Adimab swaps scientist for lawyer as CEO Tillman Gerngross steps down after 15 years

Adimab will be swapping a scientist for a lawyer to lead the bispecific-antibody-focused biotech, as Tillman Gerngross, Ph.D., steps down after 15 years at the helm.

In an unusual move, Gerngross will be replaced as CEO by the company’s general counsel Philip Chase. A lawyer by trade, Chase has previously served as general counsel to Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and as chief corporate counsel at Transkaryotic Therapies.

A co-founder of the company, Gerngross will step away from day-to-day operations at Adimab and move to a strategic role as executive chairman of the board. The C-suite shake-up will also see Eric Krauland, Ph.D., appointed as president and chief scientific officer, the company said in a May 10 announcement. Krauland has held various positions at the company since 2007, including a previous stint as CSO in 2017.

Under Gerngross’ stewardship, Adimab secured partnerships with a who’s who of Big Pharma, including Bristol Myers Squibb, Sanofi and Takeda. One of these antibody-focused collaborations led to the Chinese approval of Innovent’s PD-1 immuno-oncology drug Tyvyt in 2019.

As of January, the company had seen 45 new programs enter clinical trials over the previous four years. Last year alone, Adimab's partners exercised 10 commercial licenses to advance programs into development, bringing the total number of optioned programs to over 85.

“Adimab has been the crown jewel of my professional and entrepreneurial endeavors, and I feel we have made a remarkable impact as a company,” Gerngross said. “I have the utmost confidence in this leadership team, who has been executing together for more than a decade, and I am proud to offer them this growth opportunity.”

Chase, his successor, added, “This next generation of management is committed to carrying forward Adimab’s well-established business model.

“We look forward to continuing to provide the highest quality therapeutic antibodies to our many current and future partners.”

In February, Gerngross stepped down as CEO of Adimab spinout Adagio, as the biotech’s investigational COVID-19 therapy faltered in studies against the omicron variant.