Vaithianathan “Palani” Palaniappan
Chief Technology Officer, Pioneering Medicines
Vaithianathan “Palani” Palaniappan joined Flagship Pioneering in 2021 and is Chief Technology Officer of Pioneering Medicines. In this role, he leads the strategy and implementation of chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC) aspects of asset development, ensuring Pioneering Medicines establishes a world-class and cutting-edge technical operations function. To achieve this, Palani will partner with external contract development and manufacturing organizations as well as leaders from bioplatform companies across the Flagship ecosystem to lead CMC, pharmaceutical development, and manufacturing efforts for all programs across Pioneering Medicines’ portfolio.
Palani most recently served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Aruvant Sciences leading cell and gene therapy development for rare diseases such as sickle cell disease and hypophosphatasia. His prior executive roles included Head of Global Technical Operations at Sarepta Therapeutics overseeing development of RNA and DNA therapies for neuromuscular and musculoskeletal conditions, and Global Head of Biologics and New Modality Development at Takeda Pharmaceuticals for over a decade focusing on oncology, gastrointestinal and central nervous system diseases where he led teams in Japan and the U.S. His early career included leadership positions at Millennium Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Takeda), Biogen, Nexstar Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Gilead), and Par Pharmaceuticals. Throughout his career, Palani participated in all stages of development, from research to commercialization, for portfolios of different modalities including biologics, antibody drug conjugates, RNA and DNA therapies, autologous and allogeneic stem cell therapies, live microbial products, small molecules and liposomal delivery. He has participated in preparing and filing CMC and manufacturing portions of regulatory dossiers in these areas (NDA, BLA, MAA, IND and CTA) including numerous commercial product launches.
Palani received his Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and completed his post-doctoral studies in biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California, Riverside and Virginia Commonwealth University. He holds a M.S. and B.S. from Annamalai University. He has completed executive leadership education at Oxford University and at Insead. From 2017 to 2020, Palani served on the Board of the International Consortium for Innovation & Quality (IQ), and from 2016 to 2018 he was IQ’s inaugural Chair of the Biologics CMC Leadership Group. He also serves on the biotechnology curriculum advisory board at Northeastern University.