Sanofi poaches Gilead cancer exec Fantin to run its oncology research


After a short tenure at Gilead Sciences running its cancer R&D, Valeria Fantin, Ph.D., has been poached by French Big Pharma Sanofi.

Fantin, who’s had roles at Pfizer, Zai Lab and ORIC, joined Gilead just a year ago as its vice president of oncology research as the biopharma looked to beef up its personnel in cancer, which it is trying to boost alongside its historic infectious disease focus.

But, exactly one year into the job, Sanofi has enticed Fantin over to the French company, which is also trying to boost its cancer credentials. She joins as its global head of oncology research, which includes a pretty large pipeline spanning phases 1 through 3, with arguably its largest focus on the late-stage trials for amcenestrant, which it hopes will become the “endocrine backbone therapy” in breast cancer.

This also comes as Sanofi has been sharpening its pencil for a host of collabs and M&A in cancer, including mRNA cancer pacts with Tidal Therapeutics. In July, Sanofi added to its multiple myeloma treatment toolbox with a new target from Eureka Therapeutics worth around $1 billion in biobucks.

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Sanofi also recently penned a five-year collaboration that will marry Sanofi’s pipeline of experimental cancer drugs with the MD Anderson Cancer Center's clinical trial infrastructure to better understand how new drugs work and figure out new targets and indications for them as well as potential drug combinations.

Sanofi, which tweeted out the news Tuesday, said: “We welcome Valeria Fantin as our new Global Head of Oncology Research. We’re excited to have her lead our efforts in #immunotherapy and molecular #oncology research.”

The pharma confirmed the appointment to Fierce Biotech. “I am excited to join Sanofi which has a rich legacy in oncology and a strong pipeline,” said Fantin via Sanofi in an email. “It’s been thrilling to watch the break-neck speed of innovation over the past couple of decades and I look forward to working with the talented team at Sanofi to bring new treatments to those who need them the most.”