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New CEO at Zymeworks shifts leadership, plans to lay off 25% of staff

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Charlotte Schubert
2022-01-20 13:40:59

Zymeworks CEO Kenneth Galbraith. (Zymeworks Photo)

Kenneth Galbraith is shaking up Zymeworks within a week of becoming CEO of the Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.-based biotech company. He announced major leadership changes in a statement Wednesday, and said the company will lay off at least 25% of its staff this year.

The company will turn its focus to its phase 3 trial for one of its anti-cancer agents and early clinical testing of another. In addition, the company is “streamlining” its R&D strategy, seeking additional partnership opportunities and “improving our financial position,” said Galbraith.

Neil Klompas will serve as COO, Neil Josephson is chief medical officer, and the company is seeking a new R&D head, among other changes. Klompas will continue in his previous role as CFO; Josephson was previously Zymeworks’ head of clinical research.

Zymeworks reported $250 million in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments at the end of 2021. Stock of the company, which declined through much of last year, dropped more than 9% in morning trading Thursday.   

The company is developing “bispecific antibodies” that recognize two different molecular targets simultaneously, as well as other types of treatments. 

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