Press releases

Pistoia Alliance Announces Dr Christian Baber as New Chief Portfolio Officer and Launches 2024 Project Pipeline

Innovative projects will tackle social media “listening,” AI ethics and security, measuring the carbon footprint of clinical trials, and publishing industry-specific ontologies for R&D

Boston, 10th January 2024: The Pistoia Alliance, a global, not-for-profit alliance that advocates for greater collaboration in life sciences R&D, has appointed Dr Christian Baber as its new Chief Portfolio Officer. Dr Baber brings 30 years’ industry expertise, including experience of leading both R&D and technology divisions for global pharmaceutical organizations focused on informatics and predictive modelling for drug discovery. Dr Baber has worked with the Pistoia Alliance for more than 15 years, including four years as a board director. His varied background working with startups up to large pharma – including Neurocrine, Shire, Takeda, and Janssen –equips him to effectively represent and support the diverse members of the Pistoia Alliance.

As Chief Portfolio Officer, Dr Baber will oversee the progression of the current portfolio of projects and communities, ensuring they continue to deliver tangible outcomes that drive industry change and better outcomes for patients. He will also support the development of new projects, aligning the Alliance’s portfolio to its recently announced 2024 strategic priorities, which were designed to meet the evolving needs of members and demands from regulatory and Government agencies. The four priorities are: Harnessing AI to Expedite R&D, Delivering Data-Driven Value, Sustainability Driven R&D, and Accelerating Use of Real-World Data.

“There is no other pre-competitive collaboration organization that provides as much value as the Pistoia Alliance. It puts everyone you need to make change in one room together. From pharma and biotech to vendors and regulators – its breadth and reach is unmatched,” comments Dr Baber, Chief Portfolio Officer of the Pistoia Alliance. “My guiding principle as Chief Portfolio Officer will be to work with our members and demonstrate what the Alliance is able to achieve for them based on pressing needs within the community. Whether that’s helping to improve the sustainability of their operations or tackling the ethics of emerging technologies such as AI. I’m also keen to build on our relationships with global regulatory agencies and to collaborate closely with them on these issues as we develop new projects together.”

2024 will see the Pistoia Alliance launch several new projects relevant to members’ and regulators’ focuses, including a domain-specific Large Language Model project and an AI ethics and security framework, both currently in incubation phases. The Alliance is also working on four collaboratively designed ontologies: Clinical Operations, Process Chemistry, IDMP Ontology, and a general pharma ontology, to improve data interoperability and reduce data errors. The Alliance’s Carbon Footprint of Decentralized Clinical Trials project is expected to move into the next phase of data collection, while its Social Media Listening Real-World Evidence project plans to publish a framework outlining standards for data collection. It also has active communities in areas including Data Governance, AI and Machine Learning, User Experience and Lab of the Future.
“We are pleased to have agencies approaching the Alliance to co-develop new regulations and industry guidelines. It underlines the Alliance’s reputation for being a trusted and representative voice for the industry. This year, and in response to members’ needs, we will focus on making regulatory collaboration even more core to the Alliance’s work,” comments Dr Becky Upton, President of the Pistoia Alliance. “We were founded on the principle that breakthroughs in science and technology are not made alone. With our new strategic priorities, and by bringing Dr Baber onboard to lead our strategic priorities and portfolio, our commitment to working together for the industry’s benefit is stronger than ever.”

Organizations looking to find out how they can get involved in the Pistoia Alliance, fund projects or provide expertise can join an introductory webinar on January 17th, 2024 or learn more at