Genentech cancer R&D vet Raphaël Rousseau jumps ship, joins Gritstone

Raphaël Rousseau, Gritstone Oncology CMO

When you’re looking to break new ground and make a reputation for yourself in cancer R&D, one of the best places to raid talent is the legendary biotech Genentech. And the personalized cancer vaccine player Gritstone Oncology helped prove that point again today with the recruitment of Genentech vet and longtime cancer researcher Raphaël F. Rousseau as its new chief medical officer.

Rousseau’s long resume includes a stint as global franchise head for pediatrics in Genentech’s Product Development Oncology division. He “managed a clinical team of physicians and scientists across sites as well as a cross-functional development and study management team of more than 60 people across several key functions, including clinical science, safety, regulatory, research, biomarkers, clinical pharmacology and operations,” adds his short-form biographers.

Before joining Genentech in 2009, the same year of the big Roche buyout, Rousseau worked in hematology at the Swiss pharma giant. He’s also credited with leading “the first European consortium for the conduct of an EMA-approved phase 1 study using CD19-targeting CAR T cells for the treatment of pediatric high-risk leukemias.”

Andrew Allen, who was CMO at Clovis Oncology before he co-founded Gritstone and went after neoantigens, says Rousseau makes an ideal addition to the top team.

“Raphaël’s expertise in applying translational research to immunotherapy in oncology and hematology and his experience overseeing clinical trials of innovative therapeutic compounds will be invaluable as we advance our first neoantigen immunotherapy into the clinic in 2018.”

Gritstone also promoted Roman Yelensky to chief technology officer, where he will oversee the company’s genomics, proteomics and informatics programs.

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