At Gilead's CAR-T unit Kite, Roche vet Cindy Perettie takes the baton from Christi Shaw

During part of Cindy Perettie’s long run at Roche, the Swiss company put her in command of one of the industry's largest oncology portfolios.

A few years later, Perettie will soon find herself running another of the industry’s top units as she will take control of Kite Pharma.

Hired Tuesday by Kite’s parent company Gilead Sciences, Perettie replaces Christi Shaw, who revealed her departure as CEO three months ago. Perettie’s title will be different as she'll be Gilead's executive vice president overseeing cell therapy.

In her four years in charge, Shaw helped build Kite into a global leader in cell therapy, boasting two FDA-approved treatments in five blood cancer indications. The unit accounts for roughly $1.5 billion of Gilead’s annual revenues.

Despite its leadership position, Kite has had its struggles along with others in its CAR-T arena. In 2019 and 2020, Gilead executed write-downs of $800 million and $820 million on Kite after clinical failures.

Now, it’s Perettie’s turn to take the baton. Her appointment is effective May 30.

“So excited to be joining Kite and being part of this stellar team that offers the potential for cure to patients with 2nd and 3rd line lymphoma as well as other hematologic malignancies,” Perettie wrote on LinkedIn. “Kite’s focus on innovation, patient experience, and quality differentiates Kite as a CAR-T leader.”

Perettie comes to Kite after leading Roche's Molecular Lab Solutions. Before that, Perettie was CEO of Foundation Medicine, a Roche subsidiary and genomic diagnostic developer. Perettie arrived at Genentech in 2004 and led product launches in breast cancer and oncology before leading Roche’s overall oncology efforts.

Perettie studied biology and chemistry at SUNY Potsdam and got her MBA a decade later at Saint Mary’s College of California.

“Cindy has more than 20 years’ experience in scientific and commercial leadership in oncology and has dedicated her career to improving the care of cancer,” Daniel O’Day, CEO of Gilead, said in a release. “Cindy is the right leader to build on our global leadership in cell therapy.”

Gilead acquired Kite Pharma in 2017 for nearly $12 billion.