Luisa Salter-Cid joins longtime Bristol Myers collaborator Paul Biondi at Flagship's new drug brewery
Paul Biondi is gaining a familiar research chief at his corner of Flagship Pioneering.
The ambitious VC — famous for bold platform plays such as Moderna — said Luisa Salter-Cid is joining Pioneering Medicines as CSO, with the mandate of leveraging the platforms of various Flagship portfolio companies to conceive new treatments.
The two had crossed paths at Bristol Myers Squibb, where Biondi brought in a series of new drugs throughout his prolific business development stretch while Salter-Cid worked her way up the ladder to become head of immunology, small molecule immuno-oncology and genomics discovery.
In addition to helping usher more than 20 compounds into the clinic, Pioneering Medicines’ statement notes, she was also involved in strategy and had been the scientific lead on several of Bristol Myers’ acquisitions and licensing deals, likely putting her in close contact with Biondi’s team.
Salter-Cid then joined Sheila Gujrathi — who had held the same leading role in immunology a few years prior — and Faheem Hasnain at Gossamer Bio to build a fresh suite of immunology and I/O programs. Despite the fanfare, though, the biotech was hit with early setbacks in clinical trials, leaving the development team to explore alternative paths.
All that is behind her now. At Pioneering Medicines, she is tasked with conducting the early exploratory research, developing a target profile and shaping the assets that will ultimately feed into a portfolio that could span multiple therapeutic areas and modalities.
The new unit got going in 2020 to explore the full potential of all the new technologies being born out of Flagship.
“The idea is a recognition that we could create the ability to develop assets off the platform companies that the platform companies otherwise wouldn’t do,” he previously told Endpoints News.
That’s something fledgling biotechs usually rely on Big Pharma partners to do in exchange for cash. But Flagship — with its lavish investing style, big-picture thinking and experts on board — is all about rewriting the rules.