Human genome pioneer J. Craig Venter, who disclosed last month he’s being treated for prostate cancer, is moving into a new role as executive chairman at Human Longevity (HLI), the San Diego genomics startup he co-founded in 2013. Cynthia Collins, who previously led GE Healthcare’s cell therapy and purification and analysis businesses, is replacing Venter as CEO, according to a statement from HLI today.
In the statement, Venter hails Collins for her “wide-ranging experience in leading and growing commercial operations for privately-held and publicly-traded life science businesses.” Before joining GE Healthcare in 2013, Collins was CEO at Genvec, a group vice president at Beckman Coulter, CEO of Sequoia Pharmaceuticals, and president of Clinical Micro Sensors, (now Genmark), a Motorola subsidiary.
As executive chairman, Venter will remain in a daily role leading the scientific strategy and direction of HLI. At the time Venter founded HLI (with X Prize founder Peter Diamandis and Robert Hariri of Celgene Cellular Therapeutics), he was also serving as CEO of San Diego-based Synthetic Genomics. Venter moved to executive chairman and co-chief scientist at Synthetic Genomics in 2014, when the company named Oliver Fetzer as CEO.