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Vaccibody initiates research in infectious diseases

Agnete B Fredriksen

Vaccibody expands the utilization of its technology platform into the area of infectious diseases in order to explore opportunities in this field of significant unmet medical needs.

Dr. Gunnstein Norheim, former Director of Vaccine Science at Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), is appointed to lay out the strategy and lead Vaccibody’s research initiative within infectious diseases.

“I am excited to bring Gunnstein Norheim on board as Director Infectious Diseases. With the positive clinical data from VB10.16 and VB10.NEO, we are now ready to explore the broader potential of the platform. His deep knowledge and comprehensive experience will help Vaccibody to efficiently explore and prioritize its opportunities in the infectious disease area. This area continues to be tremendously relevant, in particular in the light of the current COVID-19 pandemic. We believe that Vaccibody’s technology and experience position us 2 well to pursue development projects within infectious diseases. With Gunnstein on board, we are eager to speed up our efforts in this area,” says President & CSO Agnete B. Fredriksen.

A large and growing commercial market

Vaccibody has, based on its technology platform, already laid the groundwork by generating early pre-clinical proof-of-concept within a range of infectious disease targets. In addition, the rapid, specific and strong immune responses and early clinical efficacy shown within cancer has further given valuable insight into its versatility and excellent immune response and safety profile.

The infectious disease area is a large and growing commercial market with a significant unmet medical need across many indications. The broad potential of the Vaccibody platform combined with the promising data generated so far, and the attractive opportunity space within infectious diseases, has led the company to decide to further explore the potential of this new strategic pillar, it states.

Pharmacist of the year

Dr. Gunnstein Norheim will lead Vaccibody’s new initiative within infectious diseases and develop the relevant research and development strategy.

“Vaccibody has a strong and versatile immunotherapy platform and a great R&D team. I am excited to join Vaccibody and look very much forward to applying my experience as well as my network to explore how the potential of the Vaccibody platform may be maximized to successfully address the public health burden of infectious diseases,” he says.

Gunnstein Norheim holds a Ph.D. and a Master’s Degree (Cand. Pharm.) from the University of Oslo, Norway. He has extensive experience in coordinating vaccine science- and early development programs. Gunnstein has worked as a researcher in the Oxford Vaccine Group, served as a consultant to the WHO and been engaged in molecular epidemiology studies for tuberculosis, and preclinical and clinical vaccine development for meningococcal disease and Ebola with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

In 2017, he was awarded the “Pharmacist of the year” award by the Norwegian Association of Pharmacists (NFF) for his efforts in the Phase III “Ebola ça suffit” ring vaccination trial in West Africa. He was a member of the Study Steering Group for the Ebola ring vaccination trial, and a part of the international WHO-led core team preparing the study protocol, ethical and regulatory submissions, planning logistical implementation and planning of community engagement. During Gunnstein Norheim’s time at the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), he was instrumental in establishing and developing the organization from its beginning in 2016 and to a permanent international organization. He was responsible for the scientific coordination with the CEPI Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) which led to CEPI’s investment focus on vaccine development for WHO’s priority pathogens. Gunnstein Norheim was responsible for and for shaping CEPI’s concept on partnering with vaccine technology platform providers to test and establish capacities for responding to Disease X epidemics. As CEPI’s Director of Vaccine Science, he built up a team specializing in Strategic Science, Epidemiology and Preclinical Immunology which initiated CEPI’s investment portfolio within epidemiology, diagnostics, biological standardization and animal models; areas critical to facilitate product development, regulatory approval and future access.

Gunnstein Norheim started in his new role at Vaccibody on April 1st, 2020.

Photo of Agnete B Fredriksen, President and CSO: Vaccibody