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Hyam Levitsky Joins Roche as Head of Cancer Immunology Experimental Medicine

NUTLEY, N.J., Oct. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Roche is pleased to announce the appointment of Hyam Levitsky, MD, as Head of Cancer Immunology Experimental Medicine, effective September 1. Levitsky joined Roche from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he has been Professor of Oncology, Medicine and Urology and an active staff member in Oncology and Medicine at The Johns Hopkins Hospital since 2002.

In this new role, within the Pharma Research and Early Development (pRED) organization, Levitsky will be responsible for guiding research and early development programs focused on the immunotherapy of cancer, overseeing experimental medicine studies and projects in collaboration with internal or external partners. He will also be involved in the selection and validation of targets and clinical candidate selection as well as establishing strong alliances and partnerships with leading research and academic institutions. As part of this effort, he will continue to hold an academic appointment at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center where he will maintain his ongoing research program.

"Hy is recognized in the cancer immunotherapy community for his many contributions that include basic discoveries in antigen processing and presentation, T cell tolerance, lymphocyte homeostasis, vaccine development, and novel molecular imaging of anti-tumor immunity," said Michael Burgess, MD, PhD, Global Head, Oncology Discovery and Translational Area. "With his extensive and wide-ranging academic and medical research background, we believe he is uniquely qualified to bring new and different perspectives to the pRED Oncology organization and look forward to utilizing his expertise to develop differentiated cancer medicines that are beneficial for patients and healthcare providers."

"The time has never been better to see the advances in our understanding of the immune response to cancer translate into effective new treatments for patients," said Levitsky. "Roche has made an extraordinary investment in technologies that enable an unprecedented level of control of the anti-tumor immune response. Having the opportunity to lead these efforts between Roche and its research and academic partners is a dream come true."

After receiving his BS degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science, Levitsky earned his MD at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and did his internship and residency in Internal Medicine on the Osler Medical Service at Johns Hopkins Hospital, rising to become Assistant Chief of Service. He trained in Medical Oncology as a Senior Clinical Fellow at Johns Hopkins Oncology Center, became Assistant Professor of Oncology in 1991, and has taught in the School of Medicine ever since. His areas of expertise include Oncology, Immunology, Hematologic Malignances / Bone Marrow Transplantation, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and Pathobiology.

Levitsky is a founding Executive Committee member of the Cancer Immunotherapy Consortium of the Cancer Research Institute.  He is a Stohlman Scholar of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America (LLS) and a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI).  He is also an active member of the American Association of Cancer Research, the American Society of Hematology, and is one of a select group of immunologists serving on review panels for both the LLS SCOR program and the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. He's a founding member of MIATA (Minimal Information About T cell Assays), advises the FDA on cancer immunotherapy issues and serves on the External Scientific Advisory Board of the Pasteur Institute's Center for Human Immunology. He's also organized countless tumor immunology meetings.

Levitsky consults on a number of industry scientific advisory boards and he contributes and provides editorial support to several prestigious cancer, immunology, scientific and medical publications. He holds five patents, has mentored 28 medical and PhD students some of whom are now leaders in academia and industry, and is a sought-after speaker at academic and industry conferences.

About Roche

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world's largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. Roche's personalized healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2010, Roche had over 80,000 employees worldwide and invested over 9 billion Swiss francs ($8.7B US) in R&D. The Group posted sales of 47.5 billion Swiss francs ($45.6B US). Genentech, United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche has a majority stake in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information:

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