Grail picks up new commercial chief as it inches its cancer blood test toward market

After picking up a new CEO early this year and delivering promising data for its cancer-seeking blood test, Grail has brought on a new chief commercial officer with international experience as it steers toward the market.

Gautam Kollu joins the company from Illumina, where he served as vice president of global market development and helped lead efforts to push the company's sequencing tech into applications such as prenatal testing and liquid biopsy.

“We are very pleased to welcome Gautam, who brings extensive experience in accelerating market development efforts to support the adoption of novel technologies in the genomics space,” said Hans Bishop, who took the helm at Grail over the summer.

“It’s an exciting time for our company, and Gautam’s strategic leadership will be invaluable as we work to advance our multi-cancer early detection test toward commercialization,” Bishop added.

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Before his time at Illumina, Kollu was vice president of marketing, medical affairs and business development at prenatal testing company Natera, as well as VP of commercial at genomics-focused drug hunter Exelixis. He also held marketing and commercial roles at Genentech and Procter & Gamble.

Bishop, former chief of CAR-T therapy developer Juno Therapeutics, took over for ex- EO Jennifer Cook after she stepped down due to family health reasons in June.

At the same time, Grail appointed Joshua Ofman as its chief of corporate strategy and external affairs. Ofman previously spent 16 years at Amgen, most recently as senior VP of global health policy, and brings a background in market access and health economics. The company also tapped Maykin Ho, of Qiming Venture Partners and a member of the biotech advisory panel of the Hong Kong stock exchange, to become an independent board member.

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And over this past year—at both the annual meetings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and across the pond at the European Society for Medical Oncology—Grail showed off clinical data illustrating its diagnostic’s ability to spot more than a dozen different tumors in their early stages and trace them back to their origin within the body through a simple blood draw.