Dr Donald Francis, the Executive Director for Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases, joined us at the World Vaccine Congress Washington this year to talk about his views on outsourcing technologies and working in partnership with the emerging markets in the vaccines industry.
Dr Francis shared his views on how increasing vaccine supply to build production capacity, particularly in developing countries, redresses the current geographical imbalance. It becomes more and more challenging to identify the right technology transfer partners.
Another important question posed during his talk was on how do you go about ensuring safety, efficacy and potency when transferring a product into practical use ie. clinical trials in the emerging markets.
Dr Francis's experience and expertise in the field made this a very interesting presentation at the Congress.
You can download the whole presentation here.
As an infectious disease trained, pediatrician and epidemiologist with a doctorate in virology, Dr. Francis has over 30 years experience in epidemic control and vaccines. He started his involvement in India just after medical school with an assignment to a tetanus control demonstration project in rural Punjab, India. Over the years, his vaccine work has encompassed all stages from early development in the laboratory to late-stage disease control in the field.
His early work involved 21 years at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control focusing on vaccine-preventable diseases including measles, cholera, smallpox and hepatitis B. In the mid 1970's he directed WHO's Smallpox Eradication Programme in Sudan and U.P. State in Northern India. His hepatitis B vaccine work included Phase III trials among gay men in the United States and among infants born to carrier mothers in China. After CDC he joined Genentech and, later, VaxGen, where he directed the development of two candidate HIV vaccines through Phase I, II and III trials in North America, Europe and Thailand.
He is currently Executive Director of Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases, part of a consortium that recently announced the first vaccine protection against HIV. Through GSID, his team has worked closely with LDC vaccine companies developing dengue vaccines. Since 2004, Dr. Francis has been a frequent consultant for the WHO Polio Eradication Programme in India performing in-depth field evaluations of the programme in UP and Bihar. Since 2004, he also has been a WHO consultant for manufacture of influenza vaccine.