Meissa Vaccines Expands Leadership Team as Company Advances Intranasal RSV and COVID-19 Live Attenuated Vaccine Candidates
Vaccine manufacturing and regulatory expert and business development and strategy leader bring further expertise as company advances RSV vaccine candidate into Phase 2 and scales production of an intranasal COVID-19 vaccine candidate for clinical trials
REDWOOD CITY, Calif, October 14, 2020 – Meissa Vaccines (“Meissa”), a biotechnology company developing vaccines to prevent viral respiratory infections, announced today the appointments of William (Bill) Daly, J.D., MBA, as Chief Business Officer and Keith H. Wells, Ph.D., as Chief Manufacturing Officer. Mr. Daly brings more than 30 years of broad experience in the biotech and pharma industry, covering business development, operations, finance, and strategy. Dr. Wells has been involved in the development of more than 90 vaccines and biopharmaceutical products, and most recently advised the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) on the advanced development, licensure, and acquisition of medical countermeasures.
“The expansion of the leadership team comes at a pivotal time for Meissa as we are advancing one of only a handful of live-attenuated vaccine candidates for COVID-19 into clinical trials and accelerating our RSV vaccine candidate into Phase 2 based on promising clinical data,” said Martin Moore, Ph.D., cofounder and CEO of Meissa. “Bill’s deep expertise in corporate strategy and operations and Keith’s extensive experience across industry and government organizations for the development of vaccines for emerging diseases will further power our mission to protect the world from life-threatening respiratory viruses.”
“Meissa’s unique codon deoptimized vaccine platform is built on 10 years of research and engineering for safety, stability, and potency,” said Mr. Daly. “When it comes to stopping this global pandemic, second wave vaccine candidates, like Meissa’s intranasal COVID-19 live-attenuated vaccine, could provide durable immune protection, especially in the upper respiratory tract, to not only prevent serious disease but also hinder viral transmission.”
Meissa’s COVID-19 live attenuated vaccine candidate, MV-014-210, was developed on the company’s codon deoptimized RSV vaccine platform with the goal of creating safe, potent, stable, and cost-effective intranasal vaccines. The company’s platform technology has the potential to solve challenging obstacles in modern vaccinology such as suboptimal immune responses, vaccine stability, and manufacturing. Initial clinical data from the company’s RSV vaccine candidate showed induction of mucosal IgA in the majority of vaccine recipients.
“Live attenuated vaccines have been shown repeatedly to be successful in preventing disease, and they can be manufactured cost-effectively to meet global demand, often with single dose immunity,” said Dr. Wells. “However, not all viruses can be easily attenuated, especially when they don’t naturally elicit a strong immune response. Meissa has created a unique intranasal COVID-19 live attenuated vaccine candidate that is designed to be highly effective with a single dose.”
Mr. Daly’s experience in the biotech and pharma industry includes senior leadership roles in business and corporate development at Ortho Biotech (now Janssen Pharmaceuticals, owned by Johnson & Johnson), Chiron (acquired by Novartis), Allergan, Cougar Biotechnology, Halozyme Therapeutics, and Akebia Therapeutics. Prior to Meissa, he was the Senior Vice President, Business Development and Alliance Management at Portola Pharmaceuticals. Previous to that, he was an entrepreneur-in-residence (EIR) at venBio Partners and also served as President and CEO of Heart Metabolics, a venBio portfolio company. Prior to working in biotech and pharma, Mr. Daly spent 10 years in investment banking and practiced corporate and securities law for 11 years.
With more than 30 years of experience, Dr. Wells has worked with government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), multinational biopharmas, and biotech companies to advance the development of vaccines and biologic products against measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, rotavirus, vaccinia, encephalitis viruses, Zika virus, and seasonal and pandemic influenza. Prior to joining Meissa, Dr. Wells served as a scientific and technical advisor to BARDA for manufacturing scale-up and regulatory pathways of medical countermeasures and vaccines. He also held positions of increasing responsibility in manufacturing and process and product development at Acambis, The Salk Institute Government Services Division, and Merck and Co., Inc. Dr. Wells was also a member of the steering committee for the DARPA/UPMC 21st Century Biodefense Advanced Development and Manufacturing of Biological Countermeasures effort.
About Meissa Vaccines
Meissa is a private biotechnology company dedicated to the advancement of safe, effective, and scalable vaccines for respiratory viruses, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). Meissa was founded on proprietary technologies employing reverse genetics and codon deoptimization for rational design of more effective live attenuated vaccines. The technology is exclusively licensed from Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Meissa is headquartered in Redwood City, Calif.
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