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Former Mayo Clinic administrator joins growing Rochester biotech firm as new COO

Vyriad has added Scott Beck to its team as chief operating officer. Beck served in many roles in his 30 years at Mayo Clinic, including chief operating officer of Laboratory Services.

Scott Beck
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ROCHESTER — A growing Rochester biotechnology firm recently named a retired Mayo Clinic administrator as its chief operating officer.

Vyriad, founded in 2016 by Mayo Clinic researchers Dr. Kah-Whye Peng and Dr. Stephen Russell, has added Scott Beck to its team as COO. In his 30 years at Mayo Clinic, Beck served in many roles. When he retired this summer, he was chief operating officer of Mayo Clinic’s Laboratory Services.

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“We have reached the point where we need someone in charge of operations,” said Russell. “My perspective is that it is the right time to grow the operational components of Vyriad and Imanis . We’re putting our foot on the accelerator.”

The main focus of Vyriad is to use viruses, such as measles and others, to attack cancer tumors. The two-stage process has the clinical-stage oncolytic virus damage the tumor and then "wake up" a patient’s immune system to finish destroying the cancer. Using viruses to treat cancer is an estimated $4 billion global market this year and it's expected to continue to grow as companies like Vyriad have products approved.

Vyriad and its sibling company, Imanis, now have 70 people working in its 40,000-square-feet of lab space on the Rochester Technology Campus , the former IBM campus, at 3605 U.S. Highway 52 North. There were 20 employees on the team when they moved there in 2020.


Earlier in his career, Beck played a major part in the development of the oncolytic virotherapy platforms licensed to Vyriad. Russell said that experience made him a good fit for Vyriad.

“He is an outstanding operations leader and a good friend. His proven leadership and relentless focus on execution will help realize our company’s goals,” he stated about Beck in the announcement of his hiring.

Beck added that stepping into this role at Vyriad made sense as a follow-up to his time at Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Kah-Whye Peng and Dr. Stephen Russell of Vyriad.

“My career at Mayo Clinic was wonderful. I’m looking forward to leveraging that to show that you can grow biotech in Rochester,” he said. “The company has come a long way in a short period of time under Steve’s leadership, and I look forward to helping grow our patient impact.”

Adding Beck to the leadership team is Vyriad’s latest milestone.

In May, it was announced that Stine Seed Farms Inc., led by Iowa billionaire Harry Stine, had made a $29.5 million investment in Vyriad.

That brought Vyriad’s fundraising tally, starting in 2015, to more than $100 million. Mayo Clinic, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund , South Korea-based Mirae Asset, and “several high-net-worth individuals” have all invested in the company.

In 2019, Vyriad announced a "transformative" deal with Regeneron to form "a strategic research collaboration" to ramp up the development of its cancer-fighting vaccines.


Heard Around Rochester - Jeff Kiger.png

Jeff Kiger writes a daily column, "Heard Around Rochester," in addition to writing articles about local businesses, Mayo Clinic, IBM, Hormel Foods, Crenlo and others. He has worked in Rochester for the Post Bulletin since 1999. Send tips to jkiger@postbulletin.com or via Twitter to @whereskiger . You can call him at 507-285-7798.
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