Building Toward our Translational Future 

June 27, 2018

S

aurabh Saha, M.D., Ph.D., joined Bristol-Myers Squibb as global head of translational medicine in October 2017, after spending a decade in various leadership roles in Boston biotech companies. Saha leads Bristol-Myers Squibb’s translational medicine team and will return to the Boston-area to build out the company’s new R&D facility in Cambridge, Mass. 

Saurabh Saha, Global Head of Translational Medicine, addresses the New England Venture Capital Association’s 2018 NEVY awards, highlighting the commitment to R&D Bristol-Myers Squibb shares with the Boston/Cambridge life-sciences community.

Saurabh Saha, Global Head of Translational Medicine, addresses the New England Venture Capital Association’s 2018 NEVY awards, highlighting the commitment to R&D Bristol-Myers Squibb shares with the Boston/Cambridge life-sciences community.

“I joined Bristol-Myers Squibb because I have tremendous respect for the history of innovation within the company. But more importantly, it was the opportunity to lead our incredible translational team at this pivotal time in science,” Saha said. “I believe that 20 or 30 years from now, when we look back, we’re going to see this as the moment that medicine changed fundamentally.”

Translational medicine encompasses multiple areas of applied research, which work in concert to analyze and interpret data, implement new insights into clinical trials and accelerate the pipeline to identify the right treatments, for the right patients, at the right time.  At Bristol-Myers Squibb, the translational team is fully integrated across discovery, clinical development and commercial teams, to allow for rapid, efficient knowledge sharing and collective idea generation.

There are countless examples, both within Bristol-Myers Squibb and across the biopharma industry, of how translational science is making an impact on medical research. Biomarker research, as one example, is changing how researchers go about finding effective treatment options for patients with diseases like cancer, autoimmune disease and liver fibrosis. The more researchers understand disease biology, the better equipped they are to make more informed research choices to increase both the speed and success of drugs through the clinic.

“Bristol-Myers Squibb is unique in that we invest an enormous amount of time and resources across all areas of translational medicine and push the boundaries of science,” Saha said. “While we have the resources of a pharma company, we have the flexibility and scientific mindset of a biotech organization. In my mind, it’s the best of both worlds. But we can’t do it alone. That’s why we rely on collaborations and partnerships to generate insights as a collective research community.”

Right now, the Bristol-Myers Squibb team is hard at work building the new R&D campus in Cambridge. This state-of-the-art research facility will enable a fully integrated drug discovery and translational medicine organization and is optimally positioned to complement the world-class translational expertise and leading academic research centers in the Cambridge area. Cambridge is the latest area of R&D growth for the company, which also recently expanded research sites in central New Jersey and Redwood City, California.

“As we look across therapeutic areas, we know there’s still so much work to do, and our newest R&D center in Boston will be another site to facilitate innovation,” Saha said. “As I’ve witnessed the collaborative spirit and exceptional capabilities of our scientific teams in the past months here at Bristol-Myers Squibb, I’m more confident than ever in our efforts to drive scientific advancements and look forward to seeing translational medicine lead the way.”