Seattle, WA | Sept. 28, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SEATTLE, September 28, 2015: As part of the prestigious Merck Fellowship for Global Health, IDRI (Infectious Disease Research Institute) is hosting two Fellows – Todd Kennedy, national account executive, Merck, and Susan Galea, director, Drug Safety, Regulatory Affairs, Merck – in Seattle for three months to work with the HIV Cure Initiative. IDRI, which partners with organizations around the world to provide adjuvants for HIV vaccine candidates, serves as the fiscal sponsor for the HIV Cure Initiative, an alliance that brings together an international group of leading organizations across industry, academia, government and NGOs to establish novel partnerships and collaborations aimed at developing new pathways to amplify existing efforts to cure HIV.

“Developing a cure for HIV, while technically feasible at a scientific level, requires an extraordinary global effort, backed by strong and sustained scientific, governmental, private sector and philanthropic collaboration, and achieved via innovative public-private alliances guided by an aligned vision and common goals,” said Erik Iverson, JD, LLM, IDRI President of Business & Operations and member of the HIV Cure Initiative’s Steering Committee. “We’re excited and honored to be receiving such important support from Merck, a key industry stakeholder in the Initiative’s efforts, through its fellowship program, and look forward to working with Todd and Susan to develop a compelling case as to why now is the time that substantial funding, research and political support is needed for an HIV cure.”

The Merck Fellowship for Global Health is a three-month, field-based corporate pro bono program designed to leverage the skills and talents of Merck employees. It pairs the best minds from Merck with nonprofit partner organizations around the world to provide meaningful and systematic improvements in health service delivery for people in the greatest need.

During their commitment to the HIV Cure Initiative, Galea and Kennedy will develop an investment case to will outline the economic and public health need for support, as well as the anticipated resource and technology investment required to achieve a cure for HIV. The ultimate goal is to develop a rationale to catalyze multi-sector engagement in a strategic, collaborative effort to identify, fund, develop and distribute a cure for HIV that will be accessible in both high- and low-resource geographic areas. This rationale must strike a balance between the need to ensure very broad access across all patient populations globally with the need to provide a reasonable commercial return on investment to product producers and distributors.

With Merck since 1995, Galea currently serves as Director for Clinical Safety Risk Management for Merck’s Vaccine, Infectious Disease and Oncology Franchise. Galea has recently served as part of Merck’s Clinical Data Sharing Guidance and Redaction work group to comply with the EU directive regarding clinical data. “I believe we can use knowledge I’ve gained as part of this group in the future as HIV candidates are developed at different companies,” said Galea. “This very much supports the sharing of clinical data to expedite products to market.”

Kennedy has more than 25 years of experience with Merck, currently serving as a national account executive, providing daily leadership to build long-term, relationships with key customers. “I’m looking forward to applying my experience in developing strong investment cases and key relationships to gain support for the HIV Cure Initiative,” he said.

 

About IDRI

As a non-profit global health organization, IDRI (Infectious Disease Research Institute) takes a comprehensive approach to combat infectious diseases, combining the high-quality science of a research organization with the product development capabilities of a biotech company to create new diagnostics, drugs and vaccines. IDRI combines passion for improving human health with the understanding that it is not just what our scientists know about disease, but what we do to change its course that will have the greatest impact. Founded in 1993, IDRI has 125 employees headquartered in Seattle with nearly 100 partners/collaborators around the world. For more information, visit www.idri.org.

 

Contacts:

IDRI: Lee Schoentrup | 206.858.6064 | lee.schoentrup@idri.org