Coulter Partners places two industry-leading infectious disease experts as Board Directors at RQ Bio
Coulter Partners, the global experts in Executive Search and Leadership Development in Life Sciences, Health and Tech, recently partnered with RQ Bio to strengthen the board with the placements of Dr W. Ripley Ballou, previously Vice President and Head at GSK Global Vaccines and Dr Jacques Cholat, previously President of Merck Vaccines. The appointments confirm RQ Bio’s ambition to become the world-leading company in passive immunization for infectious diseases.
The appointments come after RQ Bio announced last month that the first of its discovered monoclonal antibodies to prevent COVID-19 in vulnerable patients has entered clinical trials. Less than 12 months after discovery, AstraZeneca started the SUPERNOVA Phase I/III trial. Just six months before, RQ Bio was launched following a $157m licensing deal for Covid-19 antibodies with AstraZeneca.
RQ Bio’s mission has been to develop medicines based on potent broad-spectrum monoclonal antibodies to provide instant and long-lasting immunity for vulnerable people at risk of severe disease or death from current and future variants of viral infections.
Both new Non-Executive Directors have extensive scientific and leadership experience in vaccines and infectious diseases in the United States, Europe and around the world. They take up their position with immediate effect and will support the strategic, business and scientific direction of the company.
Hugo Fry, CEO of RQ Bio, comments: “We are charging ahead. We have the funding to match our ambition, and now we are announcing two non-executive appointments that match the scale of our ambition. There is no time to waste in protecting millions of vulnerable patients, so being joined by such highly experienced and talented leaders in the industry will further accelerate our progress.”
He adds: “It was our pleasure to work with Coulter Partners and we thank the team for their professionalism and outstanding support in achieving these invaluable appointments.”
Dr Ripley Ballou is a senior R&D leader with a wealth of experience in vaccines and infectious diseases. His experience includes research, technical and clinical development, quality and regulatory activities involved in taking vaccines and monoclonal antibodies targeting infectious diseases from discovery through to the clinic. He also has experience of start-up companies including being instrumental in the launch of Univax Corporation which was developing a monoclonal antibody program against sepsis targets.
Dr Ballou currently serves as a Senior Scientific Advisor to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) where he works on monoclonal antibody programs targeting HIV. He was previously Vice President and Head at GSK Global Vaccines, based in Maryland, US where he led programs developing vaccines for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Dengue, Ebola and Cytomegalovirus (CMV).
Prior to that he was Vice President and Head, Clinical Research and Translational Science, Vaccine Discovery and Development at GSK Vaccines in Rixensart, Belgium. He has also served as Deputy Director for Vaccines, Infectious Diseases Development, Global Health at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and as a Vice President, Clinical Development at MedImmune where he worked on early and late-stage vaccine and monoclonal antibody programs. Dr Ballou received his MD from Emory University School of Medicine, trained in Medicine and Infectious Disease at the Walter Reed Army Medical Centre and began his research career in vaccine development at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research where he led a team that, with GSK, co-developed a malaria vaccine that was recently recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for widespread use in sub-Saharan Africa.
Dr Jacques Cholat has long been inspired by the combined aspects of public health and commercial considerations in the infectious diseases/vaccines arena. While working at Merck & Co he was instrumental in securing the roll out of several life-saving vaccination programs to the lowest income countries of the world: Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Rotavirus and Ebola vaccination in Africa. Dr Cholat was previously President of Merck Vaccines and before that Vice President of the company’s Global Commercial Vaccines. Prior to joining Merck, he was Vice President Commercial Operations International for Sanofi Pasteur and Vice President Commercial Operations Asia Pacific for Aventis. He gained his MD at Genoble University’s Medical School.
- Coulter Partners
- Jodie Gadd