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Atara Bio Expands Management Team, Appoints Joe Newell as Executive Vice President, Chief Technical Operations Officer

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., April 03, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Atara Biotherapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq:ATRA), a biopharmaceutical company developing meaningful therapies for patients with severe and life-threatening diseases that have been underserved by scientific innovation, today announced that it has appointed Mr. Joe Newell as Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Operations Officer. Mr. Newell will lead Atara Bio’s global technical operations team as the company moves towards potential commercialization of its most advanced allogeneic T-cell product candidate, ATA129, as well as continued development of its broad and diverse cellular therapy pipeline in hematologic malignancies, solid tumors, autoimmune disorders, and severe infectious disease.

Prior to joining Atara, Joe served as the Vice President of North American Manufacturing at Alexion Pharmaceuticals. In that role, he oversaw a network of six drug manufacturing plants and served as a member of the Global Operations Leadership team. Mr. Newell also represented Alexion in Government Affairs activities, established global Environmental Health and Safety and Continuous Improvement programs while also leading due diligence efforts around partnership activities. Prior to this, Joe held leadership positions within global operations and manufacturing at Amgen both within Thousand Oaks, Calif., as well as other locations including Puerto Rico. During his tenure at Amgen, he was the leader for Operations and Strategic Planning, Global Supply Chain and Logistics, Global Distribution and Corporate Manufacturing. Mr. Newell was also a Plant Manager where he received multiple awards for reliability, effectiveness and lean six sigma execution. Prior to his tenure at Amgen, he held other Operations Leadership positions with both sponsor and contract manufacturing companies where he was highly accomplished and recognized for his contributions. Mr. Newell earned a BS degree in biology from California State Polytechnic University-Pomona.

"We are thrilled to add Joe to our leadership team,” said Isaac Ciechanover, Chief Executive Officer and President of Atara Bio. “He brings substantial global experience that will be instrumental as we embark upon the next phase of growth at Atara Bio, including the build-out of a multi-product manufacturing facility and further advancement of our robust pipeline of T-cell therapies.”

About Atara Biotherapeutics’ Allogeneic Cellular Therapy Platform

Atara Bio's cellular therapy platform provides healthy immune capability to a patient and arms the immune system to precisely target and combat disease. Cells derived from healthy donors are manufactured in advance and stored as inventory so that a customized unit of cells can be chosen for each patient. The cells are ready to infuse in approximately 3 to 5 days. Once administered, the cells home to their target, expand in-vivo to eliminate diseased cells, and eventually recede. This versatile platform can be directed towards a broad array of disease causing targets and has demonstrated clinical proof of concept across both viral and non-viral targets in conditions ranging from liquid and solid tumors to infectious and autoimmune diseases. The Company has pursued prospective feedback from health authorities on both manufacturing and clinical trial design. Atara Bio’s lead product candidate has the potential to be the first commercial allogeneic T-cell therapy for a viral target implicated in cancer.

About Atara Biotherapeutics, Inc.

Atara Biotherapeutics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company developing meaningful therapies for patients with severe and life-threatening diseases that have been underserved by scientific innovation, with an initial focus on allogeneic T-cell therapies for cancer, autoimmune, and infectious disease. Atara Bio's T-cell product candidates harness the power of the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells and cells infected with certain viruses. The Company's initial clinical stage T-cell product candidates include Epstein-Barr virus targeted Cytotoxic T-cells (EBV-CTL), or ATA129, Cytomegalovirus targeted Cytotoxic T-cells (CMV-CTL), or ATA230, and Wilms Tumor 1 targeted Cytotoxic T-cells (WT1-CTL), or ATA520. These product candidates have demonstrated the potential to have therapeutic benefit in a number of clinical indications including hematologic malignancies, solid tumors, and refractory viral infections. The Company is also developing a next generation of allogeneic T-cell product candidates utilizing a technology to selectively enhance a T-cell's ability to target specific viral proteins implicated in disease. Initial clinical investigations employing this approach will focus on multiple sclerosis and other virally mediated cancers and infections.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains or may imply "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. For example, forward-looking statements include statements regarding the Company’s efforts to move towards potential commercialization of its most advanced allogeneic T-cell product candidate, ATA129, as well as continued development of its broad and diverse cellular therapy pipeline. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, including those discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" in Atara Bio's annual report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on March 9, 2017, including the documents incorporated by reference therein, and subsequent filings with the SEC. Except as otherwise required by law, Atara Bio disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof, whether as a result of new information, future events or circumstances or otherwise.

INVESTOR & MEDIA CONTACTS: Investors: Steve Klass, Burns McClellan on behalf of Atara Bio 212-213-0006 x331 sklass@burnsmc.com Media: Justin Jackson, Burns McClellan 212-213-0006 x327 jjackson@burnsmc.com

Source:Atara Biotherapeutics, Inc.