Dana-Farber CEO Laurie Glimcher resigns from GSK board — is she the next NIH director nominee?
GSK announced this morning in a London Stock Exchange filing that Laurie Glimcher, president and CEO of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, has advised the company of her intention to retire from its board of directors on Oct. 13.
The company did not disclose why Glimcher has decided to move on now after more than five years as a non-executive director, but Glimcher’s appointment heralded a much bigger interest in oncology at GSK, and she’s moving on now as GSK’s R&D chief Hal Barron also hits the exit.
A pioneering scientist and a champion for advancing women to senior positions in the biomedical world, Glimcher took on the role at GSK after departing from her role on the board of Bristol Myers Squibb for two decades, where her immuno-oncology expertise proved valuable.
So what’s next for Glimcher? Dana-Farber told Endpoints in an emailed statement that she will continue her leadership of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
“I’m very proud of my service on the GSK Board as an advocate for patients with cancer and advanced cancer research,” said Glimcher. “I remain focused on reducing the burden of cancer here and around the world. This means ensuring expert, compassionate, and equitable care for all patients and advancing new treatments and cures.”
She said she will also continue serving on the board of directors for Analog Devices, a Wilmington-based high performance device maker, which she would also likely have to drop if NIH comes calling.
Her name has been floated in inner NIH and FDA circles to lead both those agencies. While she previously told Endpoints News she was not a candidate to be the next commissioner of the FDA (prior to Rob Califf’s confirmation), she’s been an advocate for boosting NIH resources over the years.
In her postdoc days, she did a three-year stint at Bill Paul’s laboratory at NIH, where Paul was the leader of the NIH immunology community. She also penned an op-ed a few years ago about how the NIH is in danger of losing its edge in biomedical innovation.
Investing in research at the @NIH provides the foundation for important discoveries in cancer research and treatment, and has the power to save lives. https://t.co/swJOszqLYn
— Laurie Glimcher MD (@LGlimcherMD) November 22, 2021
Her research and executive experience would make her a top choice for the NIH, especially as former NIH director Francis Collins retired but then had to return to help out when President Biden’s scientific leadership was in flux after the White House’s top scientist Eric Lander resigned after demeaning women in his office.
While some might say that Biden’s scientific leadership is still in flux, the recent additions of Califf at FDA, Ashish Jha as the White House coronavirus response coordinator, and the expected nomination of Monica Bertagnolli, an eminent surgical oncologist and physician-scientist at the National Cancer Institute, could pave the way for a new government role for Glimcher.
Editor’s note: Article updated with comment from Glimcher and Dana-Farber.