Tech Moves: Adaptive Biotechnologies’ chief medical officer resigns; Athira Pharma’s new hires


Lance Baldo. (Adaptive Photo)

Lance Baldo stepped down as chief medical officer of Adaptive Biotechnologies. Baldo is “moving on to pursue another professional opportunity in the early cancer screening market close to home,” a spokesperson for the Seattle company told GeekWire. The physician and former head of U.S. medical affairs at Genentech has been based out of South San Francisco and joined publicly traded Adaptive in 2019.

The move comes after Adaptive laid off 12% of its workforce, about 100 employees, in early March. The company also announced a new CFO, Tycho Peterson, and narrowed its focus to two key business areas, immune medicine and detection of minimal residual disease (MRD) in oncology.

The medical team now reports to Sharon Benzeno, chief commercial officer for immune medicine, and Nitin Sood, chief commercial officer for MRD. Benzeno was previously a company-wide chief business development officer and Sood was chief commercial officer.

Adaptive’s partnership with South San Francisco-based Genentech to develop T-cell based cellular therapies will continue.

— Athira Pharma announced new hires and promotions. Josh Pan was promoted to VP of corporate development and Robert Renninger to VP of finance and accounting. The company hired Simon Daggett as VP of clinical operations; he was previously head of clinical operation at Bioniz Therapeutics and was director of clinical development at Allergan. The company also hired Lana Gloukhova as VP of drug safety and pharmacovigilance.

Athira has been regrouping after the departure of its long-time CEO and co-founder Leen Kawas this fall, in the wake of a company investigation into data integrity of scientific papers she co-authored. The company expects to announce top-line data next quarter on a phase 2 clinical trial of its experimental therapy for Alzheimer’s disease and has other ongoing trials.


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