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Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation Announces Appointment of Accomplished Pharmaceutical Executive as President and CEO

James E. Connolly Committed to Accelerating the Development of New Vaccines to Prevent Tuberculosis

ROCKVILLE, Md., July 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation today announced that James E. Connolly has been named President and Chief Executive Officer.  He joins Aeras after a career in the pharmaceutical industry, most recently as Executive Vice President and General Manager of Wyeth Vaccines.  He will take over as Aeras President and CEO on August 9, 2010.

"As Aeras continues its momentum to develop new tuberculosis vaccines for all who need them, we are delighted that Jim Connolly will lead the organization through its next phase," said R. Gordon Douglas, Jr., MD, the Executive Chairman of the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation.  "Jim has exactly the right mix of leadership and passion for Aeras' important, lifesaving mission.  His management and financial expertise and his vaccine experience will be tremendous assets to Aeras as it advances its portfolio of TB vaccine candidates through late-stage trials and ultimately licensure and distribution."  Dr. Douglas added that Jim Connolly's background, which includes efforts to expand access to vaccines in developing countries, will be valuable in working with Aeras' broad array of partners worldwide.  

"Leading Aeras provides an exciting opportunity to apply all that I have learned during more than twenty years in the pharmaceutical industry to one of the world's most pressing challenges: freeing the world of tuberculosis, which continues to kill almost two million people each year," said Jim Connolly.  "I look forward to working with the many dedicated and gifted vaccine experts at Aeras and its numerous research and development partners around the world."

At Aeras, a non-profit product development partnership, Jim Connolly will lead a team of over 140 employees working to discover, develop and deliver safer, more effective and affordable new vaccines to prevent and ultimately eliminate tuberculosis.  Four vaccine candidates in Aeras' portfolio are currently in clinical trials in Africa, Europe and the United States, including two candidates in Phase IIb trials.  Aeras receives funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the governments of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, the Research Council of Norway, the State of Maryland, and other donors.

Jim Connolly joins Aeras after more than two decades of pharmaceutical industry experience.  As Executive Vice President and General Manager of Wyeth Vaccines from 2004 to 2009, he played a leading role in expanding access to the breakthrough pneumococcal vaccine Prevnar to more than 100 countries and 35 national immunization programs, including numerous emerging and developing countries, where pneumococcal disease is a major cause of child mortality.  He worked in cooperation with the GAVI Alliance and key stakeholders on the development and launch of the pilot Advance Market Commitment for pneumococcal vaccines.  He was closely involved in the launch of Prevnar in Rwanda and The Gambia, the first developing countries to establish national immunization campaigns against pneumococcal disease.  He also served on an advisory committee for the GAVI Alliance, a public-private partnership dedicated to improving world health by ensuring access to immunization in developing nations while supporting development of new vaccines.

Dr. Julian Lob-Levyt, the CEO of the GAVI Alliance, said, "I am delighted to learn that Jim Connolly has been appointed as President and CEO of the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation. Aeras is fortunate to have him as its new leader. I am confident he will apply his effective and creative leadership to accelerate efforts to develop vaccines against TB, a devastating disease of poverty."

In the course of his career at Wyeth, Jim Connolly held a number of increasingly senior management, commercial and finance positions, including President and Managing Director of Wyeth Canada; Area Business Director for California and Nevada; Business Director of Wyeth's disease management joint venture with Merck-Medco; and Director of Finance for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.  He is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, with a degree in Business Administration.

About Aeras

The Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation ( is a non-profit research organization developing new tuberculosis vaccines and ensuring that they are distributed to all who need them around the world. Aeras is funded primarily by private foundations and government aid agencies. Aeras is based in Rockville, Maryland, where it operates a state-of-the-art manufacturing and laboratory facility, and Cape Town, South Africa.

SOURCE Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation
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