Zentalis CEO Tony Sun leaves

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After around seven years in the position
  • Praise and thanks for Sun
  • Kim Blackwell taking over
  • Sun kept it short and said 46 words

(exechange) — New York & San Diego, California, May 16, 2022 — Tony Sun, chief executive of Zentalis, leaves. As announced by Zentalis Pharmaceuticals Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Monday, May 16, 2022, Anthony Y. (Tony) Sun has left his post as chief executive officer at the clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, after around seven years in the role, effective May 10, 2022.

Tony Sun’s duties as CEO will be taken over by Kimberly (Kim) Blackwell, most recently Chief Medical Officer at Tempus Labs.

Already a director

Blackwell is already a director of Zentalis. Generally speaking, most director-turned-CEO appointments occur following a sudden resignation of the outgoing CEO and signal a lack of preparedness on the company’s part to groom internal talent. Directors-turned-executives represent a blend of outsider and insider.

They don’t have the constraints of a pure insider when it comes to leading painful changes or making unpopular decisions, and they have more company knowledge than a pure outsider.

Having been a director, Blackwell understands the expectations and dynamics of the board and has knowledge of Zentalis’s organization, risk-management practices and strategy.

“Rapidly accelerate our clinical strategy”

Zentalis did not give an explicit reason for Tony Sun’s departure from the CEO post. Dave Johnson, Chairman of Zentalis Pharmaceuticals, said: “As Zentalis focuses its resources on its Wee1 inhibitor ZN-c3 and BCL-2 inhibitor ZN-d5, Kim’s strong background in cancer drug development will enable us to rapidly accelerate our clinical strategy.”

Sun will remain CEO at Zentera Therapeutics

“Anthony Sun, MD, former CEO of Zentalis, to remain CEO of joint venture, Zentera Therapeutics,” Zentalis said.

Zentera Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with headquarters in Shanghai. Zentera was formed by Zentalis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to develop cancer therapies in China.


Zentalis said: “[O]ncology clinical development veteran Kimberly Blackwell, MD, will succeed Anthony Sun, MD, as Chief Executive Officer.”

Zentalis further said: “On May 10, 2022, Anthony Y. Sun, M.D., notified Zentalis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (the “Company”) of his resignation as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company and as a director and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Company (the “Board”), effective as of 11:59 p.m. on May 10, 2022 (the “Resignation Effective Time”).”

Share price decline since May 2021

The announcement follows a decline in Zentalis Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s share price of 66% since May 2021.

In the position of CEO since 2014

Tony Sun became CEO of the Company in 2014.

Anthony Y. Sun, M.D., has served as the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Company’s Board of Directors since December 2014.

Sun serves as Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors of Zentera, the Company’s joint venture in China and Kalyra Pharmaceuticals, Inc., or Kalyra, a small molecule drug discovery and development company.

From 2002 to 2015, Sun served in a variety of positions, including at Perseus-Soros BioPharmaceutical Fund and, most recently, as partner at Aisling Capital, a private equity firm dedicated to investing in life sciences companies.

Sun currently serves on the board of directors of Eyenovia, Inc., as well as on the boards of numerous private companies, including Immusoft Corporation, Alloy Therapeutics, Inc., and XRad Therapeutics, Inc.

Sun received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, an M.D. from Temple University School of Medicine and an M.B.A from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Sun trained in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and was board certified in Internal Medicine.

Push-out Score determined

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange gauges the pressure surrounding Tony Sun’s move on a scale of 0 to 10.

exechange reached out to Zentalis and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 21.2022 ($).