Cigarette maker Philip Morris (NYSE:PM) announced today that it appointed two former FDA officials to leadership positions.
Dr. Badrul Chowdhury is the company’s new chief life sciences officer for smoke-free products. Dr. Matthew Holman joins as VP of U.S. scientific engagement and regulatory strategy.
Both appointments fall in line with the company’s efforts to push its science-based transition to “smoke-free” technology. Last year, the multinational tobacco company agreed to acquire inhaled drug delivery company Vectura for $1.2 billion. The news of the acquisition was met with criticism, including from the American Lung Association. The ALA called the purchase “the latest reprehensible choice from a company that has profited from addicting users to its deadly products.”
The company announced the Vectura acquisition in July 2021. A month later, Philip Morris acquired OtiTopic and its late-stage dry powder inhalation technology.
About Dr. Badrul Chowdury
Chowdhury succeeds Jorge Insuasty, who will move into the newly created role of president at Vectura Fertin Pharma. Chowdhury will join the Philip Morris senior management team in January 2023 and report to CEO Jacek Olczak.
“I am delighted to welcome Badrul to PMI and look forward to working closely with him as he leads our talented team of scientific experts,” said Olczak. “He is an accomplished scientist and regulatory strategist, with decades of leadership experience, both in industry and as a regulator within the U.S. FDA’s Pulmonary Division. His wealth of knowledge and experience will be critical to help achieve our ambition of a smoke-free future. I also extend my sincere thanks to Jorge Insuasty for his contributions to the function as he moves to oversee Vectura Fertin Pharma full-time.”
Before Philip Morris, Chowdhury served as CMO at an unnamed U.S. Biotech company developing inhalation products for respiratory diseases. He also served as SVP and chief physician-scientist for respiratory inflammation and autoimmunity late-stage development in biopharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca.
At the FDA, Chowdhury served as director for the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Rheumatology Products, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) for nearly 21 years.
“Joining the PMI team is an exciting new adventure,” said Chowdhury. “The investment the company has already made in delivering high-quality science to support its transformation and smoke-free vision is unprecedented. I am thrilled to have the chance to help move the company forward faster and to truly seize the public health opportunity that well-regulated smoke-free products present. I look forward to working with the senior management team and the entire life sciences function to accelerate progress.”
About Dr. Matthew Holman
In addition to Chowdhury, Holman joins Philip Morris in his VP of U.S. scientific engagement and regulatory strategy role. He will report to Deepak Mishra, president of Philip Morris Americas.
“We are delighted that Matt will be joining PMI to further accelerate our journey toward a smoke-free future, particularly here in the United States,” said Mishra. “As we transform, we recognize the importance of bringing together diverse perspectives, including those of regulatory bodies and the scientific community. Matt’s solid scientific and stakeholder knowledge, combined with his passion for tobacco harm reduction, will be invaluable.”
Holman comes straight from the FDA, having served there for more than 20 years. Most recently, he served as director of the Office of Science at the Center for Tobacco Products (CTP).
“Having spent more than two decades working to improve public health as a regulator, I am delighted to join forces with PMI, a company that is firmly committed to the goal of accelerating the end of smoking,” said Dr. Holman. “PMI is leading the industry in a major transformation that can ultimately provide an unprecedented breakthrough for public health. I’m excited to make this move and join PMI on its smoke-free journey.”