Former GlaxoSmithKline CEO and R&D Boss Secure New Gigs at Biotech VC Firms

Published: Sep 19, 2017

Former GlaxoSmithKline CEO and R&D Boss Secure New Gigs at Biotech VC Firms September 19, 2017
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

It seems that top biopharma execs never really retire. Some go to other companies, some to startups, but many head to venture capital (VC) firms where their extensive list of contacts and insider insight gives them a dominant position for throwing money at hot new startups. Sir Andrew Witty, former chief executive officer of GlaxoSmithKline , has joined Hatteras Venture Partners in Durham, NC, as a Venture Partner. Moncef Slaoui, head of research-and-development for GSK from 2006 to 2014, has joined the European life sciences investment company Medicxi as Partner.

In addition to his leadership of GSK from 2008 until 2017, Witty is Chancellor of the University of Nottingham in England and serves on the boards of UnitedHealth Group and G1 Therapeutics.

“We are thrilled to welcome Andrew to Hatteras Venture Partners,” said Bob Ingram, General Partner of Hatteras, in a statement. “He brings unparalleled strategic insights and extensive industry experience to the firm and to our portfolio of emerging companies. Having had the pleasure of serving as Andrew’s mentor when I was CEO of Glaxo, it is hard to fully express my pride in having him join our dynamic team of company builders.”

Hatteras has about $450 million under management in five venture capital funds.

Slaoui ran GSK’s R&D for nine years, but spent 28 years with the company. He oversaw the reorganization of the company’s R&D operations, which, according to Medicxi’s announcement, involved “operating through focused discreet discovery performance units (DPUs) in early stage, which competed internally for R&D investment, a unique model amongst Big Pharma at the time.”

That model had mixed results, but Slaoui was behind successful initiatives in vaccines, namely Shingrix, and in HIV.

He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of Medicxi’s IL6 and MV1 venture funds. As a Partner with Medicxi, he will sponsor and support investments, perform due diligence and valuations for MV1 and MG1.

“Having developed strong relationships with Medicxi founders over many years,” Slaoui said in a statement, “it is an exciting time to join the team, with funds available to invest not only in early stage assets but also to building innovative companies through clinical development and market entry. I am looking forward to making an active contribution to selecting and leading investments, and to supporting ambitious entrepreneurs to develop medicines that ultimately make a difference to patients.”

After retiring from GSK in 2014, Slaoui joined several biotech boards, including SutroVax, Moderna, and Intellia . A little over a month ago he left the Intellia board, citing a conflict.

John Carroll, writing for Endpoints News, says, “The European VC firm Slaoui joined today has some of the best contacts in the industry, and a growing portfolio of biotechs to its credit. But it’s a whole different world from what Slaoui helped create at GSK, which spends billions of dollars every year on drug research with big operations in the US and UK. Medicxi’s partners have a rep for relentless thrift, making their R&D dollars, euros and pounds stretch as far as possible—and then some.”

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