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Ambit Biosciences Announces Transition in Company Leadership

SAN DIEGO, July 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Ambit Biosciences Corporation (Ambit), a recognized global leader in kinase drug discovery and development, announced today that its Board of Directors has completed a thorough executive search and appointed Alan J. Lewis, Ph.D. as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Company.   Dr. Lewis has been serving as Executive Chairman of Ambit since March 2010, and will now be responsible for the daily operations of the Company as CEO.

"As Executive Chairman, Alan has made a tremendous impact in guiding the vision and creating the foundation for the Company's future growth," said Steven Elms, managing partner of Aisling Capital, on behalf of Ambit's Board of Directors.  "With more than 30 years industry experience, Alan has a proven track record and brings the business, technical and leadership skills necessary to create value as Ambit advances its promising portfolio through development.  This is a pivotal time for the organization and the Board is confident that with Alan's guidance Ambit will emerge a leader in the biotechnology industry."

Dr. Lewis commented, "Ambit has developed a truly unique approach to kinase drug discovery, and as a result the Company is advancing a deep pool of promising kinase inhibitors for the treatment of oncology, immune and inflammatory diseases with significant unmet medical need.  A major milestone and validation of the Company's approach was the strategic partnership completed in December 2009 with Astellas Pharma to jointly develop and commercialize FLT3 kinase inhibitors, including the Company's lead compound, AC220.  This molecule is in a pivotal Phase 2 study in AML and could be a game-changing therapy in this disease if ongoing trials produce positive results.   This is a truly exciting time to head the Ambit organization, and I look forward to leading this talented team in the next phase of the Company's growth."

Dr. Lewis most recently served as President and CEO of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the leading charitable funder and advocate of type 1 diabetes research worldwide.  Prior to JDRF, Dr. Lewis was President and CEO of Novocell where he contributed significantly to achieving the Company's leadership position in developing stem cell technologies for the treatment of diabetes.  Previously, Dr. Lewis served as CEO and Director of Signal Pharmaceuticals, an early pioneer in kinase drug discovery, which he guided through a successful acquisition by Celgene in 2000 and went on to become President of the Signal Research Division at Celgene.   Dr. Lewis previously held the position of Vice President of Research at Wyeth-Ayerst, where he spent 15 years leading research efforts in diabetes, CNS, cardiovascular, inflammatory, allergy and bone metabolism diseases.   Dr. Lewis received a B.Sc. in Physiology and Biochemistry from Southampton University, a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Wales, and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University.

About Ambit Biosciences

Ambit Biosciences is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of small molecule kinase inhibitors for the treatment of cancer, inflammatory disease, and other indications. Ambit employs a novel and proprietary kinase profiling technology, KINOMEscan™, to screen compounds against 442 human kinases.

Ambit's lead compound, AC220, is a novel, potent, highly selective, orally bioavailable second-generation FMS-like tyrosine kinase-3 (FLT3) inhibitor. Clinical development of AC220 is currently underway in a Phase 2 pivotal study in patients with relapsed or refractory AML.  Ambit is developing AC220 in collaboration with Astellas Pharma Inc. as part of a worldwide agreement to jointly develop and commercialize FLT3 kinase inhibitors in oncology and non-oncology indications.

In addition to AC220, Ambit's clinical pipeline includes AC480, an oral pan-HER inhibitor that was in-licensed from Bristol-Myers Squibb. Ambit is conducting clinical studies with AC480 in patients with solid tumor cancers.  Additionally, Ambit has an advancing pool of preclinical candidates targeting BRAF (in collaboration with Cephalon), JAK2, Aurora, and CSF1R. Through its KINOMEscan Division, Ambit markets its technology as a profiling service.  For more information, visit

CONTACT: Christopher Morl, Ambit Biosciences, 858.334.2134

CONTACT: Carol Ruth, The Ruth Group, (646) 536-7004


SOURCE Ambit Biosciences Corporation
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