Developing the next big vaccine technologies

We are in a new era of possibilities with vaccines. The rapid development of safe and efficacious mRNA vaccines was a triumph for biopharma that has propelled the entire vaccine field — once relegated to the backwaters of biotech R&D — straight into a first-class concern for investors and dealmakers. So, what's next? Join Endpoints News publisher Arsalan Arif as he convenes some of the field's top experts to discuss the techniques and technologies they are working on, including:

  • Self-amplifying RNA — could this be a more potent version of mRNA?
  • Virus-like particles — can computer-designed nanoparticles that mimic a virus become a viable biopharma product?
  • "Pan-viral vaccines" — can mRNA be used to develop vaccines that target numerous strains of a virus family, like coronaviruses and influenza, and act as a first-line defense against future pandemics?
  • Scaling up mRNA and new modalities — what are the challenges of developing, manufacturing and scaling up these new modalities? How can we meet these challenges?
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Emily Schirmer

Emily Schirmer

Senior Director, Process Development, Catalent Biologics

Dr. Schirmer joined Catalent in 2015 and is responsible for Upstream and Downstream Process Development, Analytical Development, Technical Writing, and Manufacturing Sciences and Technology. The process development team supports early phase, fast to patient programs by developing robust processes and supporting the rapid and effective transfer of programs into GMP operations. Dr. Schirmer's team also supports late phase programs through process characterization and process validation. Before joining Catalent, Dr. Schirmer worked at Illumina, where she created capabilities to scale-up downstream processes. Prior to this, she worked at startup companies in Cambridge, MA, developing and transferring processes for the clinical manufacture of antibodies and recombinant proteins.

Neil King

Neil King

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, University of Washington

Dr. King is an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Institute for Protein Design at the University of Washington and a co-founder of Icosavax, Inc. His group uses computational protein design to create new protein-based technologies for applications in targeted delivery and structure-based vaccine design. Three nanoparticle vaccines from Dr. King's group (for SARS-CoV-2, influenza, and RSV) have recently entered clinical trials.

Andrew Geall

Andrew Geall

Chief Development Officer, Replicate Bioscience

Dr. Andrew Geall is the Chief Development Officer at Replicate Bioscience and cofounder of the company. Dr. Geall has over 20 years of professional experience in the development of drug delivery systems and is a pioneer in the fields of mRNA vaccines and nucleic acid delivery. He is an inventor on 41 patent families, with 505 applications and 203 issued patents in multiple jurisdictions.

Prior to joining Replicate, Dr. Geall was Chief Scientific Officer at Precision NanoSystems Inc. (PNI). Here, he was focused on the creation of transformative nanoparticle medicines using their proprietary LNP delivery systems and microfluidic formulation platform. He has also held positions as Vice President of Formulations, Analytics and Chemistry at Avidity Biosciences, where he pioneered the development of their antibody-oligonucleotide conjugate delivery platform. As a member of the Executive Management, he helped raise over $100 million in venture capital and take the company public in June 2020 with an initial public stock offering of $259 million.

Prior to Avidity, he led mRNA vaccines in the Vaccine division of Novartis. Over 7 years, he created a global team and was Principal Investigator on a Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) contract to develop self-amplifying mRNA vaccines. Dr. Geall also had a two-year tenure at Novartis Pharmaceuticals AG, where he was the Global siRNA Formulation Team Leader, responsible for the design and implementation of the siRNA delivery strategy.

Dr. Geall received his pharmacy degree from the University of Bath in the UK and went on to do his pre-registration training, as a hospital Pharmacist, in the aseptic dispensing unit at St Helens and Knowsley Trust Hospitals. He then obtained his PhD at University of Bath in non-viral gene delivery.

Arsalan Arif

arsalan arif

Founder & Publisher, Endpoints News

Arsalan Arif is a news media entrepreneur who set out in 2015 to build his vision of an independent biotech news company at Endpoints News.