Ex-Juno chief Hans Bishop takes the helm at cancer testing startup Grail in a shakeup as IPO rumors percolate
There’s a shakeup underway at the high-flying cancer testing startup Grail which is bringing in one of the best known biotech execs in the industry.
Thursday evening Menlo Park, CA-based Grail announced that ex-Roche exec Jennifer Cook is stepping down from her post as CEO for family health reasons and handing the helm to Hans Bishop, best known for steering Juno Therapeutics to a $9 billion buyout by Celgene.
Bishop will vault to the top of an organization that is looking to revolutionize the early detection of cancer — along with a laundry list of deep-pocketed rivals — finding himself the overnight boss of George Golumbeski, the ex-Celgene dealmaker who is now president in charge of deals for Grail.
And that’s not all.
Joshua Ofman is stepping in as Chief of Corporate Strategy and External Affairs after a stint at Amgen, while Maykin Ho has joined Grail’s board as an independent director. The company also announced that Renée Galá has “decided to step down from her role as Chief Financial Officer.”
Longtime biotech observers will have no trouble identifying Bishop, who led Juno through a stormy startup period as the number 3 CAR-T developer who survived severe setbacks to win a fortune in a Celgene buyout. We’re still waiting for the long-delayed second CAR-T to pass its pivotal, though Bishop will remain on the Celgene board — for now anyway, as the $74 billion Bristol-Myers buyout nears.
Last May the unicorn — which is reportedly scouting a big-time IPO — raised a jaw-dropping $300 million from a group of investors that included a contingent from China: Ally Bridge Group, Hillhouse Capital Group, 6 Dimensions Capital, Blue Pool Capital, Sequoia Capital China and WuXi NextCODE. Pitchbook data have estimated its valuation at about $3.2 billion.
Image: Hans Bishop. LYELL