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Dr. Margo Roberts Joins Celyad's Board of Directors and Scientific Committee


MONT-SAINT-GUIBERT, Belgium , Aug. 01, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Celyad ((Euronext Brussels and Paris, NASDAQ:CYAD), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of CAR-T cell therapies, today announced that Dr. Margo Roberts is joining Celyad's Board of Director and its scientific committee.

Dr. Margo Roberts, Ph.D., served as Chief Scientific Officer at Kite Pharma Inc. (acquired by Gilead in October 2017) starting in 2013, where she built a talented research organization that played an instrumental role in the successful development of Yescarta®, and the clinical advancement of additional CAR/TCR-engineered T-cell therapies. Most recently, Dr. Roberts served as Senior Vice President of Discovery Research at Kite Pharma focusing on the development of next generation therapeutic approaches, including heading up Kite's universal allogeneic T-cell programs.

Dr. Roberts has almost three decades of biomedical research experience in both biotechnology and academia. Prior to her tenure at Kite Pharma, Dr. Roberts was Principal Scientist and Director of Immune and Cell Therapy at Cell Genesys, Inc., where she led the development and application of CAR technology to T-cells and stem cells, culminating in the very first CAR T-cell trial initiated in 1994.  Dr. Roberts was also an associate professor at the University of Virginia, has authored over thirty scientific publications, and is the inventor on thirteen issued US patents and three published US patent applications related to CAR technology and tumor vaccine therapies. Dr. Roberts received both her Bachelor of Science degree with honors and her Ph.D. degree from the University of Leeds in England.  

Dr. Roberts' appointment at Celyad's Board is effective immediately.

Dr. Christian Homsy, CEO of Celyad: "Margo's experience in CAR technology is coming at a critical juncture for Celyad, as we pivot our unique approach to CAR-T from proof of concept to optimization. Margo has been instrumental in the success of Kite Pharma and the development of Yescarta®. I am thrilled that, amongst all options that Margo had, she has chosen to join Celyad. With Dr. David Gilham, Ph.D., our VP of R&D, Margo will provide input into the scientific strategy of the company. Margo will be part of our scientific quest to bring breakthrough pioneering therapies to cancer patients worldwide."

Dr. Margo Roberts, Ph.D., added: "I am honored to join Celyad's Board of Directors at such a transformative time for the company and the field of engineered immuno-oncology. I believe that Celyad's NK receptor-based technology as well as its non-gene edited allogeneic approach have enormous potential for the treatment of cancer, and I am very excited for the opportunity to work with the board members, David Gilham and other talented individuals associated with Celyad in this endeavour. I am really looking forward to leveraging my prior experience and on-going passion for innovative science to help advance Celyad's pipeline and bring ground-breaking therapies to cancer patients."

About Celyad

Celyad is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of specialized CAR-T cell-based therapies. Celyad utilizes its expertise in cell engineering to target cancer. Celyad's CAR-T cell platform has the potential to treat a broad range of solid and hematologic tumors. Its lead oncology candidate, CYAD-01 (CAR-T NKG2D), is currently evaluated in a Phase I dose escalation clinical trial to assess the safety and clinical activity of multiple administrations of autologous CYAD-01 cells in seven refractory cancers including five solid tumors (colorectal, ovarian, bladder, triple-negative breast and pancreatic cancers) and two hematological tumors (acute myeloid leukemia and multiple myeloma). The safety and clinical activity of the CYAD-01 therapy concurrently administered with standard-of-care treatments or preconditioning chemotherapy is also assessed in a full clinical development program focused on acute myeloid leukemia and colorectal cancer. Celyad was founded in 2007 and is based in Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium, and New York, NY. Celyad's ordinary shares are listed on the Euronext Brussels and Euronext Paris exchanges, and its American Depository Shares are listed on the NASDAQ Global Market, all under the ticker symbol CYAD.

For more information, please contact:

Christian Homsy, CEO and Patrick Jeanmart CFO
Nicolas Van Hoecke, Director, Investor Relations & Communications - T: +32(0) 10 39 41 84 -
For Belgium: Comfi
Sabine Leclercq - T.: +32 (0)2 290 90 90 -
For France: NewCap
Pierre Laurent and Nicolas Mérigeau - T: + 33(0)1 44 71 94 94 -
For the U.S.: LifeSci Advisors
Daniel Ferry - T.: +1 (617) 535 7746 -
Public Relations: Allison Blum - T:+1 (646) 627 8383 -

Forward-looking statements

This release may contain forward-looking statements, including statements regarding the safety and efficacy of CYAD-01 and the new mAb manufacturing method used to manufacture this drug product candidate; statements concerning the ongoing and planned clinical development of CYAD-01. Forward-looking statements may involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which might cause actual results, financial condition and liquidity, performance or achievements of Celyad, or industry results, to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. In particular it should be noted that the interim data summarized above are preliminary in nature. There is limited data concerning safety and clinical activity following treatment with the CYAD-01 drug product candidate. These results may not be repeated or observed in ongoing or future studies involving the CYAD-01 drug product candidate. These forward-looking statements are further qualified by important factors and risks, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements, including statements about: the initiation, timing, progress and results of our preclinical studies and clinical trials, and our research and development programs; our ability to advance drug product candidates into, and successfully complete, clinical trials; our ability to successfully manufacture drug product for our clinical trials, including with our new mAb manufacturing process and with respect to manufacturing drug product with the desired number of T cells under our clinical trial protocols; our reliance on the success of our drug product candidates, including our dependence on the regulatory approval of CYAD-01 in the United States and Europe and subsequent commercial success of CYAD-01, both of which may never occur; the timing or likelihood of regulatory filings and approvals; our ability to develop sales and marketing capabilities; the commercialization of our drug product candidates, if approved; the pricing and reimbursement of our drug product candidates, if approved; the implementation of our business model, strategic plans for our business, drug product candidates and technology; the scope of protection we are able to establish and maintain for intellectual property rights covering our drug product candidates and technology;  our ability to operate our business without infringing, misappropriating or otherwise violating the intellectual property rights and proprietary technology of third parties; cost associated with enforcing or defending intellectual property infringement, misappropriation or violation; product liability; and other claims;  regulatory development in the United States, the European Union, and other jurisdictions; estimates of our expenses, future revenues, capital requirements and our needs for additional financing;  the potential benefits of strategic collaboration agreements and our ability to enter into strategic arrangements; our ability to maintain and establish collaborations or obtain additional grant funding;  the rate and degree of market acceptance of our drug product candidates, if approved; our financial performance;  developments relating to our competitors and our industry, including competing therapies and statements regarding future revenue, hiring plans, expenses, capital expenditures, capital requirements and share performance. A further list and description of these risks, uncertainties and other risks can be found in Celyad's U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings and reports, including in its Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the SEC on April 6, 2018 and subsequent filings and reports by Celyad. Given these uncertainties, the reader is advised not to place any undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of publication of this document and Celyad's actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Celyad expressly disclaims any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements in this document to reflect any change in its expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based, unless required by law or regulation.

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