CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 13, 2023 – Flagship Pioneering, the bioplatform innovation company, announced today that pharma and biotech leader Rupert Vessey is joining as Chief Scientist and Executive Partner, effective July 31. In this newly-created role, Vessey will work 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. Vessey will also advise Flagship’s strategic initiative Pioneering Medicines on its expanding portfolio of therapeutic candidates.
Vessey joins Flagship from Bristol Myers Squibb where he served as Executive Vice President and President of Research overseeing the advancement of promising programs, technologies, and assets across all therapeutic areas, from discovery through proof-of-concept. He was previously President of Celgene’s Research and Early Development organization. Vessey held several leadership roles and was responsible for numerous drug development programs over a decade at Merck, and prior to that, at GlaxoSmithKline. His R&D leadership expertise spans drug discovery, early development, experimental medicine, informatics, and therapeutic areas including respiratory and immunology.
“Rupert’s deep scientific expertise and robust background in research and development makes him an ideal Chief Scientist for Flagship,” said Noubar Afeyan, Ph.D., Founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering. “I am thrilled to welcome Rupert to our team and look forward to him shaping our early-stage companies as they progress along their journeys, translating platforms to pipelines and pipelines to products.”
“The driving force in my career is a belief in the power of scientific innovation to change the course of human health, so joining Flagship and its innovative ecosystem of first-in-category bioplatforms is an exciting next chapter for me,” said Rupert Vessey, Chief Scientist, Flagship Pioneering. “I look forward to partnering with the talented leadership team in place across Flagship’s early-stage companies and Pioneering Medicines to bring these scientific innovations forward on their journeys towards impact.”
About Rupert Vessey
Rupert Vessey 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.
Vessey 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.
Vessey 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.
About Flagship Pioneering
Flagship Pioneering conceives, creates, resources, and develops first-in-category bioplatform companies to transform human health and sustainability. Since its launch in 2000, the firm has, through its Flagship Labs unit, applied its unique hypothesis-driven innovation process to originate and foster more than 100 scientific ventures, resulting in more than $100 billion in aggregate value. To date, Flagship has deployed over $3.1 billion in capital toward the founding and growth of its pioneering companies alongside more than $19 billion of follow-on investments from other institutions. The current Flagship ecosystem comprises 45 transformative companies, including Denali Therapeutics (NASDAQ: DNLI), Foghorn Therapeutics (NASDAQ: FHTX), Generate Biomedicines, Inari, Indigo Agriculture, Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA), Omega Therapeutics (NASDAQ: OMGA), Sana Biotechnology (NASDAQ: SANA), Seres Therapeutics (NASDAQ: MCRB) and Tessera Therapeutics.