Industry Press Releases

Top 20 influencers in Asia’s vaccines industry

Monday, Apr 27, 2015

A hub of innovative ideas and vaccine pipelines are waiting to reach the global market in Japan, Australia and Korea (“producers” or “purchasers”). On the other hand, a large pool of long unmet medical needs against polio, measles and seasonal influenza are simply relying on the supply of low-cost vaccines

(“recipients”). The longer the wide gap between the recipients and producers continues, the more opportunities for vaccine manufacturers to be lost.

In identifying and shortening the distance between the producers and recipients, Asia’s vaccine market has seen the light of great market influencers (e.g. public health officers, researchers, clinical virologists and innovative biotech founders).

This ebook highlights the Top 20 Influencers in Asia’s Vaccines Industry and recognizes their contributions in advancing research, achieving partnerships, introducing innovation and improving policies.

Read on for inspiration and encouragement in your vaccines research, development, production and distribution.

Soo Min LEE
Project Manager
World Vaccine Congress Asia 2015

1. Duane Gubler

Chairman, Partnership for Dengue Control, France & Professor, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore

Professor Gubler is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health and has spent his entire career working on tropical infectious diseases with an emphasis on dengue/dengue hemorrhagic fever. He has extensive field experience in Asia, the Pacific, tropical America and Africa. On top of his numerous engagements with CDC, WHO and other public health or research institutes, Duane is currently a member of the Dengue Vaccine

Initiative Technical Advisory Group, and serves as Chairman of the Partnership for Dengue Control. The two organizations both serve to promote industry collaboration through exchange of knowledge and leveraging on the members’ specialties to accelerate effective dengue vaccine development.

In a recent interview with Terrapinn, Duane pointed out that Asia’s key to irradicating prevalent diseases is cooperation and collaboration as there is in the

American regions (e.g. Pan American Health Organization coordinating and organizing regional control and funding).

2. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia

Elected on February 2014, Poonam is the first female Regional Director of

WHO’s Southeast Asia office. Upon assuming her role, she had declared her top priorities:

•    addressing the persisting and emerging epidemiological and demographic challenges;

•    promoting universal health coverage and robust health systems;

•    strengthening emergency risk management for sustainable development;

•    articulating a strong regional voice in the global health agenda

As a regional health officer, Poonam has shown her commitment to Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), access to universal health coverage, protection of IP rights, and affordable vaccination and disease prevention.

3. Cyrus Poonawalla

Founder, Chairman & Managing Director, Serum Institute of India

In 1966 Dr. Poonawalla and his brother Zavaray started Serum Institute of India which launched its first therapeutic anti-tetanus serum within two years, and began producing the anti-tetanus vaccines.

From the inception, Dr. Poonawalla’s primary concept was not only to make life-saving drugs and vaccines, which were in shortage in the country, but also to see that every child was protected. At that time his dictum was "Health for all by 2000 AD". The resultant effort was the National Program of Immunization, which is largely dependent on the vaccines manufactured by Serum Institute and now that philosophy has proliferated worldwide to International U.N. Agencies.

By 1998 Serum Institute was exporting vaccines to over a 100 countries and by 2000 one out of every two children in the world was vaccinated by a vaccine of Serum Institute of India.

Dr. Poonawalla’s strong belief in "No Compromise with Quality" and willfull commitment in "Health for All with affordable Vaccines” has today lead Serum

Institute to become India’s leading biotech company producing over a billion doses a year that sell in more than 140 countries around the world.

4. Martin Friede, Program Leader, Technology Transfer Initiative (TTI),
World Health Organization

Martin Friede is the Programme Leader for the Technology Transfer Initiative at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. In this position Dr. Friede provides leadership to WHO’s activities on promoting access to health-related products through technology transfer and local production, and provides expert authoritative advice to Member States in the evaluation, acquisition, and development of health-related technologies.

Dr. Friede joined WHO in 2003, originally in the Initiative for Vaccine Research where he was responsible for New Vaccine Technologies. In that position he established a number of technology-transfer hubs, where essential vaccine-related technologies and intellectual property were assembled with appropriate know-how in a single site and subsequently transferred to multiple developing countries to permit accelerated availability of locally produced vaccines. In June 2012, Martin gave a thought-provoking speech to the Asian audience in Singapore on sending vaccines to the third world (SEA) through effective technology transfer. His ideas on establishing regional technology transfer hubs has encouraged partnership agreements and collaboration within the ASEAN region.

5. Eksavang Vongvichit, Minister of Health, Lao People's Democratic

Under the guidance of H.E. EksavangVongvichit, Laos has big taking big steps to reach its Millennium Development Goals. With the support of GAVI Alliance, Laos had introduced a new campaign to administer HPV vaccines to its infants and young female population. The country was the first country in the South East Asian region to introduce pneumococcal and cervical cancer vaccines, attacking both neumococcal disease and cervical cancer. The two diseases had led to thousands of deaths of children and women of Laos.

Being a seasoned medical doctor in the field of Pediatrics himself, H.E. Eksavang Vongvichit has introduced significant vaccination programs as a public health priority.

“These vaccines are a critical new part of our immunisation efforts. The pneumococcal vaccine helps to prevent pneumonia, which is the main cause of death and illness for Lao children under five years of age. The HPV vaccine will help prevent cervical cancer, one of the highest causes of cancer-related deaths in Lao women … The immunisation programme is helping us to achieve the maternal and child health Millennium
Development Goals, which are a priority for Lao PDR.”

6. Ghulam Nabi Azad, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, India

India celebrated its Polio-free status certified by WHO in March 2014. Since 1995, more than 50,000 children lost their lives to Polio in India, each year. Domestic vaccine researchers and manufacturers began to introduce innovative vaccines and technologies (e.g. bivalent polio vaccine). And other NGOs and Alliances provided more resources to allow close monitoring of Polio for the next 19 years. And in 2014, India had eradicated Polio with a 99% immunization level.

The Minister was acknowledged for his contributions in “achieving the impossible” (as India had the highest number of Polio cases globally).

7. Mahendra Suhardono, President, Developing Countries Vaccines
Manufacturers Network (DCVMN) & Director, Production, PT Bio Farma,

A WHO prequalified vaccine manufacturer, Suhardono joined Bio Farma in 1989, and is currently President of DCVMN.

PT Bio Farma was the ASEAN based vaccine manufacturers to achieve a WHO prequalification status. Traditionally founded to serve the local market (Indonesia), its initial focus was on DTP, DTP-HepB, HepB, measles and oral polio vaccines. Apart from the traditional vaccines, however, Bio Farma also is now working on pandemic flu vaccines thorugh a technology transfer agreement with BIKEN (Japan).

8. Jack Zhang, Country Program Leader, China, PATH (Picture:

Zhang is the China Country Program Leader for PATH, a post he has held since 2007. Prior to that, Mr. Zhang worked at the Shanghai Institute of Biological Products, a subsidiary of CNBG, where his last position was Deputy Director-General for Operations. During his time, he has seen the first WHO Prequalified chinese vaccine (agaisnst JE), which he believes will “motivate the Chinese government to play a larger role in global health and increase its diplomatic efforts in this area. Additionally, since the JE vaccine was developed through a unique partnership between CDIBP/CNBG, the international nonprofit organization PATH, and the Bill & Melinda Gates

Foundation, the vaccine’s success should inspire other Chinese manufacturers to seek more active engagement in public-private partnership models”

9. Scott O’Neill, Program Leader, Eliminate Dengue Program, Dean, Faculty of Science, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Scott’s research areas of interest are insect interactions with bacterial symbionts and their potential utilization for controlling mosquito-transmitted disease.

His research group is focusing on the biology of Wolbachia, an inherited bacterial parasite of invertebrates. Wolbachia are capable of exerting profound effects on the hosts they infect such as inducing developmental defects like cytoplasmic incompatibility, inducing parthenogenetic development, overriding chromosomal sex determination, selectively killing males and even functioning as classical mutualists.

His research group, which also founded the Eliminate Dengue Program, is currently working on the development of Wolbachia as a novel method to interfere with the transmission of dengue fever, a disease that causes illness in more than 50 million people each year.

His innovative research had caught the eyes of many since last year, and is still widely spoken about, in hopes of positive results.

10. Thu Van Nguyen Senior Advisor & Project Manager, VABIOTECH,

Nguyen Thu Van is a virologist based at the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Hanoi-Vietnam and was the former Director General of Vabiotech since 2000 - 2012.

Nguyen has demonstrated expertise in leading clinical trial, pre-clinical evaluation of vaccines, design and development of new vaccines, transfer of vaccine to Vietnam, managing international grants and coordinating multi-partner projects, vaccine production and quality control, implementation of National Immunization Program. She was appointed as CEO of the Company for vaccine and biological production No.1 in Vietnam (VABIOTECH) since

2000 and also the Member of the National Council for Policy of Science and
Technology in Vietnam since 2003 to present.

VABIOTECH is a spin-off from the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology. And serves as an independent company under the Ministry of Health of Vietnam. She has been producing and trading vaccines locally. The company’s vaccines are accessed for the country’s Expanded Program on

11. Lance Jennings, Director and Chairman, Asia-Pacific Alliance for the Control of Influenza (APACI)

A clinical virologist, Lance has been instrumental in the development of influenza control strategies for New Zealand, including the introduction of free influenza vaccine, establishment of influenza awareness education
(NISG) and pandemic planning. Lance has been a member of WHO/WPRO

Avian Influenza Outbreak Response and Expert Influenza teams in Asia and has held WHO short-term consultancies on measles and influenza in Asia and Europe. He is co-founder in 2002 and current chairperson of the Asia Pacific Alliance for the Control of Influenza (APACI), a Charitable Trust, and initiated the First Asia Pacific Influenza Summit in the region in 2012. APACI serves to reduce the burden of influenza in the region through effective control measures (pandemic preparedness, and sufficient public education).

12. Yee Sin Leo, Senior Consultant & Head, Institute of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology (IIDE), Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore

In 2014, dengue fever had put Singpaore in great fear with over thousands of infection cases. It was through the CDC’s timely and proactive measures that people were well vaccinated and informed of the diseases. Professor Leo currently heads the Institute of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology (IIDE) of

Tan Tock Seng Hospital. She holds a concurrent appointment as the Clinical
Director of Communicable Disease Centre, Singapore.

Notably she led her team battling through multiple episodes of outbreak in Singapore in recent years; the Nipah (1999), SARS (2003), Chikungunya (2008), the Pandemic Influenza outbreaks in 2009 and the current surge of dengue cases since 2013. Her experience in outbreak management is frequently called upon as advisor at national, regional and international level. For her outstanding battle against SARS, she was conferred the most prestigious national award “The Public Service Star” in 2003.

Professor Leo was appointed the first Director of the Institute of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology in November 2012. In addition, she oversees the building of the new state-of-the-art infectious disease hospital, the National

Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID), which is targeted to be ready by year 2018..

13. Nguyen Dang Hien, Director, Center for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals (POLYVAC), Vietnam

Since 2005, Dr. Nguyen Dang Hien has been leading POLYVAC’s research and strategic development activities.

The former Poliomyelitis Vaccine Research and Production Center (POLIOVAC) now the Center for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals (POLYVAC) was established in 1994 by the Ministry of Health of
Vietnam from the Division of Sabin’s Oral Polio Vaccine Production of the

National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology. It was established to conduct experimental research, adopt new technologies for production of vaccine and biological products in accordance with Ministry of Health’s plan for sufficient provision of vaccine for the country Expanded Programme on Immunization.

The quantity of vaccine produced by the Center has increased every year, from 17 million doses in 1994 to 20 million in 1998 and 37 millions in 1990, meeting the national vaccination demand for all children in the country for eventual recognition in 2000 by WHO that Vietnam was polio free.

Nguyen has seen POLYVAC’s growth to a competitive vaccine developer with sizable manufacturing capacity and a handful of licensing rights obtained.

14. Young Geun Park, Chief Executive Officer & Director, GeneOne Life
Science and Chief Executive Officer VGXi, South Korea

GeneOne Life Science is a biopharma company found in South Korea. The company is dedicated to the research and development of DNA vaccines, one of the next generation vaccines, to prevent and treat the incurable disease. With its competitive DNA vaccine R&D and manufacturing capacities, GeneOne Life Science, is translating novel scientific innovation into commercial success as a genuine biotech developer.

In September 2014, GeneOne Life Science had partnered with Inovio Pharmaceuticals to jump into Ebola vaccine development (as the first Asian biotech to join the Ebola vaccines race). The collaboration to co-develop the DNA-based vaccines has further proven the innovative technologies and research capabilities of Asia’s vaccine manufacturers.

15. Peter Preiser, Chair, School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Late 2013, Peter’s research gave hope to a new Malaria vaccine. The scientific breakthrough his team discovered was a development of antibodies to interfere with the invasion process in the identified region of Malaria parasite. His research has been published on Nature Communications, and is noted by many global vaccine developers who are expecting to introduce an effective malaria vaccine. The patented discovery is also expected to give way to low-cost vaccines. Peter foresees that with the right partnership with the industry, the vaccine can reach the market in the next five years.

16. Nguyen Van Cuong

Dr Cuong is a Medical Doctor (MD, DTM&H, MCTM, PhD.). Today, he serves as Deputy Manager of National Expanded Programme on Immunization (NEPI), National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE), Vietnam. He worked as General Secretary NEPI between 2001 - 2006 and NEPI officer between 1994 - 2000, NIHE. He has also held positions as Secretary in National Control of Diarrhea Diseases (CDD) Programme, NIHE between 1981 - 1993.

The Vietnamese Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) began in 1981. Distribution, public awareness of vaccination, health facilities and budget limitation were the biggest barriers the country had faced in implementing the program. Nonetheless, Viet Nam has succeeded in producing domestic vaccines and introducing the new ones in EPI, in order to protect children health from infectious diseases more and more successfully.

Up to now, 8 vaccines have been introduced in EIP and vaccinated freely to children under one year old to protect from tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis B, polio, Measles and pneumonia/ meningitis caused by Hib. The continuous expansion of the new and advanced vaccines has proved the non-stop efforts of improving quality, and confirmed the attention of
Government in Children Healthcare.

17. Yoshinobu Okuno, Director, Research Foundation for Microbial Diseases of Osaka University (BIKEN), Japan

BIKEN, a Japanese research institute, is very proactive with promoting its domestic vaccine R&D and production capacities to the global vaccine market. BIKEN is favored globally for its top class research of next-generation vaccines, high quality production facilities and capacity. The multi-faceted Foundation conducts academic research on microbial diseases and its treatments, and contributes to the prevention of microbial diseases through its supply of vaccines. Domestic pharma like Takeda Vaccines have been working closely with BIKEN to leverage on each sides’ research / production capabilities and accelerate the development of vaccines.

18. Jerome Kim, Director General, International Vaccine Institute (IVI)

Jerome H. Kim has just begun his term as the Director General of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) early 2015. He served as the Principal Deputy and Chief, Laboratory of Molecular Virology and Pathogenesis at MHRP as well as the Project Manager for the HIV Vaccines and Advanced Concepts Evaluation Project Management Offices, U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity USA.

A seasoned HIV researcher being nominated as IVI’s new Director General further supports IVI’s mission: to discover, develop, and deliver safe, effective and affordable vaccines for developing nations.

19. Mahalaxmi Andheria Vice President, Intellectual Property Rights, Panacea Biotech, India

Many global vaccine manufacturers who seek to partner with an Indian company often find the unstable regulatory environment and potential patent infringement risks a huge detractor.

Dr. Mahalaxmi Andheria’s experience in Formulation R&D for 5 years has been the biggest contributor to her excellence in the area of IPR. During her association with Panacea Biotec since the last 7 years, she has been instrumental in setting up the IPR Department consisting of specialists in diverse fields including pharmaceutical formulations, biological, & synthetic chemistry area. She has established a seamless collaboration with Business Development and R&D expanding the horizon of her department beyond traditional IPR, broadening the outlook into portfolio planning, strategizing innovation and through creative participation in collaborations.

20. Steven Gao, General Manager, Xiamen INNOVAX Biotech, China

Steven Gao is the General Manager of Xiamen INNOVAX Biotech Co., Ltd.

He devoted himself to driving the alliance of Chinese vaccine manufacturers with vaccine manufacturers from other developing countries to enhance the international vaccine community. Before joining Innovax, Mr. Gao worked as a Director and a Vice President for sales and marketing in the biopharma industry. During his ten years, Mr. Gao held various key positions in quality control and sales and marketing, and was eventually promoted to President of the company. Today, he also serves as a member of the DCVMN.

INNOVAX’s Hepatitis E vaccine was granted Shanghai FDA’s approval in 2012, and was the very first Hep E vaccine approved, worldwide. The vaccine was a result of a 14 years partnership with a local academic institute, Xiamen University, and was supported by grants under China’s 863 Program (National High-tech R&D

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