Rational Vaccines Announces the Appointment of Kerstin Westritschnig, MD, as Chief Medical Officer (CMO)

 

Clinical immunology specialist brings more than 20 years' experience including global vaccine development
Former CMO Luis Rios-Nogales, MD, PhD, MBA, appointed as chair of Rational's Clinical Advisory Board

 
[15-September-2021]
 
 

WOBURN, Mass. and OXFORD, England, Sept. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Rational Vaccines, a company focused on revolutionizing the treatment and prevention of herpes to eradicate the disease, today announced the appointment of Kerstin Westritschnig, MD, as the Company's chief medical officer (CMO). Specialized in clinical immunology, Dr. Westritschnig brings extensive industry experience including deep expertise in vaccine research and development, infectious disease, immune-oncology, and biologics.

Agustin Fernandez III, chief executive officer, Rational Vaccines stated, "Kerstin has pioneered the development of numerous vaccines and has been supporting our clinical development for the last two years. She knows firsthand the potential our therapeutic and prophylactic vaccines hold. With Luis moving up to chair our Clinical Advisory Board and the accelerated path for RVX201 in the UK, Rational Vaccines is very fortunate and honored to have Kerstin assume this crucial leadership position. Kerstin's breadth of expertise will be essential in helping us fulfill our core mission of helping patients suffering from herpes and herpes-related diseases and eradicating the virus globally."

"My passion is helping advance new treatments to fight infectious diseases such as HSV and I'm thrilled to take the next step in my career with Rational Vaccines and to be a part of the growth of such a transformative company. Herpes remains an incurable infection with potential devastating consequences and tremendous unmet medical need. I look forward to helping bring new preventive and therapeutic options to patients who so desperately need them," said Dr. Westritschnig.

Dr. Westritschnig is specialized in clinical immunology and has more than 20 years' experience in R&D, including 15 years in vaccine development. Her areas of expertise are vaccines, infectious disease, immuno-oncology, and biologics. She has served as the medical lead for design and conduct of approximately 20 clinical vaccine studies from Phase I to IV in eight infectious disease indications. She also played an integral role in the successful new drug or marketing applications, as well as marketing approvals by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and/or European Medicines Agency (EMA) for IXIARO® (Japanese encephalitis vaccine) and Qarziba® (dinutuximab beta), a GD2-antibody for the treatment of neuroblastoma. She comes to Rational Vaccines from Apeiron Biologics AG where she was CMO. Previously, she served as senior vice president and member of the Executive Committee of Valneva SE (formerly Intercell AG) where she oversaw all medical and scientific aspects of clinical development. Widely published, Dr. Westritschnig is board certified in clinical immunology. She received her medical degree from the University of Vienna, Faculty of Medicine, Vienna, Austria.

Rational Vaccines also announced that it has named Dr. Luis Rios-Nogales as chairman of the Company's Clinical Advisory Board.

"Luis and I have had this succession plan for quite some time. He has been an amazing partner and mentor to me. His steadfast focus has been on advancing our lead candidates, which have shown great promise in humans, into randomized controlled trials. Now that we have been granted accelerated status in the UK, I can fully support his vision of forming and leading our Clinical Advisory Board," added Mr. Fernandez.

Prior to joining Rational Vaccines, Dr. Rios-Nogales served as head of global development operations at Takeda Vaccines. He has more than 30 years of experience, with increasing senior roles in clinical, medical affairs, global marketing, regional medical office, commercial, and general management at Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, and Astra Zeneca. Previously, Dr. Rios-Nogales was senior vice president of medical surgery at Boston Scientific Corporation. He has made a significant impact on the prevention and treatment of stroke, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure, and venous thromboembolic disease, through his active participation in large scale clinical projects. Notably, he was the global project lead for the landmark Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation (HOPE) study, under the leadership of Professor Salim Yusuf of McMaster University. Dr. Rios-Nogales earned his MD and PhD from Ludwigs-Maximilian University in Munich, Germany, and completed his residency at the Karl Eberhard University in Tubingen, Germany. He also holds an MBA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

About Rational Vaccines
Rational Vaccines is revolutionizing the treatment, prevention, and diagnosis of herpes and herpes-related diseases with its rationally engineered, live-attenuated viral immunotherapeutic and prophylactic vaccine candidates. Led by a team of world-renowned scientists, the Company is headquartered in Woburn, MA with locations in Miami, FL and Oxford, UK. For more information, please visit www.rationalvaccines.com.

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SOURCE Rational Vaccines

 

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