Cancer detector Grail hires Matt Burns as communications leader

Burns was Health Care Service Corporation’s comms chief.

Soon to be Grail comms leader Matt Burns.
Soon to be Grail comms leader Matt Burns.

MENLO PARK, CA: Healthcare company Grail has hired Matt Burns as VP and head of communications.

Burns is set to join multi-cancer early detection test-maker Grail on Monday, reporting to Joshua Ofman, chief strategy and external affairs officer. Burns will replace Charlotte Arnold, who stepped down last August.

Burns will be responsible for all internal and external comms. He will help the business engage stakeholders it needs to “bring its game-changing technology to market, which could move cancer detection from screening for individual cancers to screening individuals for all cancers,” he said. 

“I cannot think of a better way to spend my days than contributing to this promising new front in the war on cancer,” Burns added.

He will oversee a three-person team, which he anticipates will grow.

“We will be looking to create a comms structure and program that is commensurate with where the business is in its growth,” Burns said.

Previously, Burns was Health Care Service Corporation’s VP and chief communications officer. He exited the health insurer, which zis the parent company of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, in December.

Burns previously worked at UnitedHealth Group and Burson-Marsteller. He was also communications director for the 2008 Republican National Convention, press secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs and spokesman for former New York Governor George Pataki.

Last summer, the former head of Juno Therapeutics, Hans Bishop, was named Grail’s CEO, replacing Jennifer Cook. Bishop is the fourth CEO to join the company in 22 months.

Grail has a valuation at about $3.2 billion, attracting investors such as Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

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