Ex-GSK CEO Andrew Witty goes biotech, taking a board seat at G1

Andrew Witty and G1 CEO Mark Velleca File Photo

Andrew Witty may have just stepped out of the top job at the multinational pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline, but he isn’t leaving biopharma.

G1 Therapeutics $GTHX tells me that Sir Andrew is joining the board of directors at the Research Triangle Park, NC-based biotech, in a clear coup for the newly public company.

“I had met him a couple of times,” says CEO Mark Velleca. “GlaxoSmithKline has a presence in North Carolina. I was impressed by his remarks on where the industry is heading, issues of access,” marketing and more. “The fact that he has led the development of multiple products that have been sold globally, benefiting patients from all different therapeutic areas was an experience base we didn’t have on the board.”

Execs at Hatteras Venture Partners, a longtime backer, helped with the introductions, and the timing was exactly right. G1 completed its IPO just two months ago, raising more than $100 million as well as expectations on some new board additions. And Witty left the helm of GSK in March.

Witty had his ups and downs during his 9-year stint at the top of the pharma giant, certainly, but he persisted in maintaining a focus on ethics and corporate performance that can only benefit G1, adding some gilt-edged credibility and global Street rep as well as a guiding force for the company as they push their lead drug through a slate of mid-stage studies.

Generally, one board post will lead to a few others for the top-ranked execs. So does this mean we’ll be seeing more of these announcements from Witty?

I managed to get a question to him via e-mail on that score, but all I heard back was that he “has nothing further to add.”

Witty does have other work to attend to. He is Chancellor of the University of Nottingham in England and a visiting professor at Imperial College London. Here’s his prepared statement:

“As someone who is passionate about the development of new and meaningful medicines, I am delighted to join the G1 board of directors. The encouraging early clinical data generated by G1’s CDK 4/6 inhibitors support their potential to improve patient outcomes in multiple oncology indications. I look forward to working with the G1 team at this exciting time of corporate growth.”

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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