Giulio Draetta named Chief Scientific Officer

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has named Giulio Draetta, M.D., Ph. D. as chief scientific officer (CSO), a new position that champions innovation, develops strong partnerships and provides focused leadership on the science and clinical translation of research programs.

“Giulio is an accomplished physician-scientist with long-standing experience in cancer genetics and drug discovery in both academia and industry,” said Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “This appointment continues the great work he has been doing since May 2018 when he began serving as CSO ad interim, at which time MD Anderson’s basic and translational science responsibilities were placed under a chief scientific officer. He is an outstanding researcher and scientific innovator whose exceptional breadth and depth of experiences will serve him well in this new role.”

Draetta joined MD Anderson in 2011. He has contributed through several roles, including as director of the Institute for Applied Cancer Science from 2011 to 2016. In 2013, Draetta began serving as co-leader of MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program™, a collaborative effort to accelerate the development of scientific discoveries into clinical advances that save patients’ lives. In 2016, he became vice president of the Therapeutics Discovery division, a unique group of clinicians, researchers and drug development experts working collaboratively to develop small molecule, biologic and cell-based therapies. He was named senior vice president for Discovery and Platforms in 2017 and later that year as chief academic officer ad interim.

Draetta’s faculty appointment is in the Department of Genomic Medicine, where he holds the endowed position of Sewell Family Chair. Prior to joining MD Anderson, he was on faculty at Dana-Farber/Harvard, where he was a Presidential Scholar, chief research business development officer and deputy director of the Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

He held appointments at Pharmacia and Merck, as vice president and as worldwide head of oncology drug discovery, and he has served as an investigator at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, and the European Institute of Oncology.

Draetta spearheaded fundamental research in the biology of the eukaryotic cell division cycle and of DNA damage induced checkpoints. His research led to the discovery of the first mammalian cyclin-dependent kinase and demonstrated that cyclin-dependent kinases and cyclins physically interact and regulate multiple cell cycle transitions in eukaryotes.

He has co-founded and led biotechnology companies that have developed into successful partnerships with several pharmaceutical companies and has headed numerous drug discovery and development programs, which led to two drug approvals.