11 Oct 2006

John McNeil Named Scientific Director of PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative

Bethesda, Maryland, USA (October 11, 2006) – The PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative today announced the appointment of John G. McNeil, MD, MPH, as scientific director, effective immediately. Dr. McNeil will have principal responsibility for directing MVI’s early-stage vaccine development efforts and for shaping and managing MVI’s overall candidate vaccine portfolio.

Dr. McNeil comes to MVI from the Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institutes of Health, where he served as chief of the laboratory of advanced clinical development, which included management of VRC’s HIV vaccine candidate portfolio. Previously, Dr. McNeil served 23 years in the US Army Medical Corp., primarily in the field of HIV vaccine research and development

Commenting on the appointment, Melinda Moree, director of MVI, said, “John McNeil brings to MVI invaluable experience in managing the development of vaccines in the US and internationally. We are gratified to have someone of his immense talents join the effort to develop vaccines against a disease that kills 3,000 children every day.”

Malaria, a mosquito-transmitted disease, kills more than one million people—most of them African children—every year. Launched in 1999, MVI’s mission is to accelerate the development of promising malaria vaccine candidates and ensure that they are available and accessible to people in developing countries.

"I am thrilled to join MVI at this important time in the development of effective malaria vaccines,” said Dr. McNeil. “ The response to malaria, along with tuberculosis and HIV, all demand the availability of effective vaccines as part of a comprehensive prevention portfolio. I look especially forward to forging R&D synergies between the vaccine fields and to introducing knowledge and lessons learned from HIV vaccine development to MVI’s malaria vaccine development effort.”

MVI, which has received $257 million in funding since its inception, currently supports the development of a dozen malaria vaccine candidates, including GlaxoSmithKline Biological’s RTS,S malaria vaccine, the world’s leading malaria vaccine candidate. MVI also leads the way in addressing intellectual property, financing, and marketing issues around developing and introducing malaria vaccines.

Prior to his work at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. McNeil served for more than 22 years in the US Army, retiring at the rank of Colonel. He was product manager for HIV vaccine advanced development to the US Army Medical Research and Material Command at Fort Detrick, Maryland. Dr. McNeil obtained his doctorate in medicine from Wake Forest University and his master’s degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health.

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PATH is an international, nonprofit organization that creates sustainable, culturally relevant solutions, enabling communities worldwide to break longstanding cycles of poor health. For more information, visit www.path.org. The PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) is a global program established through an initial grant of $50 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has since awarded it an additional $207.6 million, including $107.6 million to complete development of the RTS,S vaccine. MVI’s mission is to accelerate the development of promising malaria vaccines and ensure their availability and accessibility in the developing world. For more information, visit www.malariavaccine.org.