CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Affinivax Inc., a biotechnology company dedicated to developing novel vaccines, today announced that it has appointed Frances K. Heller to the company’s Board of Directors. With 20 years of experience in strategic transactions and partnerships in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, Ms. Heller brings a seasoned perspective to support Affinivax’s advancement of novel conjugate vaccines using the company’s proprietary Multiple Antigen Presenting System (MAPS) technology platform.
“We are very fortunate to have Fran Heller join our Board of Directors, bringing deep knowledge and experience that is invaluable as Affinivax advance the MAPS technology platform and a pipeline of important vaccine candidates into the clinic,” said Steven B. Brugger, President and Chief Executive Officer of Affinivax. “We look forward to working with Fran and leveraging her strategic and operational business talents as we build Affinivax."
Ms. Heller’s appointment represents an expansion of Affinivax’s Board of Directors which includes Richard Malley, Affinivax’s scientific founder, George Siber, M.D., former CSO of Wyeth Vaccines, and Bob More and Amit Srivastava from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“I am excited to join Affinivax’s Board of Directors as the company launches with a promising new approach to vaccines to address the global challenges we face with infectious diseases,” said Ms. Heller. “I look forward to helping to guide the company’s advancement and adding my expertise to an already outstanding leadership team that has established Affinivax’s unique MAPS vaccine platform and its promising lead program targeting pneumococcal disease.”
Ms. Heller is an accomplished leader in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries with expertise in business development, licensing and legal affairs. Most recently, she was senior vice president of business development at Bristol-Myers Squibb and a Trustee of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. Ms. Heller currently serves as a trustee of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and is a member of the board of directors at Zafgen, Inc., a public biotech company. Prior to joining Bristol-Meyers Squibb, she was executive vice president of business development at Exelixis Pharmaceuticals and prior to joining Exelixis, Ms. Heller was head of strategic alliances at Novartis Pharmaceuticals. Ms. Heller is an instructor and guest lecturer at several universities as an expert in the business of strategy setting, deal-making and negotiation. Ms. Heller is a member of the California State Bar and licensed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. She holds a B.S. in biology from Tulane University, an M.A. in biology from American University and a J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law.
Affinivax is advancing a next generation conjugate vaccine technology platform to enable the development of vaccines that provide the highest level of protection against challenging infectious diseases. Backed by an investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and working with world experts in vaccine discovery and development, Affinivax is focused on creating a pipeline of vaccines for children and adults in both the developed and developing worlds. The company’s proprietary vaccine platform, called Multiple Antigen Presentation System (MAPS), enables the conjugation of protective polysaccharides and proteins in a single vaccine and uniquely induces a broad and protective immune response. The MAPS technology provides a highly stable, modular, and efficient approach to develop vaccines against a wide range of diseases. The company has achieved preliminary preclinical proof-of-concept for several MAPS vaccines and is currently advancing its lead vaccine candidate against Streptococcus pneumoniae.