Dr. Sophie Biernaux serves as Head of the Malaria Vaccine Franchise for GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals where she leads the company’s research and development efforts on malaria vaccines. Dr. Biernaux currently directs all aspects of GSK’s work in advancing the RTS,S malaria vaccine candidate, including the management of the Phase IIIs trial across Africa in conjunction with the company’s Global R&D Department. She also ensures an effective partnership with PATH’s Malaria Vaccine Initiative, GSK’s partner in the study, and a transparent collaboration with European regulatory authorities, the World Health Organization and African governments to accelerate the eventual registration of an effective malaria vaccine.
Dr. Biernaux holds a PhD in cellular biology and immunology and after a couple of years of research at the International Institute of Cellular Pathology in Brussels, she joined SmithKline Beecham in 1986. During more than 10 years, she has led numerous projects and teams, gaining broad experience in all aspects of vaccine development.
Her management competencies have led her to take over the global lead of all pediatric vaccines at GSK, in particular the combined pediatric vaccines and the Neisseria meningitides vaccines. Her deep commitment for the poorest was translated in her heavy involvement in the development of vaccines for the meningitis belt and other vaccines for Africa.
The GlaxoSmithKline Malaria Vaccine Team was selected as the winner of the 2013 PhRMA Research & Hope Award for Biopharmaceutical Research for its longstanding commitment to researching and developing a vaccine against malaria. For almost 30 years, GSK’s Malaria Vaccine Team has devoted tireless effort towards the development of a malaria vaccine, targeted to children in Sub-Saharan Africa. This team has made significant progress helped by a series of public-private partnerships and strategic collaborations. As a result, they are now in the final stages of a large, multi-center Phase III clinical trial with their malaria vaccine candidate which is anticipated to reach completion in 2014. If successful, the World Health Organization has indicated that a policy recommendation for the vaccine candidate could come as early as 2015. GSK’s malaria vaccine candidate is the most advanced in the world and has the potential to benefit millions of children. If approved, it could be the first ever vaccine developed to help prevent malaria or any disease caused by a parasite.