Michelle Burris, the chief financial officer at Bothell biotechnology company OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals, has resigned from her post after disclosing a “developing personal relationship” with CEO Scott Cormack.
After the relationship was disclosed to the board, the company determined that Burris should hand over her executive duties to others in the company. She will continue to serve as executive vice president of operations until March 31, and if she releases all claims from the company for one year she will continue to be paid as consultant with a monthly retainer of $34,000.
Both Burris, 46, and Cormack, 47, are single, reports Xconomy. Shares of OncoGenex are up slightly in Nasdaq trading today, with the company trading at $12.49. It has a market value of $183 million.
In addition, Buriss will get health insurance coverage, and her stock options and restricted stock units will continue to vest. Burris is the former CFO at Dendreon and Corixa, two of Seattle’s better known biotech companies.
Furthermore, if Burris completes the consultancy work and releases claims, she will receive a lump sum payment of $410,000, which the company said is “consistent with the severance payment in her prior employment contract.
“Additionally, the Company will accelerate the vesting of Ms. Burris’s outstanding stock options and restricted stock units that would have vested over a 12-month period had she continued to provide services to the company,” the company wrote. “If the consultancy ends within three months before or within 12 months after a change of control of the Company, all of Ms. Burris’s outstanding stock options and restricted stock units will immediately vest.”
As part of the transition, Cormack has been appointed as principal financial officer, secretary and treasurer. Susan Wyrick has been been principal accounting officer. She had previously served as senior director of finance.
Founded in 2000, OncoGenex is developing drugs for the treatment of prostate cancer. The company lost $17 million during the first nine months of last year on revenue of $10.3 million. More on the terms of the agreement between OncoGenex and Burris in this SEC filing.