Rupert Vessey, a former Bristol Myers Squibb executive with a long career in drug research and development, will join the high-profile company creator Flagship Pioneering at the end of the month.
Vessey, who left Bristol Myers on July 3, will become Flagship’s chief scientist and an executive partner, Flagship said Thursday. The position is a newly created role.
“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,” Vessey said in a statement.
Vessey’s departure from Bristol Myers was revealed in a late January regulatory filing. He oversaw research and early drug development there, having joined the company in 2019 when Bristol Myers acquired Celgene. Previously, he led early-stage research at Celgene and, before that, worked at Merck & Co. and GSK.
While at Bristol Myers, Vessey had a hand in a number of collaborations with young biotechnology companies, including a $90 million licensing deal with BridgeBio Pharma, and a $150 million collaboration with Century Therapeutics.
Bristol Myers restructured its research and development department in January, leading to Vessey’s departure. He was slated to receive a pro-rated bonus of about $550,000 as well as pro-rated vesting of certain stock awards, according to federal filings. The documents show Vessey's total compensation at Bristol Myers last year was valued at more than $7.3 million.
Vessey is one of several high-profile industry executives Flagship has reeled in over the past few years, including former top AbbVie leader Michael Severino and former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn.
“[Vessey’s] deep scientific expertise and robust background in research and development makes him an ideal Chief Scientist for Flagship,” Noubar Afeyan, the founder and CEO of Flagship, said in a statement.