VaxInnate Corporation today announced the appointment of Thomas P. Monath, MD to the company’s board of directors.
Monath is an internationally known virologist and vaccinologist with significant experience in the biotechnology industry and at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Dr. Monath currently serves as the chief scientific and chief operating officer of BioProtection Systems, a subsidiary of NewLink Genetics Corporation, where he is leading the development of an Ebola virus vaccine in partnership with Merck.
Prior to joining NewLink, Monath held various industry roles at PaxVax Inc., Hookipa Biotech AG, Juvaris Inc., Xcellerex Inc. and Acambis Inc. prior to its acquisition by Sanofi Pasteur. In these roles, he was involved in the development of a broad array of vaccines including those for cholera, influenza, polio, malaria, HIV, anthrax, dengue, Japanese encephalitis, West Nile, yellow fever, Clostridium difficile and smallpox. He is a former partner in the Pandemic and Bio Defense Fund at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a leading venture capital firm with a strong life sciences practice.
Monath joined industry following a 20-year career at U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and the CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases.
“It is rare to find someone with such a robust resume in public service and industry. Dr. Monath’s vast experience in epidemiology and vaccinology will be a huge asset to VaxInnate as we progress our pipeline of novel vaccine candidates, including VAX2012Q, our Phase 2 candidate for seasonal influenza,” said Wayne Pisano, VaxInnate’s president and chief executive officer. “In addition to advancing our late-stage candidates, Tom’s experience will also be helpful as we leverage his decades in early stage research and development of vaccines, and move forward in our efforts to identify new infectious disease targets to pursue.”
VaxInnate’s technology platform is based on proprietary toll-like receptor (TLR) technology, which genetically fuses vaccine antigens to the bacterial protein flagellin, a TLR5 agonist. These fusion proteins potentiate the immune response through sequential triggering of the innate and adaptive immune systems.
Using this technology, vaccines can be produced using low-cost, highly scalable recombinant DNA techniques, thus avoiding many of the challenges of conventional vaccine production. In addition, this technology has the potential to enhance vaccine manufacturing by producing significantly greater quantities of vaccine in extremely rapid timeframes, with very low infrastructure costs.
VaxInnate’s ongoing studies of seasonal and pandemic flu vaccines are largely supported under Contract No. HHSO100201100011C with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Source: VaxInnate press release, adapted.