Amunix Appoints Industry Veteran, Frank Watanabe, to its Board of Directors

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA – June 23, 2021 – Amunix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Amunix”), an immuno-oncology company leveraging its proprietary, clinically validated Pro-XTEN technology platform to discover and develop transformative T cell engager and cytokine therapies for patients with cancer, today announced that it has expanded its board of directors with the appointment of Frank Watanabe, CEO of Arcutis and a biopharmaceutical executive with extensive leadership, strategy, operations and financing experience.

“We welcome Frank to our board of directors,” said Angie You, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Amunix. “Frank’s diverse operational background makes him an invaluable board member as we grow Amunix and advance our pipeline of novel masked T cell engager and cytokine therapeutics. We will benefit from his extensive experience in financing, business development, and commercialization in the U.S. and global markets.”

Mr. Watanabe added, “Amunix has a highly experienced team and a platform that enables rapid generation of a differentiated oncology pipeline. I am excited to help Amunix leverage its Pro-XTEN technology, a next generation, plug-and-play, protease-releasable masking technology, to continue to build a robust pipeline of promising therapeutics.”

Frank Watanabe is currently president, chief executive officer, and director of Arcutis Biotherapeutics, Inc., a late-stage dermatology biotech company. Under his leadership, Arcutis has raised more than $700M in private and public financings, and has advanced multiple novel therapies from bench through the clinic. Prior to joining Arcutis, he was co-founder and chief operating officer of Kanan Therapeutics, a cardiovascular drug development company, and before that, was vice president of strategy and corporate development at Kythera Biopharmaceuticals. Earlier in his career, he was an executive at Amgen, Inc., where he was involved in the development of Repatha® for hyperlipidemia and Aimovig® for migraine. Previously, he was an executive with Eli Lilly and company, and an official in the U.S. government. He was also a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves for 25 years. Mr. Watanabe earned his M.A. in National Security Studies, and his B.A. in International Relations, both at Georgetown University. 

About Amunix’s Pro-XTEN Technology

Amunix’s Pro-XTEN technology is designed to mitigate the toxicity of T cell engagers (“TCEs”) and cytokines by enabling drugs that are preferentially activated in the tumor microenvironment, thus driving tumor cell killing while minimizing on-target, off-tumor toxicity that can damage healthy tissues and/or cause cytokine release syndrome. Amunix’s Pro-XTEN technology leverages the intrinsically high protease activity in the tumor microenvironment to preferentially unmask and activate drugs in the tumor microenvironment. The two proprietary components of this technology are as follows: 1) an XTEN Mask, a polypeptide that serves a dual purpose of providing half-life extension while acting as a universal, spatial shield mask, and 2) a protease-cleavable linker that enables preferential unmasking and drug activation in the tumor microenvironment.

About Amunix Pharmaceuticals

Amunix Pharmaceuticals, based in South San Francisco, California, is an immuno-oncology company leveraging its proprietary, clinically validated Pro-XTEN technology platform to discover and develop transformative T cell engagers and cytokine therapies for patients with cancer. Amunix aims to expand the therapeutic index of TCEs and cytokines, which have demonstrated anti-tumor clinical activity, but have not realized their potential due to dose-limiting on-target, off-tumor toxicity. Amunix addresses this challenge by using its universal, protease-releasable masking technology, or Pro-XTEN, to create next generation, conditionally active T cell engagers, or XPATs®, and cytokines, or XPACs™, that are preferentially activated in tumors as compared to healthy tissues. Amunix’s most advanced product candidate, AMX-818, is a masked HER2-targeted TCE for the treatment of HER2-expressing solid tumors, which is currently in IND-enabling studies. Along with other T cell engager programs, Amunix is also applying its proprietary masking technology to its first masked, protease-activated cytokine program, IL12-XPAC™, which is in discovery stage.

For additional information about the company, please visit


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