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Rupert Vessey

Chief Scientist and Executive Partner

Rupert Vessey joined Flagship Pioneering as Chief Scientist and Executive Partner in 2023. Rupert works closely with Flagship’s origination teams, engaging deeply with the science and strategies behind emergent early-stage companies, providing perspective and guidance on how to evolve and position Flagship's bioplatforms for pipeline and product success. Rupert also advises Flagship’s Pioneering Medicines on its expanding portfolio of therapeutic candidates.

Rupert served as Executive Vice President and President, Research for Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS). He joined BMS with its acquisition of Celgene in 2019. In this role, he led Research, overseeing the advancement of promising programs, technologies and assets across all therapeutic areas, from discovery through proof-of-concept. He also worked closely with Business Development to identify external sources of innovation. In addition, he served as the executive sponsor of the Organization for Latino Achievement (OLA) People and Business Resource Group and the Bristol Myers Squibb STEM Council.

Rupert joined BMS from Celgene, where he served as president of the company’s Research and Early Development organization. Prior to joining Celgene in 2015, Rupert spent ten years at Merck, where he was responsible for numerous drug development programs and held leadership roles in the company’s Early Development, Discovery Sciences, Drug Discovery and Informatics groups, as well as its respiratory and immunology franchise. Prior to his time at Merck, he spent five years at GlaxoSmithKline involved in drug discovery, experimental medicine and early clinical development of therapeutics for respiratory and immune diseases.

Rupert graduated from Oxford University in the United Kingdom with degrees in physiological sciences (MA), clinical medicine (BM, BCh) and a doctor of philosophy (DPhil) in molecular immunology. He is an elected fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.