Another biotech executive has tested positive for COVID-19. Apellis CEO Cedric Francois revealed his diagnosis in a LinkedIn post this weekend. He was tested a day after he started feeling ill, with “[no] fever, no cough or shortness of breath, but general malaise.”
“On Thursday 3/12 I was tested and since then my condition has remained unchanged,” he wrote. He is isolating himself in his apartment and wrote that he hasn’t been in the Apellis office since March 3, “making it unlikely I came into contact with anyone in the office while potentially contagious.”
Francois’ diagnosis comes days after that of Allogene chairman and biotech veteran Arie Belldegrun who was tested after experiencing “minimal dry cough and transient low-grade fever.”
Francois decided to self-quarantine after he heard on March 8 that he had “been in the same building as infected individuals a few days prior.” That building was the Boston Marriott Copley Place Hotel, which hosted a healthcare conference sponsored by Cowen in the first week of March, the Boston Globe reported. Francois attended on March 4, two days after executives from Biogen were there, an Apellis spokeswoman told the Globe.
A Biogen conference held in late February looks to be the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Massachusetts. As of Monday morning, state officials said 108 of the 164 cases in Massachusetts are linked to that conference, the Globe reported.
“Like others, I thought it would be good to be open about this and to show my gratitude… We are part of the marvelous world of biotech. Together, we aim to advance the cause of medicine. We spend day and night trying to improve the human condition. We work for all people worldwide to control COVID-19 and together we will conquer this virus,” Francois signed off.