GSK Hires Vaccine Star Away from Pfizer to Boost its Vaccine Operations
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), whose COVID-19 vaccine development efforts have lagged behind those of competitors, has hired away one of the top scientists behind the Pfizer COVID-19 jab, which has been the most ubiquitous of the three vaccines approved for use in the U.S.
Philip Dormitzer will become GSK’s global head of R&D for vaccines as of Dec. 3, the company said.
At Pfizer, Dormitzer was VP and chief scientific officer of RNA and viral vaccines, responsible for the company’s viral vaccines R&D portfolio. He provided Pfizer scientific leadership for the development of the company’s mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine co-developed with BioNTech.
He was also responsible for Pfizer’s maternal and older adult respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine candidates, which are now in phase 3 clinical trials, and Pfizer’s RNA-based influenza vaccine candidate, also being developed in collaboration with BioNTech.
“The importance of vaccines has never been clearer and the pace of technological innovation has rarely been greater,” said Hal Barron, chief scientific officer and president of R&D for GSK. “GSK has an industry-leading pipeline of vaccines and Phil’s scientific expertise and significant experience with key innovative technologies, such as mRNA, structure-based antigen design and synthetic biology, will be key to ensuring we remain a leader in this field.”
Prior to his tenure at Pfizer, Dormitzer worked for Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, leading research on the H1N1 influenza pandemic that supported the development of three licensed vaccines. He was also head of U.S. vaccines research there.
At GSK, phase 3 trials on a reformulated version of the Sanofi-GSK COVID-19 vaccine candidate began in May and the companies are now also assessing booster jabs. Full trial results are expected by year’s end. — Suz Redfearn