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Christi Shaw taken on by Gilead as Kite Pharma's new CEO

Published on: 25/07/19

Lilly veteran Christi Shaw has joined Kite Pharma as the company’s new CEO.

Shaw comes to Gilead’s cancer immunotherapy firm, Kite Pharma, from rival US firm Eli Lilly, where she acted as a senior vice president and also as president of Lilly’s immunology, pain and neuroscience unit, Lilly Bio Medicines.

Prior to joining Lilly, Shaw held high up positions at Novartis where she was North American Head of Novartis Oncology and later US Country head and president of Novartis Pharmaceuticals. In the interim period between Novartis and her first stint at Lilly, Shaw took on various sales and marketing roles at healthcare conglomerate Johnson and Johnson.  

Shaw has a Bachelor’s degree in business from Iowa State University and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin. In 2016, Shaw stepped down from her role in Novartis to care for her sister, who died from multiple myeloma the following year. She then re-joined Lilly as the President of Lilly Bio Medicines.

In her new role she’ll be tasked with boosting sales for Yescarta which has lacked behind Novartis’ rival CAR-T therapy Kymriah.

Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day has been searching for someone to head Kite Pharma since coming into the role at the beginning of 2019. Commenting on Shaw’s appointment O’Day said: “We conducted an extensive search for a new leader at Kite and we believe that Christi’s unique set of skills will allow us to continue to build on our leadership position in cell therapy.”

“Christi’s vast experience across complex therapeutic areas, and particularly in oncology, will serve Kite very well. She is clearly a leader who will bring teams and individuals together and I am confident she will build upon the entrepreneurial spirit at Kite as we seek to help more people with cancer around the world.”

Commenting on her own appointment, Christi Shaw said: “Kite’s vision of transformational drug development – and of curing cancer – is one that I am extremely passionate about. I look forward to working with the many talented individuals in this organization, as we change the way cancer is treated and bring forward important, life-saving therapies.”

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