astellas, where he served as vice president of process development and manufacturing operations. In this capacity, he was responsible for all internal process development and external manufacturing operations at contract manufacturing organizations for advancing CTLA4-Ig Fc fusion products for autoimmune disease and organ transplant rejection. Before joining Perseid, Dr. Viswanathan spent several years at Maxygen directing process development and clinical manufacturing for next generation biologics programs, including PEGylated interferon alpha, PEG-G-CSF and FVIIa.  Prior to this, he held positions at Coulter Pharmaceutical, Bayer Corporation, and Genentech. He received his doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Mississippi Medical Center and completed his postdoctoral training at Rockefeller University and Stanford University.

Ms. Olander joined CytomX from Portola Pharmaceuticals where she served as the senior director of human resources management, leading all facets of human resources. This included the development of effective strategies that enabled Portola to thrive through periods of change, as well as supported short and long-term business objectives. Prior to joining Portola, Ms. Olander served as senior human resources generalist for SuperGen (now Astex Pharmaceuticals), and held various human resources positions for companies such as SUGEN (acquired by Pfizer), and Kinetic Search. Ms. Olander received her bachelor's degree in human resource management from Colorado Technical University. She is chairperson of the Biotechnology HR Network (BHRN) and is an active member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and World at Work (Total Rewards Association).

About CytomX Therapeutics
CytomX Therapeutics is a biotechnology company developing Probody therapeutics for the treatment of cancer. Probodies are masked antibodies that remain inert in healthy tissue but are activated specifically in the disease microenvironment. The Probody approach is designed to blunt systemic toxicities associated with antibodies and expand the therapeutic window of these drugs, unlocking new therapeutic targets. The Company is initially focusing this highly innovative platform to discover and develop new immunotherapy and antibody drug conjugate therapies to treat areas of major unmet medical need in oncology. CytomX has attracted multiple strategic collaborations with industry-leading pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer Inc., ImmunoGen and Bristol-Myers Squibb. CytomX is led by a seasoned and proven management team and is financed by leading life science investors, including Third Rock Ventures, Canaan Partners and the Roche Venture Fund. For more information, please visit

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Ian Stone
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