After jumping the BMS-Celgene ship, Paul Biondi boards Flagship Pioneering

Bristol-Myers Squibb
He had been BMS' dealmkaer until leaving this month (Bristol-Myers Squibb)

Days after leaving Bristol-Myers Squibb (and amid its big merger deal with Celgene), its former dealmaker Paul Biondi has landed at major biotech VC Flagship Pioneering.

He joins as executive partner but will have a hands-on role, leading a team to help lead a new drug development initiative under the VC’s ‘Pioneering Medicines’ unit.

This a newly formed initiative is “dedicated to conceiving and developing an innovative pipeline of first-in-category therapeutic products that will leverage Flagship’s platform companies and extend beyond the programs the companies develop on their own,” it said in a statement.

It will also seek under Biondi to build up more partnerships with biopharma firms with the “aim of extending the partners’ access to multiple novel scientific platforms unique to the Flagship ecosystem of companies.”

Biondi was named head of business development at BMS back in 2015 and presided over several of the company’s key deals. In 2017, for example, BMS paid Halozyme $105 million for access to technology that will allow for the development of immuno-oncology drugs that can be injected under the skin.

Later that year, the company expanded a drug-development pact with immuno-oncology drug developer Ono to include a phase 1 selective PGE2 receptor 4 (EP4) antagonist.

In July of this year, Bristol and Ono formed a collaboration with Bayer centered around BMS’ immuno-oncology stalwart Opdivo. The companies plan to test Opdivo in combination with Bayer’s Stivarga in metastatic colon cancer.

The plan appeared to be for him to stay at Bristol after the Squelgene merger, but the call of biotech and investment was clearly too strong, and one many before him have answered.

“We continue to focus on strengthening Flagship’s leadership team with deeply experienced executive talent,” says Noubar Afeyan, PhD, founder and CEO of Flagship. “Paul brings years of experience in pharma R&D, coupled with strategy and business development.

“He will help us continue to drive significant value creation for our growth-stage companies and, through Pioneering Medicines, play a leadership role in extending our in-house capabilities in new drug development complementing our unique Flagship Labs platform creation capabilities.”

“I am excited to join the leadership of Flagship Pioneering and contribute to its unique process of launching and growing breakthrough platform companies,” added Biondi. “In particular, I am looking forward to building Pioneering Medicines as an important new initiative to extend the potential impact of Flagship’s scientific platforms on the lives of more patients than we might otherwise reach.”