Hutch Starts Search for New Prez as Corey Steps Down

Xconomy Seattle — 

After several years under the stewardship of international HIV vaccine expert Larry Corey, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, one of the world’s leading biomedical research centers, is looking for a new leader.

The “Hutch” announced today that Corey is stepping down after three and a half years on the job to “return to his passion and focus on research”—namely, trying to develop vaccines for HIV and genital herpes. Corey will stay on at the Hutch to do that work in the organization’s vaccines and infectious diseases division.

In the meantime, deputy director Mark Groudine will hold the fort as interim president and director of the Hutch while the board of trustees kicks off a national search for Corey’s successor.

The new hire will take on one of the premiere positions in U.S. biomedical research. The Hutch, established in 1975, has 2,600 employees and an annual budget of more than $390 million, has produced its share of Nobel laureates, and pursues the ambitious goal of “eliminating” cancer. The Hutch brought in over $400 million in revenue in fiscal 2013, about $330 of it from grants and research contracts.

Larry Corey

Larry Corey

Corey worked at the Hutch for more than a decade before becoming president in January 2011. Prior to that, he’d spent three plus decades building a reputation as a physician-scientist and had founded the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, an international collaboration between scientists to find a vaccine against the shifty virus, in 1999. Corey said in a statement today that the Hutch’s fundraising efforts came to an “all time high” earlier this year when the Bezos family gave the organization a $20 million gift.

“It is a privilege to have served as President and Director of The Hutch and I am proud that I have accomplished the strategic goals I set when I took the job,” Corey said in a statement. “We have deepened our scientific leadership across all areas, improved our financial condition, commercialized important technology, and most importantly, have made significant scientific breakthroughs in the areas of immunotherapy and genomics…I am proud of bringing the Center to such a successful spot, and because of that I feel I can look forward to returning to my laboratory and my research since I have always been, first and foremost, a scientist and researcher and have missed not being fully dedicated to those pursuits.”

Some of Corey’s pursuits will also presumably take place at Juno Therapeutics, a big, bi-coastal startup that’s developing a method to re-engineer T cells into cancer killers. Corey is a co-founder of Juno, which raised a whopping $176 million Series A round that closed in late April.