Philip Morris International hires two former FDA officials to key positions

Jacek Olczak, Chief Executive Officer of Philip Morris International

Philip Morris International Inc. announced that it has hired two former U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials to key positions to accelerate its science-based transformation.

Dr. Badrul Chowdhury is appointed PMI’s Chief Life Sciences Officer, Smoke-Free Products, succeeding Jorge Insuasty, who will complete his move into the recently created position of President, Vectura Fertin Pharma. After a short transition period, Badrul will join PMI’s Senior Management Team in January 2023, reporting to Jacek Olczak, Chief Executive Officer.

What does Chowdhury bring to PMI in his role?

Dr. Chowdhury joins PMI from a U.S.-based biotech company developing inhalation products for rare respiratory diseases, where he was Chief Medical Officer. Prior to that, he was AstraZeneca’s Senior Vice President and Chief Physician-Scientist for Respiratory Inflammation and Autoimmunity Late-Stage Development in Biopharmaceuticals R&D.

Before joining the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Chowdhury served as Director, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Rheumatology Products, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) at the United States Food and Drug Administration for almost 21 years, from 1997 to 2018, providing scientific and regulatory oversight of therapies for lung, autoimmune, and inflammatory diseases. Dr. Chowdhury is a medical doctor and holds a PhD in immunology.

What were the executives’ thoughts on the appointment?

“Joining PMI is exciting. The investment the firm has made in delivering high-quality science to support its transformation and smoke-free vision is unprecedented,” said Dr. Chowdhury.

“I am thrilled to have the chance to help move the firm forward faster and to seize the public health opportunity that well-regulated smoke-free products present. I look forward to working with Senior Management and the Life Sciences function to accelerate progress.”

“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. 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,” said Jacek Olczak, Chief Executive Officer of PMI.

“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,” Olczak further added.

What does Matt bring to PMI in his new role?

Dr. Matthew (“Matt”) Holman is appointed as PMI’s Vice President of U.S. Scientific Engagement and Regulatory Strategy, reporting to Deepak Mishra, President of PMI 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 Deepak Mishra.

“As we transform, we recognize the importance of bringing together diverse perspectives, including those of regulatory bodies and the scientific community. Matt’s scientific and stakeholder knowledge and his passion for tobacco harm reduction, will be invaluable.”

Dr. Holman joins PMI from the U.S. FDA, where he served for more than 20 years, most recently as Director of the Office of Science at the Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). At CTP, Holman was instrumental in building the FDA’s marketing application review programs.

He served as CTP’s chief scientist, playing a big role in guiding policy decisions, developing rulemaking and guidance documents, and overseeing a robust regulatory science research program for tobacco products. Holman worked at the FDA’s CDER on over-the-counter drug products, as Deputy Director of the Division of Nonprescription Regulation Development. Holman received his PhD in biochemistry from the University of Maryland at College Park.

What were Matt’s thoughts on the appointment?

Commenting on his new role, Dr. Holman said, “Having spent over 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. 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.”

The appointment of these seasoned scientific and regulatory experts complements the recent hiring of Keagan Lenihan, who joined PMI in May 2022 as Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy, and Head of its D.C. office. Lenihan spent two decades working in govt, corporate, and public policy, including as Associate Commissioner for External Affairs and Strategic Initiatives and then Chief of Staff at the U.S Food and Drug Administration.