Leadership in Biopharma: a Conversation with John Milligan, CEO, Gilead Sciences

Gilead Sciences is a Bay Area titan, a life science leader known for its pipeline of antivirals and Hepatitis C therapeutics. Its CEO is John F. Milligan, PhD, a former UCSF postdoc, who joined the company in 1990 as its 32nd employee. Join us on May 11 when Barry Selick, CEO of Threshold Pharmaceuticals and himself a former UCSF postdoc, will engage Milligan in a conversation touching on topics such as Milligan's career path from postdoc to CEO of a major biotech, his experience leading it, and how Gilead feeds its pipeline of innovation and develops new products.

Brook Byers, a Founding Partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and a member of the UCSF Board of Overseers, will provide introductory remarks.

Where and When

Byers Auditorium, Genentech Hall, UCSF Mission Bay (600 16th St., San Francisco)

4:00-5:00 pm, Thursday, May 11

Eventbrite - A Conversation with John Milligan, CEO, Gilead Sciences


4:00 pm Introduction: Brook Byers, Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

4:00-5:00 pm Remarks from John Milligan, Gilead Sciences, followed by audience Q&A and a conversation moderated by Barry Selick, Threshold Pharmaceuticals

5:00-6:30 pm Reception

About the Speakers

Dr. John F. Milligan joined Gilead Sciences in 1990 and was appointed Chief Executive Officer in March 2016. He began his career at Gilead as a research scientist, and subsequently held leadership positions in project management and corporate development before being named Chief Financial Officer in 2002. He was appointed Chief Operating Officer in 2007 and President in 2008.

During his tenure at Gilead, Dr. Milligan has led teams that have developed, manufactured and commercialized more than 20 new therapies for significant unmet needs. He has managed multiple transformative acquisitions, licensing agreements and financings, helping the company grow into a worldwide organization reaching more than 10 million patients. He is a member of the board of Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc. and a Trustee of Ohio Wesleyan University.

Dr. Milligan received his BA from Ohio Wesleyan University, his PhD in biochemistry from the University of Illinois and was an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at San Francisco.

Harold E. "Barry" Selick, Ph.D. joined Threshold as Chief Executive Officer in June 2002. Between June 2002 and July 2007, Dr. Selick was also a Venture Partner of Sofinnova Ventures, Inc., a venture capital firm. From January 1999 to April 2002, he was Chief Executive Officer of Camitro Corporation, a biotechnology company that was acquired by ArQule. From 1992 to 1999, he was at Affymax Research Institute, the drug discovery technology development center for Glaxo Wellcome plc, most recently as Vice President of Research. Prior to working at Affymax he held scientific positions at Protein Design Labs, Inc. and Anergen, Inc. As a staff scientist at Protein Design Labs, he co-invented the technology underlying the creation of fully humanized antibody therapeutics and applied that to PDL's first product, Zenapax, which was developed and commercialized by Roche for the prevention of kidney transplant rejection. Dr. Selick received his B.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and was a Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Fund Fellow and an American Cancer Society Senior Fellow at the University of California, San Francisco.


Brook Byers is a Founding Partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. A venture capital investor since 1972, Brook has been closely involved with more than 60 new technology-based ventures, many of which have become public companies. He formed the first life sciences practice group in the venture capital profession in 1984 and led KPCB to become a premier venture capital firm in the medical, healthcare and biotechnology sectors. KPCB has invested in and helped build more than 170 life sciences companies that have developed hundreds of products to treat underserved medical needs for many millions of patients. Brook was the founding president and then chairman of four biotechnology companies that were incubated in KPCB’s offices and went on to become public companies with an aggregate market value of more than US$8 billion. He serves on the board of directors of Cell Design Labs, Enjoy, Newsela and Zephyr Health. Brook is also a Lifetime Director on the UCSF Board of Overseers. Full bio on KPCB website