Healthcare Industry News: Merck
News Release - October 11, 2017
SutroVax Appoints Veteran Vaccine Experts to Executive TeamFOSTER CITY, Calif., Oct. 11, 2017 -- (Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network) -- SutroVax, a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the delivery of best-in-class conjugate vaccines and novel complex antigen-based vaccines to prevent serious infectious diseases, today announced that it has appointed additional biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry veterans to its executive team, including Alan Kimura, M.D. Ph.D., as Chief Medical Officer, Durga Bobba as Chief Business Officer and Aron Stein, Ph.D., as Vice President of Regulatory Affairs & Quality Assurance.
"With the key additions of Alan, Durga and Aron, we have now assembled an executive team with deep pneumococcal vaccine expertise across the spectrum of development and commercialization," said Grant Pickering, CEO of SutroVax. "Together, we remain focused on advancing our lead pneumococcal conjugate vaccine candidate into the clinic and addressing serious infectious diseases through best-in-class conjugate vaccines and novel antigen-based vaccines."
SutroVax's broad-spectrum pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) is designed to provide expanded protection against circulating strains of pneumococcus and has the potential to replace the current vaccines used in infants and adults, which have worldwide sales of over $7 billion annually. SutroVax has generated pre-clinical proof-of-concept in head-to-head studies with its broad-spectrum PCV compared to current vaccines using well accepted immunological endpoints.
Chief Medical Officer Alan Kimura brings to SutroVax extensive experience from a 28-year drug development career in both large pharmaceutical organizations and small biotechnology companies. He is a veteran in the development and execution of clinical development programs for vaccines and rare disease therapeutics. Dr. Kimura had a prominent role in the development of multiple blockbuster products, including Prevnar® (the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) at Wyeth (now Pfizer Inc.), Bexsero® (the meningococcal Group B vaccine) at Novartis, and Elaprase® for the treatment of Hunter syndrome at Transkaryotic Therapies Inc. (now Shire plc). Prior to joining SutroVax, Dr. Kimura served as Vice President, Clinical Development at Translate Bio and then Senior Medical Director of Global Clinical Development at Shire and Novartis Vaccines. Prior to Novartis, Dr. Kimura served as Vice President, Clinical Development and Medical Affairs at Altus Pharmaceuticals Inc., and also held various positions in clinical research and medical affairs at Transkaryotic Therapies, BioChem Pharma Inc., SmithKline Beecham Biologicals and Wyeth Vaccines. He has authored more than 30 publications and book chapters on vaccines and rare diseases. Dr. Kimura received his M.D. from the University of Miami School of Medicine; an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California at Davis; and a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley.
Chief Business Officer Durga Bobba has over 25 years of global commercial biopharmaceutical experience, with leading roles in marketing, product development, alliance management and business development at major pharmaceutical companies including Merck & Co., Inc., Genentech, Inc. (now Roche) and Amgen Inc. During his 15 years at Merck, he held U.S. and global leadership roles that included U.S. brand management, business development and emerging markets with increasing responsibility. As Senior Director of International Commercial Operations, the first head of Alliance Management and later Executive Director for the Eastern Europe Middle East and Africa region, Mr. Bobba had P&L responsibility for the full Merck vaccine portfolio in over 80 markets. Mr. Bobba supported the ex-US launches of Gardasil®, RotaTeq® and Pneumovax 23® (the pneumococcal vaccine recommended for use with Prevnar 13 in adults in the U.S.) and helped Merck Vaccines quadruple annual sales to $4 billion to become the world's number one vaccine company. In addition to his vaccine experience, Mr. Bobba held leadership positions at Genentech and Amgen, with responsibility for brand decision support and global marketing for products with revenues totaling over $25 billion. Prior to joining SutroVax, Mr. Bobba was most recently the head of marketing for MyoKardia and Vice President, Project Team Leader for Mavacamten, a Phase II orphan drug for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Mr. Bobba received a B.B.A. in international business from the George Washington University and an M.B.A. from Georgetown University.
Mr. Bobba will replace the position held by SutroVax co-founder Ash Khanna, Ph.D., who has served as Chief Business Officer since the company's formation. Dr. Khanna's career has spanned the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and venture capital arenas, including as a venture investor. Dr. Khanna was instrumental in the establishment of the company's early strategy and financing activities. "I'd like to thank Ash for his significant contributions to SutroVax' founding and progress to date and wish him well in his new role at Pivotal bioVenture Partners," said Mr. Pickering.
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs & Quality Assurance Aron Stein has 30 years of product development with responsibility for multiple drug approvals in both large and small companies. Prior to SutroVax, Dr. Stein served as Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at Bavarian Nordic A/S, a public Danish-based vaccine company developing viral-vector vaccines for use in infectious disease and immuno-oncology. While at Bavarian Nordic, Dr. Stein established the global regulatory function in the U.S. and E.U., led the successful negotiation with Health Authorities on the registration requirements for Imvamune®, a smallpox vaccine and for Prostvac, an immunotherapy for prostate cancer, and oversaw the commissioning of a new manufacturing facility. Prior to Bavarian Nordic, Dr. Stein served in Vice President roles in Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance at Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (formerly Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.), Abbott Laboratories, and Sequus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Prior to that, he held leadership roles responsible for Regulatory Affairs at Pfizer and DuPont-Merck Pharmaceuticals. Strategic FDA initiatives involved partnering with FDA to develop CDER guidance and reintroduction of marketed products (Abbokinase®). Dr. Stein directed the regulatory strategies that led to the rapid registration for multiple drug products including Doxil®, Viagra®, Tikosyn®, and supplements for Diflucan®, Zoloft®, and Zithromax®. Dr. Stein earned his B.S. and Ph.D. at Texas A&M University.
SutroVax is an independent vaccine platform and development company whose mission is to deliver best-in-class conjugate vaccines and novel complex antigen-based vaccines to prevent serious infectious diseases. SutroVax conjugate vaccines are developed utilizing the Company's exclusive rights to Sutro Biopharma's Xpress CF™ Platform, a cell-free protein synthesis technology. The platform represents a major advancement over conventional conjugate vaccine production methods, by enabling precise and consistent conjugation of antigens to site-specific locations on a protein carrier that do not impede T-cell help resulting in higher-potency conjugates. SutroVax is utilizing these more potent conjugates to develop a broader-spectrum PCV product. For more information, visit www.sutrovax.com.
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