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About Us

Management Team

Pascal Touchon

Pascal Touchon

President and Chief Executive Officer

With more than 30 years of global biopharmaceutical leadership experience, Pascal Touchon joined Atara Biotherapeutics as President, Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors in June 2019. Pascal has committed his career to transforming the lives of patients with serious medical conditions through pioneering science, teamwork, and a commitment to excellence.

Previously Global Head, Cell & Gene and member of the Oncology Executive Committee at Novartis Oncology, he oversaw the Oncology Cell & Gene unit and had responsibility for the unit’s financial performance and its activities, including the global launch of KYMRIAH® (tisagenlecleucel), securing regulatory approval and reimbursement in major markets, expanding global CAR T manufacturing and technical operations, overseeing multiple new clinical studies, and building a strong leadership team.

Prior to that, he served as Global Head, Strategy, Business Development, Oncology at Novartis, where he was responsible for early commercial strategy, portfolio management, therapeutic integrity and established medicines, disruptive technologies, diagnostics, business development and external collaborations, and served as a member of the Oncology Executive Committee. Pascal has also held key leadership roles in research, marketing, general management, and business development at companies including Servier, Glaxo-Wellcome and Glaxo, Sanofi. He has also been a board member of Genoptix and Navigate Biopharma Services (Novartis companies) and Cogen Therapeutics (a Flagship Pioneering company).

Pascal holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Paul Sabatier University (Toulouse, France), a Diplôme d’Etudes Superieures Specialisees (DESS) in management from Institut d’Administration des Entreprises (Toulouse, France) and an MBA from INSEAD (Fontainebleau, France).

Beyond his passion for science and business, Pascal enjoys traveling with his family around the world, wine tasting with friends, watching rugby, and reading.

Jakob Dupont, M.D.

Jakob Dupont, M.D.

EVP, Head of Global Research & Development

Dr. Dupont is a renowned expert in the fields of cell therapy and oncology, with long-standing and deep experience in developing therapies and programs dedicated to addressing high unmet medical needs. Dr. Dupont will serve as Global Head of Research & Development (R&D) including Medical and Regulatory Affairs. Prior to joining Atara, he served as the Chief Medical Officer at Gossamer Bio, overseeing global development, regulatory, and quality activities for the company, and advancing therapeutics in the disease areas of immunology, inflammation, and oncology. Dr. Dupont is eager to bring Atara’s groundbreaking therapies and future innovative treatments to patients.

Prior to his role at Gossamer Bio, he served as Vice President and Global Head of Breast and Gynecologic Cancer Development for Genentech/Roche, where he was responsible for the global development of Herceptin®, Perjeta®, Kadcyla®, and Tecentriq®, among others. Prior to that, Dr. Dupont was Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he oversaw the successful submissions of eight investigational new drug applications (INDs) and 26 clinical trial initiations.

Dr. Dupont has been involved in tumor immunology research and clinical investigations for more than 25 years, ranging from cellular therapy to tumor vaccine therapy and immune checkpoints. Dr. Dupont has received numerous grants and awards, and has co-authored 47 peer-reviewed publications, has 30 patents, and has also served as a faculty member and laboratory researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) and adjunct clinical faculty in medical oncology at Stanford University.

Dr. Dupont received his M.D. from the Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University, his M.A. in philosophy from New York University, and his undergraduate degree in philosophy from Vassar College. He also served as Assistant Chief Resident and completed his Medical Oncology Fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), his Internal Medicine Residency at the New-York Presbyterian Hospital — Cornell Campus, and his Internal Medicine Internship at The University of Michigan Medical Center.

Jakob and his family live in the Bay Area and enjoy outdoor activities including skiing, tennis, and canoe camping. Jakob is also an avid cook, gardener, and soccer fan.

Joe Newell

Joe Newell

Chief Operations Officer

Joe Newell is the Chief Operations Officer for Atara, overseeing Process Sciences, Manufacturing, Quality, Program Management, Alliance Management, and Enterprise Services.  He has extensive experience in product development, operational and quality management, and continuous improvement. Joe is a values-based leader passionate about cross-functional teamwork that results in delivering transformative medicines for patients through his role at Atara.

Prior to joining Atara in 2017 to lead Technical Operations, he served as Vice President, Manufacturing at Alexion Pharmaceuticals, where he was responsible for leading bulk drug substance manufacturing operations across seven facilities in the United States and supporting global expansion efforts in Ireland.

Previously, Joe spent several years at Amgen, where he served in multiple global leadership roles across Manufacturing and Supply Chain.  Earlier in his career, he held operational and entrepreneurial leadership roles with Catalent, Cardinal Health, Matrix Pharmaceutical, and Stanford Research Institute (SRI International).

Joe holds a B.S. in biology from California Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Away from work, he is dedicated to his wife and three children and enjoys the outdoors, sports, and a variety of restoration projects.

Utpal Koppikar

Utpal Koppikar

Chief Financial Officer

Utpal Koppikar is the Chief Financial Officer of Atara Biotherapeutics, a position he has held since joining the company in June 2018. In this role, Utpal oversees Finance, Information Technology, and Investor Relations. Through a commitment to Atara’s mission of transforming the lives of patients with serious medical conditions, Utpal’s organization enables the advancement of our groundbreaking medicines to commercialization.

Prior to his tenure with Atara, Utpal held several senior financial leadership positions at Gilead Sciences, including Vice President of Corporate and Operations Finance, in which he was responsible for R&D, corporate, G&A, process development and manufacturing, and strategic sourcing. During his time there, he led the three-year financial planning process and financial integration of Kite Pharma, upon that company’s acquisition by Gilead in October 2017.  Before that, Utpal played a key role as Gilead’s Vice President of Finance Europe, Middle East and Australia, in partnering with the commercial division for multiple product launches in the HIV and HCV franchises.

Prior to Gilead, Utpal served in multiple finance roles of increasing responsibility at Amgen. He began his career at Honeywell Aerospace (formerly AlliedSignal).

Utpal earned his B.S. in aerospace engineering at the University of Maryland and received a M.S. in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Stanford University. He also holds an MBA in finance and marketing from The Anderson School at UCLA.

Away from work, Utpal enjoys spending time with his wife and two teenagers, traveling, and mentoring aspiring young aviators.

Kristin Yarema, Ph.D.

Kristin Yarema, Ph.D.

Chief Commercial Officer

With more than 20 years of biopharmaceutical experience ranging from research to bringing products to market, Dr. Kristin Yarema was named Atara’s Chief Commercial Officer in February of 2020.

Kristin came to Atara after serving as Amgen’s Vice President & Therapeutic Area Head, Global Product Strategy & Commercial Innovation, Hematology and Oncology. In her seven years at Amgen, Dr. Yarema strategically managed the company’s pipeline in small molecule and immuno-oncology for hematological malignancies, such as multiple myeloma, leukemias, and lymphomas, and was recognized as having the top therapeutic area in 2018 while leading the Cardiovascular, Metabolism and Neuroscience business unit.

Prior to joining Amgen, Dr. Yarema held global roles for Novartis and McKinsey & Company, where she led project teams for companies across the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Dr. Yarema graduated from University of California, Berkeley with a Ph.D. in Biochemical/Biomedical Engineering and Stanford University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering with Distinction and B.A. in English with Distinction.  In addition, she has served on the Board of Directors for the Celiac Disease Foundation, the U.S.-based patient-advocacy group.

Dr. Yarema is proficient in Advanced German and basic French and in her free time, enjoys cycling, music, food, wine, yoga and travel.

Steve Bertram

Steve Bertram

SVP, Chief People Officer

Steve Bertram is the SVP of Global Human Resources at Atara Biotherapeutics. In the role of Chief People Officer, Steve strives to foster an environment where team members are motivated, challenged, and contributing to the organization’s mission within a company culture that rewards innovation, camaraderie, and the daily representation of the Atara values through actions and results. Since joining Atara, Steve has been passionate about the dramatic growth of people, programs, and the promise of delivering truly transformative therapeutics to patients in need.

Prior to joining Atara in August 2016, Steve served in several business-facing HR executive level roles at Amgen, with both domestic and global accountabilities and staff. Functional areas of HR leadership included Global Development, Global Commercial, Translational Sciences, Discovery Research, and Technical Operations. Prior to Amgen, Steve was with the Coca-Cola organization in Atlanta, supporting their flagship global marketing team. Steve began his career with The Upjohn Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan, holding roles of increasing responsibility in corporate, commercial, and international organizations.

In addition, Steve is very active in the Greater Thousand Oaks community and has served on the Board of Directors of the Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce since 2018.

Steve holds a BBA from Western Michigan University in business and an MBA from Michigan State University. Away from work, he enjoys time with his wife, Rebecca, and three kids, Ian, Logan, and Jensen, as well as scuba diving, boating, trekking, canoeing, attending sporting events, and traveling.

AJ Joshi, M.D.

AJ Joshi, M.D.

Chief Medical Officer

Manher (AJ) Joshi was appointed to the role of Atara Biotherapeutics’ Chief Medical Officer in September 2018. He joined Atara in August 2016, initially serving as Senior Vice President, Global Medical Affairs. He brings more than 15 years of clinical, drug development, and commercialization experience in orphan and large markets to his role at Atara.

AJ has built and led medical organizations through several launches across a broad range of therapeutics areas, including neuromuscular disease, neurosciences, genetics, metabolic diseases, urology, and dermatology. His previous organizational leadership roles include U.S. Medical Affairs Therapeutic Area Head at Allergan, SVP Strategic Development and Medical Operations at Synageva, and Vice President Medical Affairs and Operations at Genzyme.

AJ received his M.D. from the Boston University School of Medicine, his B.A. from Boston University, and completed his internship and residency in medicine at Yale.

In his free time, AJ enjoys photography, traveling, and playing the guitar.

K. Amar Murugan

K. Amar Murugan

General Counsel

Amar Murugan joined Atara as Senior Vice President, General Counsel in April 2020. With more than 20 years of legal expertise, Amar is excited to employ his significant experience to deliver on Atara’s mission of transforming the lives of patients with serious medical conditions.

Prior to Atara, Amar served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Assertio Therapeutics, a commercial stage pharmaceutical company. During his time at Assertio, he managed all legal aspects of more than $1.5 billion of acquisitions and divestitures, nearly $1.0 billion of capital raising transactions and all SEC disclosure and governance matters.  Amar also managed a broad array of litigation, including patent, securities, and antitrust litigation; handled numerous government inquiries and investigations; and had oversight of the compliance function.  Amar has a track record of achieving outstanding legal outcomes, including the successful defense of a hostile takeover attempt, securing a multi-million-dollar settlement of an offensive patent litigation, and defeating a securities class action matter at the motion to dismiss stage.

Prior to Assertio, Amar was a partner in the global law firm of Baker Botts LLP, and prior to that, McDermott Will & Emery LLP, where he served as outside general counsel for public and private life science and technology companies and executed on numerous M&A transactions, venture capital financings, IPOs, public offerings, private placements, collaborations, and commercial arrangements. Amar began his legal career at Heller Ehrman LLP.

Amar holds a B.S. from Georgetown University and a J.D. from UCLA.  Away from work, Amar enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, traveling abroad, visiting his native Wisconsin, and exploring the great outdoors.

Christiane Langer, M.D.

Christiane Langer, M.D.

Head of Global Medical Affairs

Christiane Langer is Senior Vice President of Global Medical Affairs, Atara Biotherapeutics. She joined Atara in May 2019. Christiane is passionate about patients, groundbreaking science, people-oriented leadership, and building meaningful, sustainable connections.

Prior to joining Atara, Christiane served as VP of Global Medical Affairs at Agios Pharmaceuticals and worked in leading medical positions for Roche/Genentech in both the United States and Germany. In these roles, she built and managed medical affairs teams, led successful launches, built strong relationships, and established deep expertise around various hematology and oncology-related indications (AML, GI, GBM, GU, including Avastin, Herceptin, Zelboraf and Tecentriq).

Before that, Christiane held positions of increasing responsibility at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) in the United States and Europe, where she led the oncology clinical development for Erbitux, resulting in full approval for Erbitux in colorectal cancer.

Christiane earned her M.D. from the University of Freiburg, Germany and spent her residency in obstetrics and gynecology with a focus on gynecologic oncology at the University Hospital Hannover, Germany. She completed a postdoc on apoptosis research in breast cancer in Dr. John Reed’s lab at the Burnham Institute in La Jolla, CA.

Away from work, Christiane enjoys time with her husband and two children, as well as traveling, running, and knitting – a passion she rediscovered most recently.

Jill Henrich

Jill Henrich

SVP, Global Regulatory Affairs

Jill Henrich is the Senior Vice President, Global Regulatory Affairs at Atara Biotherapeutics. She is excited to utilize her more than 20 years of experience in regulatory affairs as well as her background in research to deliver transformative medicines to patients through her role at Atara.

Jill came to Atara from OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mereo BioPharma where she served as U.S. Site Head and Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs. Before the merger in 2019, she was Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Quality, providing oversight on all aspects of global Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance strategy, implementation and execution. In her most recent time at OncoMed, Jill successfully negotiated an accelerated approval pathway for a DLL4/VegF bispecific antibody for the treatment of ovarian cancer at an FDA EOP1 meeting and gained agreement from FDA at an EOP2 meeting on the design of a single pivotal pediatric Phase 3 study for patients with osteogenesis imperfecta, a rare disease affecting children. She has led numerous meetings with the EMA and other European regulatory bodies for the setrusumab program through PRIME Designation and Adaptive Pathways. In addition, she was responsible for successfully filing and executing 14 Investigational New Drug (IND) applications for 9 novel programs in oncology.

Prior to joining OncoMed, she served as Executive Director, Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance at PDL BioPharma, Inc. providing strategic management and oversight for all regulatory interactions, Regulatory Operations/Corporate Document Control, Medical Writing and QA/Compliance activities. Jill also held a similar role at Corixa Corporation (formerly Coulter Pharmaceutical, Inc.) where she was instrumental in the filing and approval of an iodine-131 radiolabeled anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody for the treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In addition, she has held various positions in Research (Cell Genetics/Molecular Biology) and Regulatory Affairs at Genentech, where she maintained global regulatory responsibility for two approved marketed products and multiple products in various phases of development.

Jill holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences/Microbiology from the University of Connecticut.

In her free time, Jill enjoys the outdoors and is an avid mountain and road biker and hiker. She has also recently taken up bread baking.

Tim Valko

Tim Valko

Head of Global Manufacturing and Supply Chain

An accomplished operations professional with more than 25 years of leadership in biopharmaceutical manufacturing, operations strategic planning, and clinical and commercial supply chain, Tim Valko serves as Senior Vice President, Global Manufacturing and Supply Chain. In his role, Tim brings a commitment to excellence and cross-functional teamwork that results in delivering Atara’s pioneering immunotherapies to patients.

Tim has been involved in the launch and commercial supply for more than 20 marketed biopharmaceutical products. Prior to joining Atara in 2017 as Vice President, Supply Chain, Tim held various leadership roles at Amgen, including leadership of Site Supply Chain, Bulk Manufacturing, Global Supply Chain, Operations Risk Management, and Strategic Planning across Amgen’s global manufacturing network. He brings additional experience from vaccine and biopharmaceutical production at Warner Lambert/Parke-Davis and Pfizer in Michigan, including leadership roles across Manufacturing, Inspection and Packaging for Sterile Drug Products, Clinical Supply Chain, and Global Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Tim is currently Board Chair, Rx-360 Supply Chain consortium, an industry-led nonprofit that addresses biopharmaceutical and device supply-chain security to public health concerns and patient safety.

Tim received his bachelor’s degree in biology at Adrian College, Adrian, Michigan.

Away from work, Tim enjoys time with his wife and two daughters, exploring the outdoors, as well as hiking, biking, paddling, and archery.

José Eduardo Vidal, Ph.D.

José Eduardo Vidal, Ph.D.

Head of Quality Assurance and Process Sciences

José Eduardo Vidal serves as SVP, Quality Assurance and Process Sciences. He joined Atara Biotherapeutics in that role in August 2018. José is responsible for leading and advancing the Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control (CMC) components of our allogeneic T-cell therapy, including Quality and Quality Control Operations; functionality and compliance; scientific product, process, and analytical development; successful global regulatory approval; and preparation for commercial launch. He also manages the product and process development pipeline from preclinical stage through commercialization, as well as the industrialization of our cell therapy manufacturing process.

With more than 20 years of expertise in the development of biopharmaceuticals worldwide, José is dedicated to bringing our groundbreaking medicines to patients through pioneering science, teamwork, and a commitment to excellence.

Prior to Atara, José served as Vice President of Global Drug Product Process Development and Vice President of Drug Substance Operations at Amgen. At Amgen, he oversaw 1,200 employees and managed a $500 million budget across their global drug substance manufacturing network, as well as managed Amgen’s drug product process development of a multi-stage product pipeline.

José also held several senior roles at Wyeth and Pfizer, where he was responsible for leading Manufacturing Operations, Product and Process Development, and Quality Operations across multiple global and local sterile manufacturing operations. He has worked in numerous start-ups, including Biovail, as Head of Tech Transfer and Product Development.

José has been involved in the development of more than 100 products, as well as technology transfer, regulatory filing, and product launch in jurisdictions around the globe.

José received his bachelor’s degree in molecular biology, master’s degree in molecular endocrinology and biochemistry, and doctorate in cellular molecular biology, all from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras.

Away from work, José, an experienced and avid boater, enjoys sea boating adventures with his family.