Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Appoints Laszlo Radvanyi as Head of Global Immuno-Oncology Research

Radvanyi brings more than 25 years of experience in immuno-oncology R&D

Nov 02, 2015, 09:00 ET from EMD Serono

DARMSTADT, Germany, Nov. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, today announced the appointment of Laszlo Radvanyi, PhD, as Senior Vice President, Head of Research in Immuno-Oncology.  Radvanyi brings extensive immuno-oncology expertise to the role, having spent 10 years conducting research on tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and more than 25 years studying cellular and molecular immunology.

As the Head of Research in Immuno-Oncology for Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Radvanyi will focus on leading the discovery of oncology therapies that leverage the natural ability of the body's immune system to fight cancer, as well as identifying biomarkers with the aim to deliver personalized treatments for patients. Radvanyi will contribute to shaping Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany's immuno-oncology R&D strategy and driving its leadership position in the field.

"We are honored to have Laszlo join Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany," said Luciano Rossetti, Head of Global Research and Development. "His vast experience across the field of immuno-oncology research is very impressive. His expertise and fresh perspective will add significant value to our early-stage immuno-oncology portfolio including combination and biomarker strategies for avelumab and other clinical candidates, as we endeavour to bring new therapeutic options to patients living with cancer."

The research efforts of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in immuno-oncology led to the discovery and progression of its lead anti-PD-L1 candidate avelumab* into clinical development; currently it is being studied in more than 15 types of cancer.

Prior to joining Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Radvanyi served as Chief Scientific Officer at Lion Biotechnologies based in Tampa, Florida, where he was responsible for developing novel technologies to produce next-generation TILs for tumor indications including lung, cervical and breast cancer. In this role, he was instrumental in driving the company's metastatic melanoma TIL program into clinical development in the first TIL therapy trial performed outside an academic center.

Earlier in his career, he served as Professor of melanoma and breast medical oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, where he conducted clinical studies on TIL therapy in metastatic melanoma. In this role, he also conducted basic and translational research to identify relevant T-cell therapy biomarkers, enhance the anti-tumor function of expanded T-cells, and improve the manufacturing methods for eventual commercialization of T-cell therapies. His work there also spanned into the area of T-regulatory cells where he identified new Treg biomarkers associated with clinical responses to melanoma immunotherapy. He also established and led an Immunomonitoring Core facility at MD Anderson Cancer Center for over 9 years.

Radvanyi has a bachelor's degree in biology, a master's degree in botany, and a PhD in clinical biochemistry with a focus on immunology, all from the University of Toronto. Among his postdoctoral appointments was as a Cancer Research Institute (CRI) fellow in the Department of Immunology and Immunogenetics at the Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard Medical School with Drs. Diane Mathis and Christophe Benoist.

Radvanyi has published more than 100 peer-reviewed and invited research articles and serves as an adjunct member of faculty in the Department of Immunology at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida.

Radvanyi will report to Luciano Rossetti, Head of Global R&D, and serve as a member of the R&D Executive Leadership Team. Radvanyi will join Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany on November 2, 2015. He will be based in Billerica, Massachusetts. 

The biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, operates as EMD Serono in the U.S.

*Avelumab is the proposed International Nonproprietary Name (INN) for the anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody (MSB0010718C)

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About Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 40,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2014, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany generated sales of € 11.3 billion in 66 countries.

Founded in 1668, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany holds the global rights to the Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, EMD Millipore and EMD Performance Materials.

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About EMD Serono, Inc.

EMD Serono is the North America biopharma business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany - a leading science and technology company - focused exclusively on specialty care. For more than 40 years, the business has integrated cutting-edge science, innovative products and industry-leading patient support and access programs. EMD Serono has deep expertise in neurology, fertility and endocrinology, as well as a robust pipeline of potential therapies in oncology, immuno-oncology and immunology as R&D focus areas. Today, the business has more than 1,100 employees around the country with commercial, clinical and research operations based in the company's home state of Massachusetts.

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