23 April 2021

Biotech, developing and developed countries vaccine manufacturers COVID-19 press briefing

Hosted By IFPMA

For any questions, please contact:

Challenges and solutions to scaling up COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing capacity

When: Friday, 23 April 2021, 13:00 PM – 14:15 PM CET – Geneva / 07:00 AM –08:15 AM EDT – New York

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network (DCVMN) and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) are all COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers partners of COVAX.  The media briefing, hosted by IFPMA, will take stock of the contribution and difficulties of scaling up COVID-19 vaccines production, and the short and longer term challenges that need to be addressed to achieve equitable access to vaccines against COVID-19 pandemic.


Roger Connor President, Global Vaccines, GlaxoSmithKline & Vaccines CEO representative on COVAX

Since 2018, Roger Connor has been leading GSK’s Vaccine business, comprising more than 16,000 employees worldwide working to deliver around 2 million doses every day to help protect people throughout their lives all around the globe.

The business has a portfolio of more than 30 vaccines, a pipeline of 18 candidate vaccines in development and a turnover of £7.2 billion in 2019. Roger is also responsible for GSK’s global procurement organisation.

Roger chairs the Vaccines CEO group within the global trade body IFPMA and is the industry representative to the Gavi Board. He also represents the industry in the COVAX Facility, which is the organisation tasked with delivering global access for COVID-19 vaccines.

Roger was previously President of Global Manufacturing & Supply for the pharmaceuticals and consumer healthcare businesses. Prior to this, he was Vice President, Office of the CEO and Corporate Strategy. In this role, he served as secretary to the CET, as well as having responsibility for developing the GSK long-range financial forecast, related analyses and benchmarking, and integrating the key transformation initiatives.

Roger joined GSK in 1998 from AstraZeneca and has worked in a number of roles within finance and manufacturing.

He holds a Degree in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering from Queen’s University Belfast and a Masters in Manufacturing Leadership from Cambridge University. He is also a qualified Chartered Accountant, having trained with PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Sai Prasad Executive Director, Quality Operations, Bharat Biotech, President, Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers’ Network (DCVMN)

Sai Prasad is the Executive Director of Quality Operations at Bharat Biotech. In his current role, he oversees all aspects of quality management including quality assurance, control, and management systems and is responsible for product development and commercialisation of vaccines and biologics.

He has 25 years of experience in management, biotechnology, good manufacturing practice, operations and quality management.

Previously, Mr Prasad was the Director of Molecular Otolaryngology Research Laboratories at the University of Iowa (USA). In his previous role, as the Vice President for Business Development and Corporate Strategy at Bharat Biotech International Ltd, he handled operational and strategic activities ranging from product development, innovation to corporate expansion.

He holds a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin (USA) and an MBA in Finance and Marketing from the University of Iowa (USA). He has written more than a dozen publications related to human genetics, cell biology, molecular biology and vaccines.

Rajinder Suri Chief Executive Officer, Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers’ Network (DCVMN)

Rajinder Kumar Suri joined Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers’ Network, DCVMN as CEO w.e.f. Jan 15th, 2021.Before this he was donning the hat of Chief Executive-Biologicals, Panacea Biotec Ltd. a leading Indian Biotech Company.

Rajinder has over 40 years of rich experience in Pharmaceuticals & Biological products in India & International markets out of which over 24 years’ experience at the top management level including four years on the Board of Directors of the Indian subsidiary of Sanofi Pasteur.

The remaining 19 years being with Pharma out of which 16 years with Lupin, one of top 10 Indian Pharma Companies.

Mr Suri brings with him over 3 years of consulting experience as CEO & Senior Advisor, Arete Business Advisors.

Rajinder has been Member-Policy & Planning Committee (PPC), an advisory body to GAVI Board, representing DCVMN from October 2013 till June 2017, as also a Member of GAVI Steering Committee for Supply & Procurement Strategy. He has played a lead role in negotiations & interactions with Ministry of Health, Government of India, UN agencies and other Global organizations like WHO, UNICEF, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Clinton Health Access Initiative & several others.

Rajinder is a former Member Executive Committee & Vice-President, DCVMN for a period of two years from Oct.2014-Oct.2016.

Thomas Cueni Director General, IFPMA

As Director General, Thomas leads IFPMA’s mission to encourage the development of sustainable solutions that enable innovation and improve global health.

Over the past two decades, Thomas has been instrumental in developing collaborative solutions for some of the greatest global health challenges. These include HIV/AIDS and antimicrobial resistance, as well as the industry’s response to pandemics.

He is frequently called upon to comment on industry’s contribution to global health in the world media and at international fora.

Since he joined IFPMA, Thomas has pioneered collaborative solutions to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR), chairing the AMR Industry Alliance and launching the AMR Action Fund. This is a USD 1 billion venture begun in July 2020 to fund the development of between two and four new antibiotics by 2030.

Thomas represents the innovative pharmaceutical industry in the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator initiative, set up in April 2019. In 2022, together with industry CEOs and building on the lessons learned from COVID-19, he led the development of the Berlin Declaration. This is a vision for equitable access in global pandemic response that invites multilateral organizations as well as the G7 and G20 to agree to a social contract for future health security.

He is Chair of the Business at OECD Health Committee and serves as Industry Co-Chair of the APEC Biopharmaceutical Working Group on Ethics.

Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath President & CEO, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)

Michelle McMurry-Heath assumed the leadership of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) as President and CEO on June 1, 2020. A medical doctor and molecular immunologist by training, Dr. McMurry-Heath becomes just the third chief executive to steward the world’s largest biotechnology advocacy group since BIO’s founding in 1993.

The common thread in McMurry-Heath’s work across academia, government and industry has been her focus on broadening access to scientific progress so more patients from diverse backgrounds can benefit from cutting-edge innovation. Driven by her own past family experiences navigating clinical trials and funding uncertainties within the rare disease community, McMurry-Heath calls “the distribution of scientific progress the social justice issue of our age.”

She comes to BIO from Johnson & Johnson where she served as Global Head of Evidence Generation for Medical Device Companies and then Vice President of Global External Innovation and Global Leader for Regulatory Sciences. She was also instrumental in bringing J&J’s incubator, JLabs, to Washington, DC. She led a global team of 900 with responsibilities in 150 countries around the globe.

Prior to her time at J&J, Dr. McMurry-Heath was also a key science policy leader in government. The Obama-Biden transition team tapped her to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the National Science Foundation’s policies, programs and personnel. President Obama then named her associate science director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health under Commissioner Peggy Hamburg.

In that role, she championed clinical trial evolution, the use of real-world evidence in product evaluation, and an embrace of the patient’s voice in health research so new medical products deliver outcomes that matter to them.

McMurry-Heath was the founding director of the Aspen Institute’s Health, Biomedical Science, and Society Policy Program, where she promoted personalized medicine and bolstered international preparation for pandemic disease threats.

She received her early training in science policy from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and later served as Senator Joe Lieberman’s top legislative aide for science and health. In that role, she drafted legislation to protect the country from biological attacks.

McMurry-Heath received her MD/PhD from Duke’s Medical Scientist Training Program, becoming the first African-American to graduate from the prestigious program. She spent 12 years working at the research bench before taking policy and leadership roles in government and industry.

Stéphane Bancel Chief Executive Officer, Moderna

Stéphane Bancel has served as Moderna’s Chief Executive Officer since October 2011 and as a member of Moderna’s board of directors since March 2011.

Before joining the Company, Mr. Bancel served for five years as Chief Executive Officer of the French diagnostics company bioMérieux SA. From July 2000 to March 2006, he served in various roles at Eli Lilly and Company, including as Managing Director, Belgium and as Executive Director, Global Manufacturing Strategy and Supply Chain.

Prior to Lilly, Mr. Bancel served as Asia-Pacific Sales and Marketing Director for bioMérieux.
Mr. Bancel currently serves on the board of directors of Qiagen N.V. and Indigo.

He is currently a Venture Partner at Flagship Pioneering and a trustee of the Museum of Science in Boston. Mr. Bancel holds a Master of Engineering degree from École Centrale Paris (ECP), a Master of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota, and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.