Zealand Pharma CSO quits to take up another biotech post

Andrew Parker is set to step down as chief scientific officer of Zealand Pharma at the end of next month. Parker gave his notice after receiving an offer from another biotech, leaving Zealand to search for a new CSO.

Zealand said Parker, a British national, is moving on to take up a “top executive leadership position in a non-competing biotechnology company outside Denmark.” At the time of writing, the identity of Parker’s new employer and the exact nature of his new role are not known publicly, although Zealand CEO Emmanuel Dulac implied it is a clear step up from his current position. 

“While I deeply regret to lose him, it is always good news to see Zealand people being approached to take on bigger opportunities. I wish him well as he steps into a more demanding, and well deserved new role,” Dulac said in a statement.

Zealand said the search for a replacement for Parker is “well underway.” In the interim, Rie Schultz Hansen, Zealand’s vice president of research, will lead the department. Schultz Hansen has spent almost a decade at Zealand, starting out as a senior scientist before moving up to her current position earlier this year.

Parker departs after a three-year stint at Zealand that coincided with the emergence of the company on the global stage. Zealand listed on Nasdaq in 2017 and used some of the proceeds to fund the early-stage work of Parker and his colleagues. Parker leaves Zealand with a preclinical pipeline stocked with ion channel blockers and follow-on GLP-1 assets, plus the complement C3 inhibitor it is working on with Alexion Pharmaceuticals. 

Prior to joining Zealand, Parker was scientific director of Eclosion2, a private investment vehicle, and CEO of Arisgen, an oral peptide drug delivery technology backed by the fund. Earlier in his career, Parker held positions at AstraZeneca and Shire.