Gilead poaches Bristol-Myers oncology executive to lead research biology

Gilead
Gilead promoted Linda Higgins, Ph.D., to senior vice president and head of external innovation. (Gilead Sciences)

Gilead Sciences has a new head of research biology: Michael Quigley, Ph.D., an alum of MedImmune, Johnson & Johnson and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, who joins from Bristol-Myers Squibb. The company also promoted Linda Higgins, Ph.D., to head of external innovation. 

Quigley started at Bristol-Myers as a bench scientist working to discover new targets in immuno-oncology and then took a stint at J&J’s Janssen before returning to BMS, according to his LinkedIn profile. Most recently, Quigley was a vice president and head of the Big Pharma’s Tumor Microenvironment Modulation Thematic Research Center. He was also in charge of Bristol-Myers' Redwood City, California, site. 

In that role, he oversaw strategy for the company’s oncology discovery portfolio and business development, leading target identification and validation, and preclinical development of large- and small-molecule treatments. As SVP of research biology, Quigley will report to Gilead research chief William Lee, Ph.D., the company said in a statement. 

RELATED: Amid C-suite shake-up, Gilead nabs Genentech exec as new CMO 

Higgins joined Gilead in 2010 as VP of biology and led a “significant expansion” of her unit, including setting up biologics and biomarker teams as well as creating discovery groups for inflammation, oncology and immunology. Under her leadership, the biology unit pushed more than 30 compounds into development, including eight that reached market, Gilead said. 

“We are very pleased to welcome Mike to Gilead and Linda to her new role, as we seek to build and scale our access to scientific innovation, both internally and externally,” Lee said in the statement. “These appointments strengthen our research discovery organization and will help position us to reach our ambitious goal of bringing 10 new transformative therapies to patients over the next 10 years.” 

RELATED: Gilead's new chief steals Bristol-Myers Squibb's Mercier for top commercial job, putting Hamill out in the cold 

Quigley and Higgins’ appointments come after a turbulent period for Gilead, which saw a series of exits from its C-suite in 2018. Longtime Roche executive Daniel O’Day signed on to lead Gilead in late 2018, taking over from John Milligan the following March.

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