SEATTLE, Feb. 26, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- After 25 years of success in infectious disease research and development, IDRI is poised to continue to make rapid and significant advances in the battle against the world's deadliest infectious diseases, while expanding its mission to use technologies it has pioneered to tackle cancer in an cost-effective way in both the developed and developing world.
With that expanded mission comes a change in leadership. Steve Reed, PhD, who founded IDRI in 1993 and has held the title of Founder, President & CEO, will continue at IDRI as a Distinguished Investigator. Corey Casper, MD, IDRI's Chief Scientific Officer/Chief Medical Officer, will now serve as interim President and CEO for IDRI.
Reed founded IDRI with a bold and extraordinary vision – to create a "nonprofit global health biotech" that combines the high quality science of a research organization with the product development and production capabilities of a biotechnology company. IDRI's unique model exists in few other places around the world.
Reed, who has launched a number of successful for-profit companies, will use his entrepreneurial expertise to lead two new spin-out companies, OnCo, which will focus on cancer immunotherapies in the developed world, and HDT Bio, which is developing immunotherapeutic and vaccine products. These companies will creatively partner with IDRI to advance its global health solutions and provide opportunities for novel funding mechanisms.
"Starting new for-profit companies is ideally suited to Steve's entrepreneurial nature and has potential benefit to IDRI through small business grants, licensing agreements, sponsored research agreements and even manufacturing services," said Frank Prendergast, MD, PhD, chair of the IDRI Board of Directors. "This shift in IDRI leadership came from conversations Steve initiated with the Board regarding new strategic directions, as well as avenues to diversify funding. Steve's success as an entrepreneur is being utilized, along with his unique skills in relationship building, while Corey's skills as a physician-scientist and public health expert in infectious disease and oncology will continue to advance IDRI solutions through the clinical pipeline, while providing the foundation for IDRI's oncology initiative."
Reed added, "IDRI has developed broad-based technologies with tremendous potential for global health. Many of these technologies are now poised for clinical development and, to move such development forward rapidly, private investment is required. Our new start-ups will collaborate with IDRI to create a new public-private partnership model to advance state of the art technologies to create investor value and, at the same time, guarantee global access."
In the role of interim President and CEO, Casper will work with IDRI's Board of Directors on a series of short-term initiatives, while guiding IDRI's scientific efforts and leading day-to-day operations of the organization. In the coming months, IDRI's Board will make a determination about permanent leadership.
Casper joined IDRI in 2017 from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; he has more than 20 years of experience in designing, growing and sustaining internationally-recognized programs in infection-related cancers, HIV, infection control and global oncology.
"Over our first 25 years, our science has matured and yielded technology that will enable the next generation of vaccines, protection from the next pandemics, therapeutics for neglected diseases, and fresh approaches to reducing the burden of cancer around the globe," said Casper. "We now look to novel approaches to funding global health solutions by diversifying our financial support. A new philanthropic initiative will help to engage donors in the most exciting research that will yield global health impact in their lifetimes. And we will seek to develop a sustainable revenue stream for IDRI through careful business alliances and commercial development that critically preserve access to our technology for those in the poorest of regions."
IDRI has gained a reputation as being one of the few institutions worldwide that has the capacity to take an idea for a global health solution from the very early stages of basic research all the way through commercialization with key partners. Some of IDRI's most noteworthy achievements to date include contributions to adjuvant science and formulations that have empowered landmark vaccines; technology transfer that has empowered the manufacture of inexpensive vaccines and biologics in regions where they are most needed; advancement of the next generation of vaccines, including a groundbreaking RNA platform and the ability to "freeze dry" a vaccine to bypass the cold chain; a drug discovery program that typically only exists in large pharmaceutical companies; and the licensure of IDRI technology to a for-profit company that is showing extraordinary promise in treating some of the most difficult cases of lymphoma.
About IDRI: As a nonprofit global health organization, IDRI (Infectious Disease Research Institute) takes a comprehensive approach to combat infectious diseases, combining the high-quality science of a research organization with the product development capabilities of a biotech company to create new diagnostics, drugs and vaccines. IDRI combines passion for improving human health with the understanding that it is not just what our scientists know about disease, but what we do to change its course that will have the greatest impact. Founded in 1993, IDRI has 125 employees headquartered in Seattle with more than 100 partners/collaborators around the world. For more information, visit www.idri.org.
SOURCE Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI)