Sector News

Bristol-Myers unveils team to lead R&D after Celgene deal closes

June 6, 2019
Life sciences

Bristol-Myers Squibb has unveiled the new-look team that will lead its R&D group after the closure of its Celgene takeover. The Big Pharma is dividing the group up into early- and late-phase development, handing Celgene’s Rupert Vessey responsibility for the former and hiring Novartis’ Samit Hirawat to run the latter.

The combined company will possess potential internal candidates for the late-phase post, such as Celgene Chief Medical Officer Jay Backstrom, but Bristol-Myers has opted to hire from outside its walls. Hirawat, a long-standing Novartis employee, is set to leave his position as head of oncology global development at the Swiss pharma to become CMO at Bristol-Myers.

As CMO, Hirawat will lead Bristol-Myers’ global drug development group, giving him responsibility for taking assets from proof of concept to commercialization.

Hirawat’s group is one of two functional areas in Bristol-Myers’ post-takeover R&D structure. The other functional area, research and early development (R&ED), will be lead by Vessey.

Vessey currently serves as president, research and early development at Celgene. Once Bristol-Myers closes its $74 billion takeover of Celgene, the ex-Merck and GlaxoSmithKline researcher will take on the same title at his new employer.

The post will give Vessey oversight of discovery, early development and translational medicine and will give him a role in identifying external assets in collaboration with the business development group. Bristol-Myers hopes the early-stage groups will form a “cohesive unit” under Vessey’s leadership.

Bristol-Myers Chief Scientific Officer Tom Lynch has been involved in the areas covered by R&ED since taking up the post in 2017. But, having joined Bristol-Myers from Massachusetts General Physicians Organization, Lynch is set to leave the Big Pharma by the start of October to “pursue opportunities in healthcare.”

Lynch replaced Francis Cuss as CSO when Bristol-Myers was reeling from a key phase 3 Opdivo flop. In revealing Lynch’s imminent departure, Bristol-Myers highlighted the “significant role” the CSO has played in the build-out of its translational medicine capabilities and increased focus on analytics and disease biology.

The release setting out the post-takeover leadership team makes no mention of other people who currently hold senior R&D positions at Bristol-Myers and Celgene, although there is scope for them to slot into the organization under Vessey and Hirawat.

By Nick Paul Taylor

Source: Fierce Biotech

Related News

May 8, 2021

BD to spin off $1B diabetes care business into standalone public company

Life sciences

BD’s new company will have the freedom to expand its portfolio of tools and technologies for the chronic care of diabetes.

May 8, 2021

Galapagos cuts pipeline, targets €150M in savings after setbacks

Life sciences

The Belgian biotech is pulling out of metabolic diseases and osteoarthritis R&D to focus on its core therapeutic areas.

May 8, 2021

Catalent snares yet another Belgian CDMO to boost fast-growing cell and gene therapy campus

Life sciences

Catalent will use its new facility for commercial production of plasmid DNA, used to make a range of biologics, including viral vectors, mRNA and cell therapies.

Send this to a friend