Novavax, advancing COVID-19 shot, recruits AstraZeneca exec as its chief medical officer

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Novavax recruited two pharma and biotech veterans to senior posts. (Novavax)

On the heels of some big fundraising moves and in the hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine, Novavax is adding some Big Pharma experience to its executive team. 

Joining the company's leadership team as chief medical officer is Filip Dubovsky, an AstraZeneca veteran. Dubovsky joins Novavax directly from the British drugmaker, where he served as head of clinical engagement and policy, plus as chief medical officer for clinical affairs. Before that role, he oversaw a portfolio of more than two dozen malaria vaccines at the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative. 

Dubrovsky will be tasked with overseeing development of the company's COVID-19 candidate. The company in late May kicked off a phase 1/2 study of the prospect, and it's been working through steps to scale up its manufacturing in parallel. Aside from its COVID-19 work, the company is getting ready to submit an FDA application for its flu vaccine, NanoFlu.

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Dubovsky in a statement called Novavax’s recent vaccine advances “impressive” and said he’s “eager to put my experience to work” at the biotech.

RELATED: Gearing up for commercial ops, Moderna recruits Amgen vet Meline as CFO

Novavax isn’t the only vaccine biotech staffing up as it advances a COVID-19 vaccine. Moderna, which is among the front-runners, recently added former Amgen exec David Meline as its chief financial officer. And the company has since recruited another Amgen vet, Ray Jordan, to serve as chief corporate affairs officer on Monday. 

Meanwhile, Novavax has also added Silvia Taylor⁠—who has served at Autolus, Sucampo, AstraZeneca and Pfizer⁠—as SVP of investor relations and corporate affairs. On Monday, the company named David Mott, a biotech veteran who led MedImmune for years before its 2007 sale to AstraZeneca, as an independent director. Prior to February, Mott was the global head of healthcare investing at New Enterprise Associates.

“David’s extensive experience building, leading and financing biopharmaceutical companies will add significant value to Novavax’ board, especially now as we laser-focus on contributing to some of the world’s most daunting healthcare challenges,” Novavax CEO said Stanley Erck said in a statement.

RELATED: Novavax, already a fundraising star, gins up another $200M for vaccine work 

Speaking of financing, the appointments come on the heels of three recent cash infusions for Novavax. In May, the company scored a deal worth up to $384 million with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. Then, the Department of Defense inked a $60 million contract with the biotech. Under that deal, Novavax will deliver 10 million doses of the vaccine to the DOD this year. On Monday, Novavax unveiled a $200 million private placement with life sciences investment firm RA Capital. 

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