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White House announces Dr Moncef Slaoui, the former head of GSK’s vaccine division, as the co-leader of Operation Warp Speed

Published on: 18/05/20

President Donald Trump has announced that Dr Moncef Slaoui, the former head of GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccine division, will head up Operation Warp Speed.

Operation Warp Speed is a project to develop a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year, and has been described by President Trump as “unlike anything our country has seen since the Manhattan Project.”

During Slaoui’s time at GSK, he oversaw vaccine pipelines that produced Rotarix, used to prevent diarrhea in infants, and Cervarix, used to protect against a viral infection that can lead to cervical cancer. He left the company in 2017 and joined the board of Moderna. He is also on the Board of Directors at the Lonza Group, a company that Moderna has recently partnered with to scale up production of its own vaccine candidate.

President Trump described Slaoui as “one of the most respected men in the world in the production and, really, on the formulation of vaccines.”

Jim Greenwood, the President and CEO of BIO, also commented on the appointment and said: “Dr. Moncef Slaoui is an excellent choice to lead the President’s Operation Warp Speed initiative. Over his long career, he has demonstrated a strong commitment to public health, innovation and a public-private partnership that are vital to building the collaborations we need to bring new therapeutics, diagnostics and vaccines to the American people.

“Dr. Slaoui has always stood for scientific excellence, and the biotechnology industry stands ready to work with him as we begin this new effort in the race to eradicate the pandemic.”

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