Geron Corporation (NASDAQ:GERN) announced today that its board of directors has appointed John A. Scarlett, M.D. as its Chief Executive Officer and to its board of directors. Geron is developing novel biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of cancer, as well as cell therapies from differentiated human embryonic stem cells for a range of conditions, including spinal cord injury.
“I am pleased and excited to assume my new responsibilities as Chief Executive Officer of Geron,” said Dr. Scarlett. “Throughout my career, I’ve been privileged to lead organizations and companies with products of great scientific and medical promise as they have transitioned to high value companies. I look forward to applying the lessons learned from those experiences at Geron, where the company’s differentiated human embryonic stem cell derived therapies and oncology drug candidates, imetelstat and GRN1005, have entered the clinic, and have the potential to become important human therapeutic products.”
In making the announcement, Hoyoung Huh, M.D., Ph.D., the Chairman of Geron, said, “Dr. Scarlett is an experienced leader with demonstrated success in growing clinical and commercial stage companies through active collaborations. We are excited to have him lead Geron in the continued transformation of the company towards significant value creation for its stockholders.”
Dr. Scarlett brings over 25 years of executive leadership experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry to Geron. Most recently, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Proteolix, a biotechnology company developing proteasome inhibitors for oncology and immunology applications. Proteolix was acquired by Onyx Pharmaceuticals in November 2009. Dr. Scarlett was also a founder and Chief Executive Officer at Tercica, a publicly traded biotechnology company, where he led the company through the acquisition, approval and commercialization of two novel endocrine products, key partnerships with Genentech and Ipsen S.A., and multiple financing rounds including its IPO in 2004 and subsequent follow-on equity offerings. Tercica was acquired by Ipsen in October 2008. Prior to Tercica, Dr. Scarlett founded and served as Chief Executive Officer of Sensus Drug Development Corporation, which he led through the acquisition, development and approval of a novel endocrine product and the sale of the company to Pharmacia in 2001. He also co-founded Covance Biotechnology Services, Inc., a 450-person contract biologics manufacturing and process development business, which was sold to Akzo Nobel’s Diosynth Division in 2001. Earlier in his career, Dr. Scarlett served as Head of the North American Clinical Development Organization and Senior Vice President of Medical and Scientific Affairs at Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and held several positions, including Director of Medical Research and Services, at McNeil Pharmaceuticals, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.