Geron Corporation

Geron Corporation is a public biotechnology company that specializes in developing and commercializing therapeutic products that inhibit telomerase for hematologic myeloid malignancies.

Elizabeth O’Farrell

Board Director - Geron Corporation

Assignment

Occam was engaged by longstanding friend of the firm and proven serial biotech CEO John “Chip” Scarlett, M.D., to recruit two board members for Geron. The searches began after Janssen backed out of a co-development and commercialization initiative for two Geron programs in late-stage development.

Challenge

Geron’s stock had come under significant pressure after Janssen’s reversal, a move largely derived from political and strategic reasons rather than concerns about the science behind Geron’s programs. Chip determined that the best way to signal the health of the company and the scientific rigor of the clinical programs was to bring on two highly credible board members. Geron wanted candidates with strategic and commercial savvy, as well as financial and transactional acumen. Diversity was also paramount.

Outcome

Occam recruited two high-caliber female board members: Dawn Bir and Elizabeth O’Farrell. Dawn brought formidable entrepreneurial commercial expertise from her work at Reata and Pharmacyclics, while Elizabeth’s wealth of financial and transactional experience in her 24-year senior management career at Lilly made her a perfect fit. This mix of perspectives has served the company well as it prepares to take two oncology assets to market.