Illumina Makes First Imprint on GRAIL with New CEO


Genomics veteran Bob Ragusa is taking over the reins of GRAIL, a newly-acquired business unit of Illumina, Inc. He takes over for outgoing Chief Executive Officer Hans Bishop, who is stepping down from his role.

The leadership change comes two months after Illumina acquired GRAIL and its multi-cancer early detection (MCED) blood test dubbed Galleri. GRAIL launched its liquid biopsy in July. The test, available by prescription, is intended for use in those with an elevated risk of cancer, such as adults aged 50 or older. It’s also intended as a complement to existing single cancer screening tests. Galleri can detect more than 50 different types of cancer. Galleri is capable of determining the origin of a cancer signal with high frequency.

Ragusa joins GRAIL with more than 30 years of experience in genomics. His most recent role was serving as chief operations officer for Illumina. In that position, he has been responsible for scaling the sequencing company’s business to serve its client base across 140 countries. He has also been responsible for Illumina’s clinical lab services, which processed millions of genomic samples per year.

Before his role with Illumina, Ragusa served as executive vice president of Engineering and Global Operations at Accuray, a radiation oncology company. He also served as head of Global Operations for Applied Biosystems, which had a hand in sequencing systems used by the Human Genome Project.

Ragusa said helming GRAIL is the culmination of his career that includes a long history of working in genomics and oncology.

“I am honored to lead this talented team during a time of extraordinary growth and discovery with the express purpose of deploying innovation and cutting-edge science to help save lives,” Ragusa said in a statement.

Illumina CEO Francis deSouza said Ragusa has the strategic vision and “strong track record of execution” to scale GRAIL and its cancer screening test.

“His extensive experience building and leading high-performing organizations, as well as his deep understanding of our industry, make Bob the perfect fit to lead GRAIL. I’d also like to thank Hans for his leadership and commitment to advancing multi-cancer early detection,” deSouza said in a statement.

Bishop, the outgoing CEO of GRAIL, has held that role since 2019. It was under his guidance that Galleri was brought to market. Bishop called it one of the proudest achievements of his career.

“I am grateful to have led GRAIL over the last two and a half years. With Illumina, GRAIL’s world-class talent will advance innovation to further accelerate the development and commercialization of new diagnostic tools and services in the fight against cancer,” Bishop said in a statement.

before his time at GRAIL, Bishop served as CEO of Juno Therapeutics and also founded Sana Biotechnology. He will serve as an adviser to Ragusa through the end of 2021.

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