Bob Nelsen's ARCH adds FDA, biodefense expertise with appointment of Luciana Borio
Once vetted by the Biden team to lead the FDA as commissioner, Luciana Borio is now compiling quite the résumé.
Borio has now been named a venture partner at Bob Nelsen’s ARCH Venture Partners, and Nelsen told Endpoints News, “She will be involved in projects across the portfolio, including ongoing projects in manufacturing, clinical trials, gene therapy and gene editing, cell therapy, and delivery. We are exploring multiple projects in infectious disease, and next generation manufacturing.”
Borio announced her new role via tweet on Friday. The role will allow her to showcase her FDA and National Security Council-related expertise to advance innovation, science, and public health, Pfizer board member and former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, said.
Big congratulations to @llborio and to @rtnarch and the team at Arch Ventures. Dr. Borio is a great colleague and brings a deep record of skill and accomplishment at FDA and NSC to this new role; where she’ll continue to advance innovation, science, and public health. https://t.co/LijdxkRGB4
— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) July 23, 2021
Nelsen and Borio have worked closely in the past. He previously told Endpoints News that he spent last spring in his Seattle home, talking on the phone with Borio about her work running pandemic preparedness on the NSC, and fuming with her about the dire state of American manufacturing. Those talks helped lead to the launch of Nelsen’s $800 million biologics manufacturing startup Resilience.
Borio, who previously served as the FDA’s acting chief scientist and as VP at that nonprofit investment firm In-Q-Tel, serves as a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations for about the last year. Borio did not respond to a request for comment on whether she would keep that role at the CFR. She also serves as a member of CEPI’s scientific advisory committee, where she provides Covid-related guidance and work on the public-private partnership’s $3.5 billion plan to reduce the threat of future pandemics and epidemics.
And she played a hand in President Biden’s race to nominate an FDA commissioner, according to one former agency official.
During the saga around the first accelerated approval for Sarepta Therapeutics’ DMD drug eteplirsen, Borio — then FDA’s acting chief scientist — wrote to then-FDA commissioner Robert Califf with fears that current acting commissioner Janet Woodcock “chilled scientific debate within (the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Review) and reduced the level of participation by the review team during the final stages of the decision-making process.”
A former senior FDA official said it was this dispute that led Woodcock to push Borio out of the FDA entirely, after Borio circulated an internal memo concerning Woodcock’s role with Sarepta. This former official also said he thinks Borio, who was vetted but ultimately not nominated to lead FDA, might have a hand in icing Woodcock’s failure to land a nomination, too.
Article updated with comment from Bob Nelsen.