Moncef Slaoui, who headed the Operation Warp Speed vaccine-development effort under the Trump administration, is returning to his previous role as a venture capitalist and announced Tuesday the launch of a new company, Centessa Pharmaceuticals.
Centessa, which will merge 10 small biotechnology companies into a larger entity, was founded by the venture firm Medici Partners, which Slaoui joined in September 2017; it has raised $250 million from more than a dozen investment funds. Slaoui will serve as executive chairman. Saurabh Saha, most recently the global head of translational medicine at Bristol-Myers Squibb, will be CEO.
The goal, Slaoui said, is to combine the live-or-die focus of a small biotech with the balance sheet, access to money, and ability to negotiate with contractors that a larger pharmaceutical firm has.