Vir Biotechnology Appoints Jennifer Towne, Ph.D., as Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer

SAN FRANCISCO–()–Vir Biotechnology, Inc. (Nasdaq: VIR) today announced the appointment of Jennifer Towne, Ph.D., as Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, effective November 6, 2023. Dr. Towne will be responsible for leading the Company’s research function from basic research through scale-up manufacturing and the introduction of drug candidates to clinical trials. She will report to Vir’s Chief Executive Officer Marianne De Backer, M.Sc., Ph.D., MBA, and will join the Company’s Executive Management Team.

“Jennifer brings more than two decades of deep immunology R&D experience that includes a proven track record of successfully developing breakthrough medicines and bringing multiple investigational new drug applications for innovative therapeutics forward,” said Dr. De Backer. “Her scientific and external innovation leadership experience combined with her expertise in antibodies, biologics and leading-edge computational tools will be critical to this role as we expand our aperture to focus on viral-associated diseases and immune targeting as new areas of growth, addressing patient need in infectious disease and beyond.”

Dr. Towne joins Vir from The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, where she spent nine years holding immunology research leadership roles of increasing responsibility within Research and Development. In her most recent role as Senior Vice President, Immunology Discovery and External Innovation, she was responsible for advancing disease understanding and development of innovative therapeutics across autoimmune and inflammatory diseases as well as for bringing the most promising early innovation into Janssen to support the immunology portfolio. Prior to Janssen, Dr. Towne held a variety of scientific roles during her 13 years at Amgen. During the course of her career, Dr. Towne led the development of 16 drug candidates from preclinical research to IND and clinical development.

“I’m honored to join Vir, a company with significant accomplishments to-date, an exceptional research team and world-class science,” said Dr. Towne. “I look forward to leading the team and building upon the Company’s strong scientific foundation to drive future growth opportunities and patient impact.”

Dr. Towne earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry, and Microbiology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Cincinnati, Ohio. She also holds a bachelor’s in biochemistry and a bachelor’s in biology from the Department of Chemistry and Department of Biology at Whitworth University in Spokane, WA.

About Vir Biotechnology

Vir Biotechnology, Inc. is an immunology company focused on combining cutting-edge technologies to treat and prevent infectious diseases and other serious conditions. Vir has assembled two technology platforms that are designed to stimulate and enhance the immune system by exploiting critical observations of natural immune processes. Its current clinical development pipeline consists of product candidates targeting hepatitis B and hepatitis delta viruses and human immunodeficiency virus. Vir has several preclinical candidates in its pipeline, including those targeting influenza A and B, COVID-19, RSV/MPV and HPV. Vir routinely posts information that may be important to investors on its website.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “may,” “will,” “plan,” “potential,” “aim,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “promising” and similar expressions (as well as other words or expressions referencing future events, conditions or circumstances) are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on Vir’s expectations and assumptions as of the date of this press release. Forward-looking statements contained in this press release include, but are not limited to, statements regarding Vir’s strategy and plans; Vir’s future financial and operating results and its expectations related thereto; and potential of, and expectations for, Vir’s pipeline. Many important factors may cause differences between current expectations and actual results, including unexpected safety or efficacy data or results observed during clinical trials or in data readouts; the timing and outcome of Vir’s planned interactions with regulatory authorities; difficulties in obtaining regulatory approval; uncertainty as to whether the anticipated benefits of Vir’s collaborations with other companies can be achieved; difficulties in collaborating with other companies; challenges in accessing manufacturing capacity; clinical site activation rates or clinical trial enrollment rates that are lower than expected; successful development and/or commercialization of alternative product candidates by Vir’s competitors; changes in expected or existing competition; delays in or disruptions to Vir’s business or clinical trials due to the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical changes or other external factors; and unexpected litigation or other disputes. Drug development and commercialization involve a high degree of risk, and only a small number of research and development programs result in commercialization of a product. Results in early-stage clinical trials may not be indicative of full results or results from later-stage or larger-scale clinical trials and do not ensure regulatory approval. You should not place undue reliance on these statements, or the scientific data presented. Other factors that may cause actual results to differ from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements in this press release are discussed in Vir’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including the section titled “Risk Factors” contained therein. Except as required by law, Vir assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in expectations, even as new information becomes available.


Recent Articles