John Houston spent close to 30 years in the ranks of two big biopharma R&D organizations. There was a decade at GSK followed by 18 more years at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he built a resume around constructing their drug discovery technology base and was credited with a key role in developing a range of major franchise drugs like Opdivo and Yervoy.

Then about two years ago, instead of developing new drugs, he was charged with lending a hand at shutting down two big research sites in Seattle and Wallingford, CT, while BMS set its sights on a new R&D center in Cambridge.

And he found that he didn’t like the restructuring world so much …