Cranbury, NJ, May 13, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- VaxInnate Corporation, a biotechnology firm pioneering a breakthrough vaccine technology, today announced two strategic promotions and two additions to the senior development team to help drive the growth of the Company's pipeline, including its lead influenza vaccine candidates.
Linda Tussey, PhD, has been promoted to chief scientific officer from vice president of research and development, while Bruce Weaver has been named vice president of manufacturing following his time as director of process development. Peter Fusco, PhD, joins the Company as vice president of research and development, and Stephen Haworth, MD, assumes the role of vice president of clinical. Mr. Weaver, Dr. Fusco and Dr. Haworth will join the Company's senior management team.
VaxInnate also announced today that it has reprioritized resources in research and clinical development to help advance the Company's preclinical initiatives outside of its lead influenza programs, including vaccines against dengue and Clostridium difficile. Additionally, the Company will increase attention to the identification of new infectious disease targets to further enrich its pipeline. In 2015, VaxInnate also expects to advance VAX2012Q, its lead experimental seasonal influenza vaccine, through Phase 1b into a Phase 2 trial in healthy adults, and commence a Phase 1 study for a pandemic vaccine.
"Dr. Tussey has been an invaluable asset during her time at VaxInnate, with a deep background in immune modulation that she has applied to our proprietary vaccine programs," commented Wayne F. Pisano, VaxInnate's president and chief executive officer. "In her new role as chief scientific officer, she will be responsible for developing the long-term clinical growth plan to enrich the Company's pipeline while also devoting resources to our ongoing influenza, dengue and C. diff programs, and leading VaxInnate's discovery efforts."
Peter Fusco, PhD, comes to VaxInnate with over 30 years of experience in vaccinology. During his career, he has played a major role in the development and testing of a wide range of human vaccines, including PharmAthene's anthrax vaccine candidate, SparVax®; Baxter's human meningococcal C conjugate vaccine, NeisVac-C™; and North American Vaccine's licensed DTaP vaccine, Certiv™. Dr. Fusco received his undergraduate training in bacteriology at Rutgers College and his PhD in biophysics and microbiology at the University of Pittsburgh. He has authored over 90 scientific publications and posters, and is named on five U.S. patents.
Stephen Haworth, MD, has more than 25 years of global drug development experience, most recently as chief medical officer of Elusys Therapeutics Inc. Prior to Elusys, Stephen held senior positions in AstraZeneca's infectious disease unit and Shire Pharmaceuticals' biologics unit, where he led development of vaccines for seasonal as well as pandemic influenza, pneumococcal disease, and transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder. Stephen's undergraduate degree from University College, University of London was followed by a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MD equivalent) from the same university.
Bruce Weaver has led Phase 1 cGMP manufacturing efforts during his time at VaxInnate and has developed the high-yielding E. coli fermentation process and purification methods that have become the foundation of the Company's production process. Prior to his tenure at VaxInnate, Mr. Weaver held positions at Laureate Pharma and Unigene Laboratories where he led their downstream groups. Mr. Weaver received his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Bucknell University, and holds master's degrees from Tufts University and Rutgers University.
"Peter Fusco and Stephen Haworth's combined experience in global infectious diseases will be a strong addition for us here at VaxInnate, not only as we advance our current clinical programs, but also in the evaluation of new infectious disease targets that may benefit from the reproducibility, reliability and speed of our proprietary vaccine production technology," Dr. Tussey added. "Bruce Weaver's background in recombinant protein vaccine production using our E. coli fermentation and purification methods will be essential to this process. We look forward to employing the significantly expanded depth and creativity of this team as we execute on our lead programs while working to identify additional indications for our pipeline."
Powerful Vaccine Technology Platform
VaxInnate's technology platform is based on proprietary toll-like receptor (TLR) technology, which potentiates the immune response. The TLR technology genetically fuses vaccine antigens to the bacterial protein flagellin, and this sequentially triggers 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. This technology has the potential for production of significantly greater quantities of vaccine in rapid timeframes, with very low infrastructure costs.
VaxInnate is a privately held biotechnology company in Cranbury, NJ that is pioneering a breakthrough technology platform for use in developing novel and proprietary vaccines. Influenza vaccines manufactured using this technology have been shown to be safe and immunogenic in healthy adults. VaxInnate's vaccines focus on infectious diseases, including seasonal and pandemic influenza, Clostridium difficile infection and dengue. VaxInnate's ongoing studies of seasonal and pandemic flu vaccines are significantly funded 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).
To learn more about VaxInnate and to explore the company's technology platform, please visit the website at www.vaxinnate.com.