ON Partners Recruits COO for Antheia  

November 29, 2021 – Executive search firm ON Partners has assisted in the placement of Zack McGahey as chief operating officer of Antheia, a synthetic biology company enabling next-generation plant-inspired medicines. Partner Suzanne Zebedee and consultant Clint Keller led the assignment. Mr. McGahey, former vice president of manufacturing and capex engineering at Zymergen, joins Antheia to operationally oversee its transition from pilot scale to commercial scale manufacturing. “We are thrilled to welcome Zack to the Antheia team at this exciting time in our company’s trajectory,” said Christina Smolke, CEO at Antheia. “Zack’s wealth of experience overseeing manufacturing at some of the most innovative companies worldwide will play an instrumental role in guiding Antheia as it embarks on this next phase of our journey.”

The new COO will be responsible for all operations functions as the company scales and commercializes its first products. This includes overseeing product manufacturing and quality, both internally and at external manufacturing partners, as well as global supply chain and project management. His depth of experience in operational and leadership roles across  manufacturing, process engineering and tech transfer programs is expected to help accelerate Antheia’s growth towards product commercialization.

“I am excited to join the Antheia team at this pivotal moment as the company builds out its commercial manufacturing operations,” said Mr. McGahey. “I’ve spent much of the last two decades managing critical ramp moments for companies, and I look forward to scaling Antheia’s operations and helping the company transform the way essential medicines are made.”

Strong Experience

Mr. McGahey has built a career as a leading operations executive for advanced manufacturing companies across the pharmaceutical, synthetic biology, diagnostics and automotive industries. He has extensive leadership experience in the biomanufacturing industry, spanning from R&D and pilot phase to commercial scale operations, across mammalian and bacterial cell lines as well as yeast strains.

At Zymergen, Mr. McGahey led all manufacturing and capital project management for the company. He also gained experience managing commercial scale facilities operations for Tesla, where he was responsible for managing 10 million square feet of factory, lab and warehouse space to meet aggressive manufacturing milestones for the Model 3 under tight timelines.

Based in Menlo Park, CA, Antheia is focused on unlocking the medicinal power of nature. Its synthetic biology platform employs a novel approach to whole cell engineering reconstructing complex molecules in yeast to bring to market next generation plant inspired medicines. The company was founded in 2015.

A Fast Growing Firm

With a primary focus on technology, consumer, industrial and the life science sectors, ON Partners recruits C-level and board talent for public and private companies, as well as venture capital and private equity firms. Founded in 2006, the firm’s consultants work from offices in Atlanta; Boston; Chicago; Cleveland; Dallas; Menlo Park, CA; Minneapolis; and San Francisco and New York. ON Partners was named of the one fastest growing search firms this year by Hunt Scanlon Media. The firm is now ranked as one of the 20 largest search firms in the nation.

Dr. Zebedee has devoted more than 20 years to executive search with a focus on the life sciences, specializing in biotechnology, diagnostics, research tools and pharmaceuticals sectors of healthcare. Functions she has served include C-level and top-level research, development and commercial executives for public, private and VC-backed organizations. An executive committee member at ON Partners, Dr. Zebedee has served as senior client partner and co-leader of the biotechnology practice at Korn Ferry, vice president of business development for two venture-backed companies and held research positions at the R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Pharmacia and SIBIA.

Mr. Keller serves private equity, public companies and growth organizations. He specializes in GTM roles in the enterprise software, SaaS, and consumer focused technology spaces. Mr. Keller served as director and vice president at ON Partners from 2015 to 2019, executing over 60 senior-level searches for high growth and privately held software companies. He spent two years as an independent consultant and recruiter focused on scaling VC-backed technology start-ups and a brief stint with talent advisory firm Will Reed before returning to On Partners this year.

Related: Skills Gap Points to Why We Need to Invest in People

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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