Tech Moves

Tech Strikes: Adaptive CFO to resign; Meta comms exec departs; AI vet joins Absci board; new Zymeworks CEO

Chad Cohen. (Adaptive Biotechnologies Photo)

— Chad Cohen will step down as CFO of Adaptive Biotechnologies on Feb. 15. Prior to joining Adaptive in 2015, Cohen was CFO of Zillow Group.

Principal accounting officer Kyle Piskel will serve as interim CFO after Cohen resigns. Cohen will work with Piskel and Adaptive in a consulting capacity during the transition, as Adaptive searches for a permanent CFO.

Adaptive pulled in more than $150 million in estimated revenue for 2021. That’s compared to $98.4 million for 2020, according to a statement announcing preliminary revenue results and Cohen’s departure.

Adaptive has experienced rapid growth during the pandemic, doubling its workforce and opening a new headquarters building in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood last year. The company sells kits to assess the immune response and detect COVID-19, blood cancers, and other conditions, and partners with vaccine makers and other drug companies.

Cohen is also a board member of Vacasa, the vacation rental management platform company, and operating partner of Cota Capital, a San Francisco-based investment firm.

Joseph Sirosh (Compass Photo)

— Microsoft and Amazon veteran Joseph Sirosh was appointed to the Absci board. Sirosh is currently CTO of real estate platform company Compass. Sirosh previously served as CTO, corporate vice president of AI at Microsoft and is also a former vice president at Amazon.

Vancouver, Wash.-based Absci deploys AI and other computational methods, as well as laboratory screening techniques, to help drug companies find and develop protein-based drugs.

The recently-public biotech company also has announced a new partnership with long-time collaborator Merck. Absci will develop enzymes matched to biomanufacturing applications at Merck. Merck also has the option to enter into a drug discovery collaboration for up to three targets, which could yield up to $610 million in upfront fees and milestone payments for Absci.

John Pinette. (John Pinette Photo)

John Pinette, head of communications at Facebook parent Meta, has stepped down, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Pinette previously was VP of marketing and communications at Vulcan Inc., the holding company for the late Paul Allen. He also served as director of communications at Gates Ventures, Bill Gates’ private office, and the prominent hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management.

Prior to that, he led Google’s communications efforts in Asia and was a Microsoft director of communications.

Pinette joined Meta in 2019 and leaves as the tech giant remains embroiled in controversies related to political violence around the globe and in promoting harmful content to children.

Kenneth Galbraith. (Zymeworks Photo)

— Kenneth Galbraith was appointed CEO of Zymeworks. Galbraith will replace co-founder Ali Tehrani, who has served as president and CEO since 2003.

From 2009 to 2013 Galbraith served on the board of Zymeworks, which has operations in Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. Most recently, Galbraith was executive-in-residence of Syncona, a British healthcare investment trust focused on the life sciences. He launched his biotech career at Vancouver-based biopharma company QLT, where he departed as CFO in 2000.

Zymeworks is testing several agents in clinical trials against cancer, including “bispecific antibodies” that recognize two different molecular targets simultaneously. It also has a partnership with Bristol Myers Squibb, whose Seattle operation is developing new immune-mediated anti-cancer treatments. Galbraith will take the helm of Zymeworks in January, according to a statement.

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