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Senior Merck Executive to Head IAVI’s AIDS Vaccine Design and Development Laboratory

August 10, 2010

New York, August 10, 2010 — The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Caulfield as Executive Director of the IAVI AIDS Vaccine Design and Development Laboratory (DDL).

Dr. Caulfield comes to IAVI from Merck, where he worked for 16 years, joining as a research fellow and rising to become Senior Director of Vaccine Basic Research.  An immunologist by training, Caulfield contributed to the development of a number of vaccines and technologies while at Merck. Prior to that, he spent 14 years as an academic researcher at the renowned Cleveland Clinic. He received his BS and PhD from the University of Notre Dame prior to training as a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health.

“We are very excited to have Mike on board as Executive Director of the DDL,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, President and CEO of IAVI. “He brings to the position a set of skills and a depth of experience that will serve IAVI well as we move more aggressively into the design of new classes of HIV vaccines. Not only has he demonstrated talent for managing innovation in biomedical research—a rare skill in itself—but his background has uniquely prepared him for the sort of work we’re focusing on at IAVI.”

Caulfield started out at Merck researching vaccines against viruses such as hepatitis B, influenza, and HIV, and he contributed significantly to the development of Zostavax®, a vaccine for the control of shingles. He also devised novel methods to assess the immune response to candidate HIV vaccines based on DNA and adenovirus vector technologies. In 2005, he took the helm of the microbial vaccine group, researching preventive vaccines against bacterial diseases. In that role, he led the preclinical development of a 15-component pneumococcal conjugate vaccine against Streptococcus pneumoniae, an agent that causes significant co-morbidity with HIV, especially in the developing world.

“I am very excited to join IAVI and to share in its mission to develop AIDS vaccines,” said Caulfield. “I look forward to continuing to work on a problem of such great significance to the world—and to be joining a team of expert researchers in the field.”

Caulfield will be responsible for leading the DDL in its role as IAVI’s hub of translational research and vaccine discovery.  The DDL boasts an enviable roster of scientists involved in the design of replication-competent viral vectors and the formulation and testing of immunogens developed to elicit potentially protective immune responses to HIV. Caulfield will also augment an R&D team that already has significant experience with industry standard approaches to portfolio and project management.

“Mike’s joining at a critical time for the field,” said Dr. Wayne Koff, IAVI’s Chief Scientific Officer. “We’re in the middle of a renaissance in AIDS vaccine design and development. IAVI aims to capitalize on recent advances by expanding and integrating the operations of its three core laboratories: the Neutralizing Antibody Center at The Scripps Research Institute, which is identifying new approaches to designing HIV vaccines, the DDL, which is translating these research leads into clinical candidates, and the Human Immunology Lab at Imperial College London, which is assessing the immune responses of candidate vaccines in clinical trials. Their coordinated efforts will be further linked up with those of IAVI’s extended network of collaborating AIDS vaccine research centers in sub-Saharan Africa and India.”

About IAVI
The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is a global not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the development of safe, effective, accessible, preventive HIV vaccines for use throughout the world. Founded in 1996 and operational in 25 countries, IAVI and its network of collaborators research and develop vaccine candidates.  IAVI was founded with the generous support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Starr Foundation, and Until There's A Cure Foundation.  Other major supporters include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, The John D. Evans Foundation, The New York Community Trust, the James B. Pendleton Charitable Trust; the Governments of Canada, Denmark, India, Ireland, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the Basque Autonomous Government (Spain), the European Union as well as the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and The City of New York, Economic Development Corporation; multilateral organizations such as The World Bank and The OPEC Fund for International Development; corporate donors including BD (Becton, Dickinson & Co.), Bristol-Myers Squibb, Continental Airlines, Google Inc., Pfizer Inc, and Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.; leading AIDS charities such as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS; and many generous individuals from around the world.  For more information, see www.iavi.org.

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