Athenex Appoints Darrel P. Cohen, MD, PhD as Chief Medical Officer of Cell Therapy

BUFFALO, N.Y., June 08, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Athenex, Inc., (NASDAQ: ATNX), a global biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development, and commercialization of novel therapies for the treatment of cancer and related conditions, today announced the appointment of Darrel P. Cohen, MD, PhD as Chief Medical Officer of Cell Therapy to lead its clinical development, clinical operations, and regulatory affairs functions. He will be replacing Kurt Gunter, MD, who has decided to pursue other opportunities outside of cell therapy.

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Cohen to Athenex during this transformative period, as we strategically pivot to focus on advancing first-in-class therapies from our differentiated NKT cell platform,” said Dr. Johnson Lau, Chief Executive Officer of Athenex. “Darrel’s proven leadership plus extensive experience in the clinical development and multinational regulatory approvals of several new cancer drugs over the past decade will position us well for success as we continue to rapidly advance our investigational cell therapy pipeline in the clinic.”

“We are enthusiastic about the promising benefits NKT cells may offer cancer patients and to the scientific community, and we look forward to working with Darrel to bring these much-needed products closer to regulatory approval,” said Daniel Lang, MD, President of Athenex Cell Therapy. “Additionally, we would like to thank Kurt for his dedication and meaningful contributions to the company, and we wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”

Dr. Cohen is a hematologist/oncologist with over 25 years of oncology clinical research and drug development experience in both solid tumors and hematological malignancies. He has held leadership positions of increasing responsibility at Pharmacia, Sanofi-Aventis, and Pfizer, including Vice President of Late-Phase Clinical Development at Pfizer Oncology where he was involved in multiple successful regulatory submissions of new molecularly targeted cancer drugs such as SUTENT® (sunitinib), XALKORI® (crizotinib), and IBRANCE® (palbociclib). More recently, Dr. Cohen was Head of Clinical Development at EUSA Pharma then Chief Medical Officer at Biosight Pharmaceuticals, having been a principal investigator on several clinical trials in the past and co-authored numerous peer-reviewed publications. Darrel received his MD and PhD degrees in Medicine and Microbiology from Boston University School of Medicine, trained as a resident in Internal Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center, and completed a fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at Duke University Medical Center.

“Athenex is pioneering the development of NKT cell immunotherapy, offering an outpatient treatment with potential for improved safety, efficacy, and accessibility over existing approved cell therapy options,” said Dr. Cohen. “The early clinical trial data from patients with solid tumors or hematological malignancies are very encouraging, and I am truly excited to join the company to further advance its cell therapy pipeline and unlock its full therapeutic potential.”

About Athenex, Inc.

Founded in 2003, Athenex, Inc. is a global clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to becoming a leader in the discovery, development, and commercialization of next-generation cell therapy products for the treatment of cancer. In pursuit of this mission, Athenex leverages years of experience in research and development, clinical trials, regulatory standards, and manufacturing. The Company’s current clinical pipeline is derived mainly from the following core technologies: (1) Cell immunotherapy based on NKT cells, (2) Orascovery based on a P-glycoprotein inhibitor, and (3) Src Kinase Inhibition. Athenex’s employees worldwide are dedicated to improving the lives of cancer patients by creating more active, accessible, and tolerable treatments. For more information, please visit

Forward-Looking Statements

Except for historical information, all of the statements, expectations, and assumptions contained in this press release are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are typically identified by terms such as “continue,” “could,” “expect,” “intend,” “look forward,” “may,” “potential,” “will,” and similar expressions. Actual results might differ materially from those explicit or implicit in the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include: our history of operating losses and the substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern; our strategic pivot to focus on our cell therapy platform and our plan to dispose of non-core assets; our ability to obtain financing to fund operations, successfully redirect our resources and reduce our operating expenses; our ability to refinance, extend or repay our substantial indebtedness owed to our senior secured lender; the development stage of our primary clinical candidates, including NKT Cell Therapy and related risks involved in drug development, clinical trials, regulation, uncertainties around regulatory reviews and approvals; the preclinical and clinical results for Athenex’s drug candidates, which may not support further development of such drug candidates; the Company’s ability to successfully demonstrate the safety and efficacy of its drug candidates and gain approval of its drug candidates on a timely basis, if at all; the uncertainty of ongoing legal proceedings; risks related to our ability to successfully integrate the business of Kuur Therapeutics into our existing businesses, including uncertainties associated with maintaining relationships with customers, vendors, and employees, as well as differences in operations, cultures, and management philosophies that may delay successful integration and our ability to support the added cost burden of Kuur’s business; risks related to counterparty performance, including our reliance on third parties for success in certain areas of Athenex’s business; risks and uncertainties inherent in litigation, including purported stockholder class actions; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and other macroeconomic factors, such as the war in Ukraine, and their ongoing impact on our operations, supply chain, cash flow, and financial condition; competition; intellectual property risks; risks relating to doing business internationally and in China; the risk of development, operational delays, production slowdowns or stoppages or other interruptions at our manufacturing facility as well as our ability to find alternative sources of supply to meet our obligations and requirements; the risk that our common stock will be delisted from the Nasdaq Global Market if we are unable to regain compliance with its continued listing standards, and the other risk factors set forth from time to time in our SEC filings, copies of which are available for free in the Investor Relations section of our website at or upon request from our Investor Relations Department. All information provided in this release is as of the date hereof, and we assume no obligation and do not intend to update these forward-looking statements, except as required by law.

Athenex Contacts

Investor Relations

Daniel Lang, MD
Athenex, Inc.

Caileigh Dougherty
Athenex, Inc.

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