PaxVax Announces New Commercial Senior Leadership

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February 03, 2014

PaxVax Inc., a speciality vaccine company focused on travellers and biodefense markets with a social mission to ensure global access to its vaccines, today announced the expansion of its commercial leadership team, including appointments of: Linda Rubinstein as Chief Financial Officer; Piers Whitehead as Chief Corporate Development Officer; and Thomas Yonker as Vice President of Project Management.

PaxVax has created a clinical-stage product portfolio, including its lead product, PXVX0200, an oral, single-dose cholera vaccine currently completing Phase 3 clinical trials. In recognition of the lack of an available U.S. traveler’s vaccine against cholera, PXVX0200 has been granted Fast Track designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. PaxVax’s biodefense specialty pipeline also includes a pandemic H5N1 influenza vaccine, which recently concluded a successful Phase 1 clinical trial, as well as a vaccine for anthrax, which is currently in a Phase 1 clinical trial in collaboration with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“I am very pleased to welcome Linda, Piers, and Tom to the PaxVax team. All are accomplished business executives who bring to the company decades of biologics, vaccines, and business expertise,” said Kenneth Kelley, Chief Executive Officer of PaxVax. “Currently, no single-dose cholera vaccine is available in the world today. In anticipation of U.S. regulatory approval of PXVX0200, we believe the cumulative experience of Linda, Piers, and Tom will help PaxVax successfully transition our candidate vaccines from R&D to commercialization.”

Ms. Rubinstein has more than 25 years of operational, financial, and capital markets experience in life science, software, and investment banking. Previously, she served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Ingenuity Systems, which was acquired by QIAGEN in 2013, and Vice President and CFO of Solexa, which was acquired by Illumina in 2007. In these roles, she oversaw finance operations, conducted financing and M&A transactions, and contributed to corporate strategy. As an investment banker, she completed over 30 transactions on behalf of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch, among others, raising over five billion in capital for companies ranging from emerging start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. Ms. Rubinstein earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Mr. Whitehead brings 20 years of experience in the vaccines and biopharmaceutical industries to PaxVax. He joins the company from Paris-based Neovacs, where he was Vice President of Corporate Development. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Corporate and Business Development for vaccine company, VaxGen. At VaxGen, he negotiated several important partnerships and led the company’s commercial strategy, resulting in the award of a nearly one billion dollar Project Bioshield Act contract. He also spent 10 years at Mercer Management Consulting, where he headed the San Francisco office and led marketing, strategy, and manufacturing projects for clients including the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), UNICEF, and several private-sector pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies. Mr. Whitehead has published extensively on the vaccine industry and related public policy matters and holds an A.B. from Oriel College, Oxford University, England.

Mr. Yonker has nearly 30 years of biopharmaceutical experience, with over 25 years in project management for drug development. He joins PaxVax from Kalobios Pharmaceuticals where he managed clinical-stage projects. Prior to that, he held executive project management positions at Entelos, Abgenix, Corgentech, InterMune, Aviron, ALZA, Glaxo, and The Upjohn Company. He is a certified Project Management Professional and received his M.B.A. and B.S from Western Michigan University.

PaxVax has raised more than $68 million from investors including Ignition Partners, Blue Haven Initiative, and the Wellcome Trust. The company is also supported by grants and contracts from the NIH through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and its Division of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (DAIDS) and its Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID), as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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