In seminar, Tom Lynch talks drug development and improving patient outcomes

New Haven, CT -   Dr. Tom Lynch, former Director of Yale Cancer Center and current Chief Scientific Officer at Bristol-Myers Squibb, returned to campus Wednesday to deliver a talk on ’Cancer Drug Discovery: Role of the University/Hospital, Biotech and Pharma to Improve Patient Outcomes." The talk was the first in a series presented by the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation at Yale, administered by the Office of Cooperative Research. 

Nearly two hundred faculty and staff members, postdocs and med students filled in The Anlyan Center at the Yale Medical School to hear Dr. Lynch’s talk and engage in an hour-long question and answer session. During that session, Dr. Lynch had one clear message - ’enjoy your time at Yale’.   

"My time at Yale was the best time of my career," he said. "I believe that great ideas come from universities and you all are really lucky to be here. " 

As questions piled in about his experience in academia, medicine and the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Lynch didn’t shy away from the hard ones and admitted when he didn’t have the answers. After one question concerning the social responsibility of big pharma and inquiring if physicians should consider a transition to work with industry leaders like Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dr. Lynch held that decisions of that nature depend on the individual. 

"I used to help more than 500 patients a year," he said to the room of current and aspiring physicians. "The impact I had in the hospital was incredible." But, he added, the work he does with Bristol-Myers Squibb has the potential to impact the lives of far more patients and families, which is what fueled his transition. 

Dr. Lynch joined Bristol-Myers Squibb in March 2017, as Chief Scientific Officer to lead the Research & Development organization bringing broad leadership experience, significant experience in drug development and a deep understanding of the patient perspective as a treating oncologist. He previously served as a Director on Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Board from 2013-2017.

Before his roles as Chairman and CEO at MGH, Tom served as the Director of Yale Cancer Center and was Professor of Internal Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine from 2009 to 2015. He also served as the Physician in Chief of Smilow Cancer Hospital, Yale-New Haven from 2009 to 2015. Prior to 2009, he served as Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Chief of Hematology/Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital. While at MGH in 2004, Tom was part of the team credited with the significant discovery that certain genetic mutations in lung cancer patients caused therapies to work for some individuals and not for others.

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