Vaxcyte Expands Executive Leadership Team with Key Appointments
-- Vaxcyte has Appointed Mark Wiggins, M.B.A. as Chief Business Officer and Jakub Simon M.D., M.S. as Chief Medical Officer as the Company Prepares to Enter Next Phase of Growth --
SAN CARLOS, Calif., Oct. 11, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Vaxcyte, Inc. (Nasdaq: PCVX), a clinical-stage vaccine innovation company engineering high-fidelity vaccines to protect humankind from the consequences of bacterial diseases, today announced the appointment of Mark Wiggins as Chief Business Officer and Jakub Simon as Chief Medical Officer. Both Mark and Jakub are accomplished industry leaders who bring vast expertise that will support the continued growth and advancement of the Company.
“We are delighted to welcome Mark and Jakub as we approach a major milestone for the Company with the expected announcement of topline results from the VAX-24 proof-of-concept study in October or November,” said Grant Pickering, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Vaxcyte. “Jakub’s extensive background in vaccine development as well as Mark’s expertise in corporate and business development are important additions to our management team as Vaxcyte continues to advance our lead vaccine candidate, VAX-24, a 24-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, and the rest of our novel vaccine pipeline.”
“Vaxcyte is poised for substantial growth with a potential global PCV vaccine franchise,” said Mark Wiggins, Chief Business Officer of Vaxcyte. “I’m thrilled to be joining the Company at this stage and to be part of a dedicated, forward-thinking team on a mission to advance such important vaccines.”
“I am pleased to join this team driven by a bold mission grounded in addressing significant public health challenges with respect to bacterial infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance,” said Jakub Simon, Chief Medical Officer of Vaxcyte. “Vaxcyte is on an exciting path to advance novel vaccines with the potential to address the serious consequences of bacterial infections such as invasive pneumococcal disease, Group A Strep and periodontitis.”
About Mark Wiggins, M.B.A.
Mr. Wiggins has over three decades of corporate and business development experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, having served as the head of corporate development at multiple biopharma companies, including Biogen-Idec, Idec Pharmaceuticals and most recently as Chief Business Officer at TRACON Pharmaceuticals. In his role at TRACON, Mr. Wiggins in-licensed multiple clinical-stage products, while also leading legal strategy and commercial launches. Previously, during his six-year tenure at Biogen-Idec, Mr. Wiggins served as the Executive Vice President of Corporate and Business Development leading the licensure of several billion-dollar products as well as key acquisitions. Earlier in his career, he was Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Idec Pharmaceuticals where he negotiated an alliance with Genentech, led marketing of the blockbuster drug Rituxan, launched Zevalin and out-licensed ex-US Zevalin rights. Mr. Wiggins began his career working with several prominent pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. He eventually moved to Schering-Plough (now Merck) for ten years where he was Head of U.S. Business Development. He earned his B.S. degree in finance from Syracuse University and an M.B.A. from the University of Arizona.
About Jakub Simon, M.D., M.S.
Dr. Simon brings over 20 years of clinical research and development experience, including roles in academia, biotech and pharmaceutical companies that span the full scope of executing clinical trials for numerous vaccines. He was responsible for the clinical trial programs that generated the data supporting the licensure of Vaxchora®, Ervebo®, and Vaxneuvance™. Most recently, Dr. Simon has served as a consultant to Vaxcyte and played an essential role in initiating the clinical trial program for VAX-24, the Company’s lead vaccine candidate. Previously, during his tenure at Merck as the Director of Clinical Research for Vaccines, he led several vaccine programs, including pneumococcus and hepatitis A, and served as the clinical lead on the Ebola program. While at PaxVax, Inc., Dr. Simon served as Senior Director of Clinical Development and oversaw pivotal cholera challenge studies. Early in his career, while at the University of Maryland Center for Vaccine Development, Dr. Simon’s National Institutes of Health-funded research focused on developing vaccines against pathogens including Shigella, measles, and influenza. Dr. Simon earned his M.D. from the University of California School of Medicine and completed his pediatric residency training at Harbor-UCLA. He also obtained his M.S. in Epidemiology, focused on clinical studies, at the University of Maryland.
Vaxcyte is a vaccine innovation company engineering high-fidelity vaccines to protect humankind from the consequences of bacterial diseases. The Company is developing broad-spectrum conjugate and novel protein vaccines to prevent or treat bacterial infectious diseases. Vaxcyte’s lead candidate, VAX-24, is a 24-valent, broad-spectrum pneumococcal conjugate vaccine being developed for the prevention of invasive pneumococcal disease. Vaxcyte is re-engineering the way highly complex vaccines are made through modern synthetic techniques, including advanced chemistry and the XpressCF™ cell-free protein synthesis platform, exclusively licensed from Sutro Biopharma, Inc. Unlike conventional cell-based approaches, the Company’s system for producing difficult-to-make proteins and antigens is intended to accelerate its ability to efficiently create and deliver high-fidelity vaccines with enhanced immunological benefits. Vaxcyte’s pipeline also includes VAX-XP, a PCV with an expanded breadth of coverage of greater than 30 strains; VAX-A1, a prophylactic vaccine candidate designed to prevent Group A Strep infections; and VAX-PG, a therapeutic vaccine candidate designed to slow or stop the progression of periodontal disease. Vaxcyte is driven to eradicate or treat invasive bacterial infections, which have serious and costly health consequences when left unchecked. For more information, visit www.vaxcyte.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements related to the process and timing of anticipated future development of Vaxcyte’s vaccine candidates; the timing, availability and outcome of topline data for the VAX-24 Phase 1/2 clinical proof-of-concept study and Phase 2 clinical study; the likelihood and reach of our PCV franchise; and other statements that are not historical fact. The words “believe,” “could,” “expect,” “may,” “potential,” “should,” “would” and similar expressions (as well as other words or expressions referencing future events, conditions or circumstances) convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes and are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. These forward-looking statements are based on Vaxcyte’s current expectations and actual results and timing of events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements as a result of risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks related to Vaxcyte’s product development programs, including development timelines, success and timing of chemistry, manufacturing and controls and related manufacturing activities, potential delays or inability to obtain and maintain required regulatory approvals for its vaccine candidates, and the risks and uncertainties inherent with preclinical and clinical development processes; the success, cost and timing of all development activities and clinical trials; impacts of COVID-19; risks related to our ability to register and market our PCV vaccine(s) globally; and sufficiency of cash and other funding to support Vaxcyte’s development programs and other operating expenses. These and other risks are described more fully in Vaxcyte’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including, without limitation, its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the SEC on August 8, 2022 or in other documents Vaxcyte subsequently files with or furnishes to the SEC. All forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date on which they were made and are based on management’s assumptions and estimates as of such date, and readers should not rely upon the information in this press release as current or accurate after its publication date. Vaxcyte undertakes no duty or obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this release as a result of new information, future events or changes in its expectations.
Andrew Guggenhime, President & Chief Financial Officer
Janet Graesser, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Investor Relations