Sector News

GSK hires Branson from Genentech to boost AI team

July 12, 2019
Life sciences

GlaxoSmithKline has bolstered its artificial intelligence team by hiring Kim Branson from Genentech. The appointment gives Branson oversight of GSK’s efforts to use AI to find novel drug targets.

Branson headed up AI at Genentech’s early clinical development unit for about a year before joining GSK recently as global head of artificial intelligence and machine learning. The appointment is the latest in a series of moves by GSK designed to revitalize its R&D operation through the use of technology.

“The most impactful way any company will change its performance is making the timelines shorter, the costs lower and the probability of success higher,” GSK CEO Emma Walmsley told Bloomberg, the first publication to report news of Branson’s appointment.

Branson arrives at GSK following a career spent straddling the line between drug development and computing. Early in his career, Branson spent two years at computational drug design pioneer Vertex before sidestepping into health data and analytics at Gliimpse—which Apple acquired—and Lumiata.

Genentech attracted Branson back into biopharma in 2018 but was unable to keep hold of him for long. At GSK, Branson has joined up with a growing pool of Genentech alumni led by Hal Barron.

Some of the changes made to GSK’s R&D group under Barron and Walmsley have related to AI. Months after Walmsley took over as CEO, GSK formed a pact with AI-enabled drug discovery shop Exscientia. Around the same time, GSK put John Baldoni in charge of new AI-focused group and teamed up with Insilico Medicine. In 2018, GSK joined forced with another AI startup, Cloud Pharmaceuticals.

The flurry of activity is part of a broader, industrywide exploration of the potential for technology to made R&D more efficient, either by accelerating the process or cutting the failure rate.

By Nick Paul Taylor

Source: Fierce Biotech

comments closed

Related News

December 3, 2022

Sanofi moves into swanky new Paris HQ designed around hybrid work and sustainability

Life sciences

Monday, the French pharma giant officially moved into its new global home base in Paris, dubbed La Maison Sanofi. The 9,000-square-meter (about 96,875-square-foot) facility comprises two historic buildings and will host around 500 employees, the company explained in a release.

December 3, 2022

As CEO Schultz eyes retirement, Teva taps former Sandoz head Francis as its next leader

Life sciences

On the first day of the new year, former Sandoz chief Richard Francis will take the reins from Schultz, who is hanging up his CEO hat to retire on Dec. 31, Teva said Monday. The news comes a little more than two weeks after Teva publicly said it was looking for Schultz’s replacement.

December 3, 2022

General Electric sets healthcare division spinoff plans

Life sciences

General Electric Co. set the terms for the spinoff of its healthcare division, putting an initial value of roughly $31 billion on the soon-to-be-public company. The Boston conglomerate plans to split into three separate public companies by early 2024. Following the healthcare spinoff, it plans to separate its aerospace business from its power and renewable-energy units.