Former CMO of BARDA, who provided clinical development support to Operation Warp Speed, joins Meissa as company advances two intranasal live attenuated vaccine candidates in clinical trials for COVID-19 and RSV
REDWOOD CITY, Calif., August 3, 2021 – Meissa Vaccines (“Meissa”), a biotechnology company developing vaccines to prevent serious viral respiratory infections, announced today the appointment of Robert Walker, M.D., as Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Walker is a physician trained in internal medicine and pulmonary and critical care medicine and has more than 30 years of experience in developing new drugs and vaccines for viral infectious diseases. He will lead the clinical development of Meissa’s two unique vaccine candidates to protect against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.
“Bob has a depth of experience in vaccine development for respiratory viruses at biotech and pharma companies, and most recently in the federal government at BARDA, where he supported clinical development of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics for Operation Warp Speed,” said Martin Moore, Ph.D., CEO and Cofounder of Meissa Vaccines. “We welcome Bob to the team as Meissa is making significant progress in clinical trials with our vaccine candidates that are designed to be part of the end game solution for COVID-19 and RSV.”
Meissa recently announced preclinical data of the company’s intranasal recombinant live attenuated COVID-19 vaccine (MV-014-212) demonstrating that a single adjuvant-free dose of MV-014-212 provided equivalent protection against SARS-CoV-2 challenge compared to reported efficacy in NHP models of currently authorized vaccines. MV-014-212 is currently in a Phase 1 clinical trial (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT04798001) with interim analysis of the trial data expected later this year. Meissa’s intranasal live attenuated RSV vaccine candidate (MV-012-968) is in a Phase 1c study in seronegative infants and young children (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04909021). Meissa is developing MV-012-968 as a needle-free, adjuvant-free vaccine to protect infants and at-risk, older adults from RSV.
“Injected vaccines for COVID-19 have been tremendously successful in getting to people quickly and preventing severe disease, but the challenges to containing the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic continue to change,” said Dr. Walker. “Disease transmission is being fueled by new variants, and currently available vaccines have significant limitations in terms of blocking transmission, addressing needs of young children, and suppling global demand. Meissa’s vaccine platform and intranasal COVID-19 vaccine strategy are uniquely designed to confer mucosal immunity that will likely reduce transmission compared to injectable vaccines, provide long-lasting protection, and be a part of the global solution to COVID-19.”
Prior to joining Meissa, Dr. Walker was Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Division of Clinical Development at the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In this role, he and his team provided critical clinical development and operations support to numerous programs, including Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s response to accelerate development and authorization of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. Prior to BARDA, Dr. Walker directed tuberculosis vaccine clinical trials at Aeras, and at MedImmune/AstraZeneca, he oversaw the late-stage clinical development and U.S. marketing approval of FluMist® live attenuated influenza vaccine and managed the respiratory virus vaccines and inflammatory and pulmonary diseases portfolios, international expansion activities, and phase 4/epidemiology studies. Early in his career, Dr. Walker was a clinical investigator at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), where he focused on early clinical trials of HIV therapeutics.
About Meissa Vaccines
Meissa Vaccines was founded with a mission to protect people everywhere from life threatening respiratory viruses and a commitment to develop innovative technologies capable of delivering effective vaccines at a global scale. Meissa is advancing live attenuated vaccine candidates against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), and human metapneumovirus (hMPV). These vaccine candidates have been developed using the company’s proprietary AttenuBlock(TM) synthetic biology platform, which includes codon deoptimization and technologies exclusively licensed from Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Meissa’s live attenuated vaccine candidates are formulated to be delivered as a single, intranasal, adjuvant-free, needle-free dose and are designed to generate a strong, durable immune response to prevent infection and disease. Meissa is headquartered in Redwood City, Calif.
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