Elpiscience Biopharmaceuticals, Inc.

Chief Financial Officer

March 1, 2022

Clinical Stage Biopharmaceutical Company Makes Strategic CFO Hire

Elpiscience is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on innovating and developing next-generation immunotherapy to benefit cancer patients worldwide. The company has a robust pipeline of globally innovative molecules, covering wide range of targets in immuno-oncology. It has four molecules in clinical trials (ES002, ES101, ES102, and ES104), and endeavors to clinically advance at least one innovative molecule a year. Founded and managed by a team of biopharma industry leaders, Elpiscience is backed by renowned investors including Lilly Asia Ventures, Hillhouse Capital, Hyfinity Investments, Greater Bay Area Homeland Development Fund, CDH, DYEE Capital and Cormorant Asset Management. Headquartered in Shanghai, the company was seeking a US-based CFO ahead of their upcoming IPO this year. John will be based in the Bay Area and will lead finance and corporate development, working alongside CEO Darren Ji.

The Approach

LifeSci Search originally kicked off two Board member searches with Elpiscience, around the time they were close to placing a CFO themselves. Their original candidate fell through, which opened up an opportunity for us to help them identify a CFO. The biggest challenge in this search was finding a well-rounded and external facing CFO with the level of understanding and representation of a biotech company cross-culturally that Elpiscience was looking for. The leadership team required a presentation from each candidate to demonstrate their cross-cultural acumen and how they would approach the US-based CFO role. Search utilized our vast network of CFOs with experience leading successful IPOs to identify an initial shortlist.

The Outcome

John Craighead was the ideal profile with over 15 years of experience leading equity financing, corporate partnerships, and strategic investor relations for biotech and pharma companies. With a PhD in Cell Biology from The Scripps Research Institute, John also brings an impressive scientific background. John was previously Vice President, Strategy, Corporate Development & Investor Relations at GRAIL, Inc., where he led the IPO financing process and contributed to negotiations that resulted in the Illumina acquisition. Additional information about this appointment can be viewed on the press release here.

Led By

Matt Toner | Co-Founder and CEO

Search Data

Candidates Shortlist 45
Candidates Formally Presented 5
Candidates Interviewed 3
Time to Hire 3.5 months


John Craighead | CFO

  • VP, Strategy, Corporate Development & IR, Grail, Inc.
  • VP, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications, Atara Biotherapeutics, Inc.
  • Sr. Director, Investor Relations, Sonofi

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