NEW YORK, 20 January 1999—The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) has appointed Wayne C. Koff, Ph.D. to the newly created position of Vice President for Research and Development.
Koff, a widely respected veteran of industry, government and academic research laboratories, joined IAVI from United Biomedical Inc. of Hauppauge, N.Y., where he was responsible for corporate development and vaccine R&D.
Between 1988 and 1992, Koff led the National Institutes of Health’s AIDS vaccine research effort as branch chief for vaccine R&D at the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease’s Division of AIDS.
Seth Berkley, M.D., IAVI’s president, said Koff’s is the first of several new science appointments expected from IAVI as it reorganizes and expands its global vaccine development effort following the departure last August of Margaret Johnston, Ph.D., IAVI’s founding Vice President for Scientific Affairs.
"Wayne is a first-class scientist who brings a wealth of government, industry and, most critically, international AIDS vaccine research and development experience to IAVI," Berkley said. "Among his many accomplishments, Wayne built the clinical infrastructure and successfully launched the first international AIDS vaccine trials in China, Thailand and Brazil."
Said Koff: "I am excited to be joining IAVI as vice president for research and development. I have long believed that a focused AIDS vaccine R&D agenda, which targets rapid development of the most promising vaccine candidates, can provide the critical catalytic push to significantly accelerate AIDS vaccine development."
Koff added: "IAVI’s approach holds particular promise because it seeks to complement, not compete with, the basic research agenda of the NIH and others, as well as ongoing efforts in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. IAVI’s commitment to enlisting developing country scientists as full partners will have a tremendous impact on both the development and eventual distribution of a safe and effective vaccine."
Koff joins IAVI six weeks after it won scientific plaudits for its groundbreaking, $9.1 million investment in two international Vaccine Development Partnerships. IAVI’s investment, which represents the two single largest AIDS research awards by a non-governmental organization in history, will jump start work on two of the most exciting new vaccine technologies in the world.
The new vaccines will be derived from strains of HIV that circulate in Africa and Asia, where the need for a vaccine is the greatest.
IAVI, a collaborating centre of UNAIDS, is a scientific organization founded in 1996 whose mission is to ensure the development of safe, effective, accessible, preventive HIV vaccines for use throughout the world.
Lean in structure and catalytic in nature, IAVI’s work is focused on three areas: accelerating scientific progress; advocacy and education; and creating a more supportive environment for industrial involvement in HIV vaccine development. IAVI draws its funding from foundations, governments, corporations and individuals, including the Rockefeller, Sloan, Starr, William H. Gates, Until There’s a Cure, and Elton John AIDS Foundations; the U.K. government; the World Bank; and UNAIDS.