Geron Names Chip Scarlett, Former Proteolix, Tercica Boss, as New CEO

Xconomy San Francisco — 

Geron has found a new CEO as it moves ahead in the new world of clinical trials with embryonic stem cells.

Menlo Park, CA-based Geron (NASDAQ: GERN) said that biotech veteran John “Chip” Scarlett has been named the company’s new CEO and member of the board. Scarlett, an endocrinologist by training, is best known for selling the last two companies he ran (South San Francisco-based Proteolix and Brisbane, CA-based Tercica) for more than $1 billion combined when all the milestones are added up. Scarlett replaces interim CEO David Greenwood, who will stay as president and finance chief through a transition period to the end of 2011, Geron said.

“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,” Scarlett said in a company statement today. “I look forward to applying the lessons learned from those experiences at Geron.”

Longtime CEO Thomas Okarma left the company in February. The company made big news last October when its long-delayed human embryonic stem cell therapy, GRNOPC1, began its first clinical trial in patients with spinal cord injuries. Geron is also developing three different cancer treatments in clinical trials.

Shares of Geron climbed 3.2 percent to $2.23 at 1:11 pm Eastern following the news.

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