Arbutus Biopharma announced Friday that chief development officer Gaston Picchio is leaving for personal reasons.

Picchio joined Arbutus in 2018 and led the company’s efforts to develop its lead drug candidate AB-279, a RNAi therapeutic. He said in a statement that he expects the company to continue to play a role in developing a functional cure for hepatitis B virus.

Picchio will stay in his role until December 31. The clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company has initiated a search for his replacement.

“On behalf of our entire team, I would like to thank Gaston for his many contributions in growing Arbutus to where it is today,” Arbutus CEO William Collier said in a statement. “Gaston has led a talented group of professionals responsible for advancing the Company’s clinical pipeline with the goal of potentially developing a functional cure for patients with chronic hepatitis B virus. These efforts, along with those to advance our preclinical assets both in HBV and coronavirus into the clinic, will continue to proceed as planned through the leadership transition.”