Nima Farzan takes over as PaxVax CEO

Nima Farzan

Nima Farzan, who previously served as chief operating officer, will take the helm as CEO of PaxVax, the company announced Monday. Ken Kelley, co-founder and former CEO, will remain on the board of directors and will serve as an advanced leadership initiative fellow at Harvard University.

Farzan joined the company in 2011 as COO and was given the president title earlier this year as part of the transition, he told FierceVaccines.

"As CEO, I'll spend more time with external relations and management as well. Investor relations, policy and things like that become more important," he said. "But those are the sorts of things I typically played a role in (as COO) as well."

The company markets the typhoid vaccine, Vivotif, which it acquired from Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Crucell in July 2014. It has several vaccines in the pipeline, the most advanced of which is its cholera candidate, Vaxchora. PaxVax announced that the vaccine had met its primary endpoints in a Phase III trial in December and that it planned to file a Biologics License Application midyear.

"We recently conducted a study in Mali to evaluate our vaccine in a developing world population," Farzan said. While PaxVax's primary goal is to develop and commercialize the first FDA-approved cholera vaccine for travelers, the company seeks "social returns" in addition to financial returns. It aims to achieve by bringing its products, Vaxchora included, to those who are most in need.

Farzan previously told FierceVaccines that in order to make the vaccine work in places where cholera is endemic, changes might need to be made. Endemic populations may need a higher dose, he said.

His short-term goals for the company include launching Vaxchora next year and effectively growing Vivotif sales. PaxVax has already embarked on the latter by extending its commercial network for the typhoid jab. In the long term, he plans to grow PaxVax into the largest dedicated vaccines company, inorganically--through acquisitions--as well as organically, through its existing pipeline.

- here's the release