Media Release

Basel, 06 March 2014

William Pao joins Roche to lead Oncology Research

The Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center will spearhead the Oncology DTA of Roche pRED

Roche announced today that William Pao, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Medicine and Head of the Hematology-Oncology Division at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the US, will join Roche Pharma Research and Early Development (pRED) as Global Head of the Oncology Disease and Translational Area (DTA), effective 1 May 2014. He will be responsible for leading Roche’s discovery, translational medicine and early development of innovative oncology medicines. In this capacity he will contribute to maintaining Roche’s leadership in oncology. He will be based in Basel, Switzerland and report to John Reed, M.D., Ph.D., Global Head of Roche pRED.

“William is recognized as one of the world's leading molecular oncologists, with world class expertise in targeted cancer therapeutics, translational medicine, molecular diagnostics, and personalized healthcare strategies using cancer genomics,” said John Reed. “His broad expertise provides Roche with a leader who will ensure our growth and who will position us for continued success as we strive to transform science into medicine.”

In addition to his professorial duties at Vanderbilt, William Pao directed the Division of Hematology and Oncology as well as the Personalized Cancer Medicine unit. He also played leadership roles across a number of other departments, including Cancer Biology and Pathology/Microbiology/Immunology. William Pao and his research team have contributed to over 160 publications about cancer biology, cancer genomics and cancer treatment.

William Pao obtained his undergraduate degree from Harvard and his M.D. and Ph.D. in biology degrees from Yale. He did his residency training in Internal Medicine at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical School, Oncology Fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), and postdoctoral fellowship under Nobel Laureate Harold Varmus, currently director of NCI. He then took a faculty position at MSKCC and Weill Medical College of Cornell University, where he worked as a member of a multidisciplinary oncology translational medicine team in the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program. He was recruited to Vanderbilt in 2009 to lead their efforts in Personalized Cancer Medicine and became Division Director in 2011.

“I am excited to join Roche and feel privileged to help carry on Roche’s legacy in innovative cancer therapies,” William Pao said. “I was particularly attracted to Roche as one of the pioneers and front-runners in personalized medicine, as the world’s top oncology company and the world’s largest in vitro diagnostics company, with a deep commitment to companion diagnostics coupled with targeted therapeutics,” he continued. “I look forward to the opportunity to make a meaningful impact for cancer patients as I work with my Roche colleagues.”

Recipient of innumerable awards and honors, William Pao is well-respected in the international cancer community, serving as an advisor to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and other professional societies, while also serving on the editorial boards of several prestigious medical research journals including Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research, and Journal of Clinical Oncology. He is a co-founder of MyCancerGenome, a web-based tool for clinical decision support to enable a genetically-informed approach to cancer medicine.

About Roche

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world’s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and neuroscience. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management. Roche’s personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostics that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. Founded in 1896, Roche has been making important contributions to global health for more than a century. Twenty-four medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organisation Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and chemotherapy.

In 2013 the Roche Group employed over 85,000 people worldwide, invested 8.7 billion Swiss francs in R&D and posted sales of 46.8 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information, please visit

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