Vicki L. Sato

Professor of Management Practice

Vicki L. Sato, Ph.D, is Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School, and also Professor of the Practice in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Harvard University. She also teaches in HBS Executive Education programs. She is a business advisor to Atlas Venture and other enterprises in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

Dr. Sato retired in 2005 from Vertex Pharmaceuticals, where she served as President since 2000, with responsibility for research and development, business and corporate development, commercial operations, legal, and finance. Prior to becoming President, she was Chief Scientific Officer, Senior Vice President of Research and Development, and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board. Under her leadership, Vertex created a diversified pipeline of drugs, including two HIV protease inhibitors approved and marketed by GlaxoSmithKline, an oral protease inhibitor ( VX 950) for the treatment of hepatitis C, now in late clinical development, two anti-inflammatory drug candidates in clinical development, a novel molecule for the treatment of cystic fibrosis now in Phase I clinical testing, and two kinase inhibitors being  for the treatment of cancers. In addition, a new molecule for the management of pain has been recently licensed to GlaxoSmithKline.

Before joining Vertex, Dr. Sato was Vice President of Research at Biogen, Inc, where she led research programs in the areas of inflammation, thrombosis, and HIV disease, and participated in the executive management of the company. Several molecules from those programs have now reached the marketplace. She also served as a member of the Biogen Scientific Board.

Currently, Dr. Sato is a member of the Board of Directors of publicly held companies Bristol Myers Squibb Company, PerkinElmer Corporation, Galapagos NV and the venture-phase companies Nimbus Discovery and Neurophage. She is also a founding member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the Broad Institute, and a board member of Prize4Life, a nonprofit organization focused on finding cures for ALS, founded by HBS alumnus Avichai Kremer.

Dr. Sato received her AB from Radcliffe College, and her AM and PHD degrees from Harvard University. Following postdoctoral work at both the University of California Berkeley and Stanford Medical Center, Dr. Sato was appointed to the faculty of Harvard University, where she was an Assistant and Associate Professor of Biology.

  1. Research Interests

    Research interests are focused on issues of innovation and productivity as they relate to improved outcomes in biotechnology and pharmaceutical R and D. These span topics from decision-making, organizational structure and communication, to the development of novel technologies that could impact current roadblocks in drug discovery.