A Harvard University researcher and professor with strong ties to the pharmaceutical industry has been selected as the new dean of Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan, as Cornell University seeks to greatly expand its research programs and obtain more federal and private financing, college officials said Wednesday.

The new dean, Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, 60, who has ties to the pharmaceutical giants Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb as well as to scientific and biotechnology companies, said she wanted to use her experience to forge partnerships with both the public and private sectors.

Dr. Glimcher, an immunologist with a strong interest in osteoporosis, defended her outside interests, saying they presented no conflict as long as they were transparent. She said she wanted to “leverage the strengths of everyone,” whether scientists, pharmaceutical companies or biotechnology companies. “There should be no silos between all of these different strengths,” she said.

Cornell University’s president, Dr. David J. Skorton, said he believed Dr. Glimcher had the skills to carry out the medical school’s plan to double its research capacity and to help the university compete to develop a new high-tech campus proposed by the Bloomberg administration.

Her appointment will take effect in January. The departing dean, Dr. Antonio M. Gotto Jr., also a researcher, said the school now ranked “somewhere in the mid-30s” in terms of its financing from the National Institutes of Health, a benchmark of research prominence.

Sanford I. Weill, the former chairman of Citigroup who with his wife was the benefactor for whom the college was named in 1998, said Wednesday that Dr. Glimcher had come to his attention through a good friend, Jim Robinson, a co-founder of the technology venture-capital firm RRE Ventures and a former chairman of Bristol-Myers Squibb and chairman and chief executive of American Express.

“He recommended that I meet Laurie Glimcher when he heard we were going to look for a new dean,” Mr. Weill said. He said that after meeting her, he introduced her to the firm handling the search, and she was chosen out of 51 candidates.

Dr. Skorton said he was also aware of her, through N.I.H. and Harvard contacts.

At Harvard, Dr. Glimcher runs an immunology lab that had a three-year contract with Merck, the company that makes Fosamax, a formerly $3-billion-a-year bone drug that became generic in 2008.

Bristol-Myers Squibb, where she has been on the board since 1997, paid her $244,500 in compensation in 2010, including fees and stock awards, according to its 2011 proxy statement. She received $1.4 million in deferred share units, by far the most of any director.

While she has been on the board, the company has paid hundreds of millions of dollars to settle federal and shareholder complaints that it had inflated sales figures, although Dr. Glimcher herself was not found liable.

Dr. Glimcher was also paid $238,545 in cash, stock and options in 2010 by the Waters Corporation, a publicly traded maker of lab equipment, according to a company filing in March. She joined that board in 1998.

Harvard recently revamped its conflict-of-interest policy for medical school faculty, prompted by concerned medical students and faculty. Dr. Glimcher said the policy did not change her compensation or relationships with outside groups.

Dr. Glimcher has undergraduate and medical degrees from Harvard. She is married to Gregory A. Petsko, head of biochemistry at Brandeis University.

Duff Wilson contributed reporting.

 

 

Source : New York Times

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