FARMINGDALE, N.Y., Oct. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Codagenix, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing prophylactic vaccines and oncolytic virus therapies, today announced that Jeffrey Fu, Ph.D., will join the company as its Chief Business Officer, effective immediately. Dr. Fu arrives at Codagenix after spending nearly 30 years at Merck & Co. where he led the company's North America pharmaceutical and global vaccine commercial business development activities.
As Chief Business Officer for Codagenix, Dr. Fu will lead internal and external development initiatives involving the company's diverse vaccine portfolio, including CDX-005, the company's intranasal, live-attenuated vaccine candidate for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. A Phase 1 clinical trial of CDX-005 is expected to begin before year-end 2020.
"Adding an executive of Jeffrey's caliber and experience really speaks volumes about the potential of Codagenix's highly differentiated pipeline of vaccines and oncolytic therapies," said J. Robert Coleman, Ph.D., CEO of Codagenix. "Jeff joins Codagenix at an exciting time for the company as we prepare to initiate a Phase 1 trial for our SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate and complete a separate Phase 1 vaccine trial in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Both programs, as well as our entire development pipeline, were developed from our proprietary codon deoptimization technology platform, which recodes the genomes of viruses to produce live-attenuated vaccines. We believe this approach offers numerous potential advantages over other vaccine development techniques, which, with Jeff's vision and experience, we look forward to maximizing."
During his nearly 30 years at Merck, Dr. Fu held positions of increasing responsibility, most recently serving as Corporate Finance Executive Director, Business Development and as a member of Merck's U.S. Market and Global Vaccines leadership teams. In this capacity, Dr. Fu led business development strategy, negotiations and transactions across Merck's global vaccines and North American pharmaceuticals. Prior to this, Dr. Fu held multiple senior level positions in Merck's business development, marketing and sales, and research and development organizations. Highlights from Dr. Fu's career include leading the development of Merck's vaccine strategy in China, including the approval of the Gardasil® HPV vaccine franchise, participating in the commercial launch of the RotaTeq® vaccine against rotavirus infections, and managing transactions and relationships with multi-national vaccine companies and emerging market manufacturers.
Dr. Fu commented: "During my nearly 30-year career at Merck, I was at the forefront of developing and bringing to market numerous groundbreaking vaccine candidates and technology advancements. In my view, Codagenix's codon deoptimization platform introduces a disruptive breakthrough in live-attenuated vaccine development that offers the potential to rationally elicit robust cellular and antibody responses, balanced with general tolerability and safety. This opportunity is highlighted by Codagenix's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, which unlike other coronavirus vaccine candidates, is designed to produce immunity against all SARS-CoV-2 proteins in a single, intranasally-delivered dose. I welcome the opportunity to work with Robert and the entire Codagenix team to unlock the potential of its entire pipeline of vaccines and oncolytic therapies."
Dr. Fu holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering/Biochemistry from Cornell University, an MBA with University honors from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.S. with honors in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
About Codagenix, Inc.
Codagenix is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing prophylactic vaccines and oncolytic virus therapies. The company's breakthrough codon deoptimization software platform utilizes a computer algorithm to recode the genomes of viruses and construct live-attenuated vaccines to prevent viral infections or treat solid tumors. Codagenix has demonstrated its live-attenuated viruses stimulate a robust T cell and antibody immune response but are safe and non-pathogenic. Codagenix possesses a deep pipeline of clinical and pre-clinical programs including vaccine candidates for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 (CDX-005); respiratory syncytial virus (CodaVax™-RSV) in Phase I testing; influenza (CodaVax™-H1N1); dengue virus; and triple negative breast cancer (using a rationally designed virus). Codagenix was spun out of the laboratory of National Academy of Science Member Eckard Wimmer, Ph.D., at Stony Brook University, and the company's programs are supported by Adjuvant Capital, TopSpin Partners, Euclidean Capital, and government agencies including the USDA, NIH/NIAID and the Department of Defense.