Atara Biotherapeutics Announces Appointment of Cell & Gene Therapy Expert Maria Grazia Roncarolo, MD to Board of Directors

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Atara Biotherapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATRA), a pioneer in T-cell immunotherapy leveraging its novel allogeneic EBV T-cell platform to develop transformative therapies for patients with severe diseases including solid tumors, hematologic cancers and autoimmune diseases, today announced the appointment of immunology and cell & gene therapy expert Maria Grazia Roncarolo, MD, to the Board of Directors.

Dr. Roncarolo is the George D. Smith Professor in Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, Director of the Center for Definitive and Curative Medicine, and Co-Director of the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University.

In 2014, Dr. Roncarolo established the Stanford Center for Definitive and Curative Medicine. The center, which is dedicated to the development of innovative stem cell and gene therapies for patients with currently incurable diseases, spans a wide range of bench and clinical research activities from basic biology through translational research and features its own GMP cell processing and Phase 1 study units.

“I am thrilled to have one of the world’s leading experts in immunology and T cells, Dr. Roncarolo, bringing to our Board her experience and strategic vision in cell therapy and gene editing as well as her passion for transformative immunotherapies,” said Pascal Touchon, President and Chief Executive Officer of Atara. “She has dedicated her life to caring for patients with severe immunological and hematological diseases and has an impressive record in translating scientific discoveries in cell and gene therapy into novel treatments which aligns very well with Atara’s mission.”

Dr. Roncarolo has served as the primary investigator in several landmark trials involving the development of innovative stem cell- and gene-based therapies. She worked at DNAX Research Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology in Palo Alto for several years, where she contributed to the discovery of novel cytokines, cell-signaling molecules that are part of the immune response. She studied the role of these cytokines in inducing immunological tolerance and in promoting stem cell growth and differentiation. As Director of the Telethon Institute for Cell and Gene Therapy and the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, Dr. Roncarolo was the principal investigator leading the successful gene therapy trial in SCID, a severe life threatening disorder in which patients lack an enzyme critical to DNA synthesis.

Beyond studying new therapies, Dr. Roncarolo has also helped elucidate drivers of disease at the molecular and cellular level, as she has investigated the mechanisms of immune-mediated diseases throughout her career and helped advance the understanding of immunological tolerance. Dr. Roncarolo was the recipient of the outstanding achievement award from the European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ESGCT) in 2010 and from the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT) in 2017. She is currently the president of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies.

About Atara Biotherapeutics

Atara Biotherapeutics, Inc. (@Atarabio) is a pioneer in T-cell immunotherapy leveraging its novel allogeneic EBV T-cell platform to develop transformative therapies for patients with severe diseases including solid tumors, hematologic cancers and autoimmune disease. With our lead program in Phase 3 clinical development, Atara is the most advanced allogeneic T-cell immunotherapy company and intends to rapidly deliver off-the-shelf treatments to patients with high unmet medical need. Our platform leverages the unique biology of EBV T cells and has the capability to treat a wide range of EBV-associated diseases, or other severe diseases through incorporation of engineered CARs (chimeric antigen receptors) or TCRs (T-cell receptors). Atara is applying this one platform to create a robust pipeline including: tab-cel® (tabelecleucel) in Phase 3 development for Epstein-Barr virus-driven post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (EBV+ PTLD); ATA188, a T-cell immunotherapy targeting EBV antigens as a potential treatment for multiple sclerosis; and multiple next-generation chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR T) immunotherapies for both solid tumors and hematologic malignancies. Improving patients’ lives is our mission and we will never stop working to bring transformative therapies to those in need. Atara is headquartered in South San Francisco and our leading-edge research, development and manufacturing facility is based in Thousand Oaks, California. For additional information about the company, please visit and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains or may imply "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Because such statements deal with future events and are based on Atara Biotherapeutics' current expectations, they are subject to various risks and uncertainties and actual results, performance or achievements of Atara Biotherapeutics could differ materially from those described in or implied by the statements in this press release. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, including those discussed in Atara Biotherapeutics' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including in the “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” sections of the Company’s most recently filed periodic reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q and subsequent filings and in the documents incorporated by reference therein. Except as otherwise required by law, Atara Biotherapeutics disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof, whether as a result of new information, future events or circumstances or otherwise.

Kerry Beth Daly
Head, Corporate Communications
Atara Biotherapeutics

Eric Hyllengren
Vice President, Investor Relations and Finance
Atara Biotherapeutics

Source: Atara Biotherapeutics, Inc.