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Johnson and Johnson Head of Cell Therapy Exits

Johnson & Johnson’s global head, Cell treatment platform, and discovery have all been lost. Tamas Oravecz, Ph.D., joined J&J’s Janssen earlier this year, only to quit to join the newly formed cancer firm Parthenon Therapeutics as chief scientific officer.

Early in his career, Oravecz worked on HIV Cell and gene therapies, spending two years at Novartis as the company tried to make a success of the assets it acquired when it bought SyStemix. Oravecz went on to work on other modalities subsequently, first at Lexicon Pharmaceuticals for 14 years and then at Celgene for a shorter time.

Oravecz joined Janssen from Celgene in 2018, first as a senior director and then as the head of exploratory discovery. Oravecz changed jobs inside Janssen earlier this year, taking on the titles of VP and global head, Cell therapy platform and discovery, before leaving the business entirely. Oravecz departed Janssen last month to take over as CSO at Parthenon. Parthenon’s attempt to improve cancer treatment by generating breaches in the barriers that surround many tumours, allowing T Cell to access the inner sanctum and wipe out the malignant Cell puts Oravecz in the spotlight.

Parthenon revealed its operations a month ago when it announced a $65 million series A investment and a Nature study showing how blocking discoidin domain receptor 1 breaks the mechanical barrier around tumours. The method was used to treat breast cancer in the paper, but Parthenon believes it might be used to treat a wide range of cancers. Oravecz will assist Parthenon in evaluating the options. Parthenon CEO Laurent Audoly, Ph.D., praised Oravecz’s “strong understanding in tumour biology” and track record of “recognising and selecting clinically viable therapeutic options” in a statement announcing the appointment.

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