Gilead poaches oncology expert Quigley from BMS

Gilead has poached an oncology research leader from Bristol-Myers Squibb, appointing Michael Quigley as senior vice president of research biology.

The California pharma lost many of its leaders last year following the departure of former CEO John Milligan, and his successor Daniel O’Day has been busy hiring a new team after taking the reins last year.

At BMS, Quigley was vice president and head of the company’s Tumor Microenvironment Modulation Thematic Research Centre, in Redwood City, California.

At the unit in Redwood City, Quigley was leading research into why certain patients treated with immunotherapy show an initial response, but then relapse.

BMS has become one of the leaders in the field of cancer immunotherapy after developing the blockbuster PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo, and its CTLA-4 immunotherapy Yervoy.

Cancer immunotherapy is a relatively new area of focus for Gilead, following its acquisition of Kite Pharma and its CAR-T therapy technology in 2017 for $11.9 billion.

Quigley has also been responsible for setting strategy for BMS’ oncology discovery portfolio and business development activities, overseeing target identification, validation, and preclinical development of large and small molecule therapies.

He received a PhD in Immunology from Duke University and conducted his post-doctoral research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Department of Pediatric Oncology.

Quigley will report to Dr William Lee, executive vice president of research.

Dr Linda Higgins has also taken on the role of senior vice president and head of external innovation at Gilead.

Higgins joined Gilead in 2010, leading a significant expansion of the company’s biology organisation that included the establishment of Biologics and Biomarker functions, as well as the addition of inflammation, oncology and immunology discovery groups.

Under Higgins’ leadership, the biology organisation supported the discovery and development of eight marketed products and the advancement of more than 30 compounds into development.

Higgins holds a PhD from the University of California, San Diego and conducted her post-doctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley. She will continue to report to Lee.

Dr Lee said: “These appointments strengthen our research discovery organisation and will help position us to reach our ambitious goal of bringing 10 new transformative therapies to patients over the next 10 years.”

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