WBBA Hires Chris Rivera As President, Replacing Retiring Jack Faris

Xconomy Seattle — 

Chris Rivera, a longtime biotech industry executive with experience in sales and marketing, has been hired as the new president of the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association, the state’s trade group for the life sciences industry. He will officially replace Jack Faris, who is retiring, on Jan. 1.

“I feel a great sense of responsibility and obligation to build upon the accomplishments that Jack Faris and the WBBA have achieved over the past several years,” Rivera said in a statement.

Rivera has held a series of senior management posts with top biotech companies, spread around the country, including Cambridge, MA-based Genzyme, South San Francisco-based Tercica, Frazer, PA-based Cephalon, and Horsham, PA-based Centocor. He was most recently the president and CEO of San Francisco-based Hyperion Therapeutics. Rivera was picked by a selection committee led by ZymoGenetics CEO Bruce Carter.

Rivera has Seattle ties, too. I first got to know him several years ago when he was at Seattle-based Corixa, working on what turned out to be an ill-fated attempt to commercialize Bexxar, the company’s drug for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. As a few more companies in Seattle make the shift toward commercialization, I suspect Rivera will be able pass along some lessons learned that just may help a few companies make that tough leap from R&D to the marketplace.