100 Days Mission – “Mission impossible” without timely access to pathogens

16 October 2023 Berlin, DE

16 October 2023


8:00-9:00 CET




Hotel Berlin Central District, Stauffenbergstraße 26, 10785 Berlin
Elizabeth Blackwell Salon


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Global health security became one of the world’s top priorities, with reports noting that there is a 47-57% chance that a pandemic will occur again in the next 25 years. Decision-makers have realized that no effort should be spared to achieve better preparedness.

Various international negotiations are considering pandemic preparedness and access to pathogens is becoming one of the most controversial and politicized issues being discussed. Why is this topic so important? What are the implications for scientific innovation and health security? And why is it important to find a “decoupled” solution for access to pathogens?

Hosted by IFPMA, this breakfast session at the World Health Summit brings together key scientific actors across the world who are engaged in day-to-day R&D based on pathogens, such as in laboratories, databanks, and the pharmaceutical industry. The discussions will explain how pathogens are used in R&D and why being able to access them in real-time is necessary when responding to a future pandemic.


Hotel Berlin Central District, Stauffenbergstraße 26, 10785 Berlin
Elizabeth Blackwell Salon


Bart Van Vooren Partner, Covington

Bart Van Vooren has a broad life sciences practice supporting innovative pharmaceutical, food, medtech and biotech companies on EU regulatory, commercial and strategic policy assignments. He is widely recognized for his expertise on general EU law and procedure, as well as his extensive litigation experience before the EU Court of Justice in dozens of cases.

Over the past seven years, Bart has developed a niche practice on compliance with the Biodiversity Convention and the Nagoya Protocol, a set of rules to combat bio-piracy worldwide. He has accumulated unique, practical experience in dozens of jurisdictions around the world, and has handled everything from benefit-sharing negotiations, over compliance programs, to inspections by authorities.

Ruxandra Draghia-Akli Global Head, Global Public Health R&D at The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson

Ruxandra Draghia-Akli, leads Johnson & Johnson Global Public Health R&D, advancing discovery, development, and technology capabilities in collaboration with internal and external partners.

Ruxandra’ s deep knowledge of R&D is matched by an equally deep commitment to improving health for everyone, everywhere. Her passion for improving health equity has propelled novel approaches to entrenched, expanding, and emerging health threats. Under her leadership, GPH R&D adds value and generates new external innovation opportunities through our J&J Centers for Global Health Discovery and other external partnerships.

Ruxandra is a cross-sector leader with experience in industry, government, and academia. Formerly, she led Medical and Scientific Affairs for vaccines at Merck, and she worked for the European Commission, first as Director and later as Deputy Director General. At the Commission, Ruxandra oversaw research and innovation programmatic initiatives, led public-private partnerships, global programs and consortia, and designed novel research financial instruments, while contributing to the Commission’s strategy for improving public health. Ruxandra has a track record of unlocking innovation in biotechnology as both a founder and head of research at ADViSYS, Inc. and VGX Pharmaceuticals (now Inovio Pharmaceuticals) and helping shepherd cross-industry innovation as the Co-Chair of the Therapeutics Clinical Working Group of Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV).

Ruxandra holds a M.D. from Carol Davila University, Romania, and a Ph.D. in human genetics from the Romanian Academy of Medical Sciences. She undertook doctoral training at University Rene Descartes in Paris, France and a postdoctoral training at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, with a focus on rare diseases, molecular biology, gene therapy and novel vaccines. Ruxandra was honored to be recognized in 2022 as one of the top Women in Biopharma, engaged in drug discovery and development worldwide. Ruxandra has authored and co-authored more than 100 papers and holds over 100 patents.

Dr John McCauley Worldwide Influenza Centre, Francis Crick Institute

Dr John McCauley has recently retired from the Francis Crick Institute and was Director of the Worldwide Influenza Centre at the Institute in London from September 2009 to October 2022. The centre is a WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Infuenza and works with WHO National Influenza Centres across the globe and other WHO Collaborating Centres for Influenza. Together they guide recommendations on the composition for seasonal influenza vaccines and vaccine viruses prepared from zoonotic influenza viruses for pandemic preparedness purposes.

The Worldwide Influenza Centre (WIC) has been part of WHO’s Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (formerly the Global Influenza Surveillance Network) since its formalization in 1952. For the first six decades, WIC was based at the Medical Research Council National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), which become part of the Francis Crick Institute in 2015. Dr McCauley joined NIMR in 2006 and prior to that he was a group leader at the Institute for Animal Health in the UK, where he worked on influenza viruses of animals, bovine viral diarrhoea virus, and swine vesicular disease virus.

Anne von Gottberg Laboratory lead, Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Johannesburg, South Africa

Anne von Gottberg is the laboratory lead at the Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Johannesburg, South Africa; Associate Professor within the School of Pathology, Faculty of the Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg; and Honorary Professor, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town.

She leads a laboratory team responsible for reference diagnostics for respiratory and meningitis pathogens nationally and regionally. The laboratory is the regional reference laboratory for the World Health Organization (WHO) Vaccine-preventable Invasive Bacterial Diseases (VP-IBD) Coordinated Global Surveillance Network for the southern African region; a National Influenza Centre (NIC); and a global WHO RSV and regional SARS-CoV-2 reference laboratory.

She is a member of several committees and technical advisory groups for AFRO, Africa CDC, and WHO.

Her main interests include surveillance for meningitis and respiratory pathogens, assessing vaccine effectiveness where relevant. She has authored or co-authored more than 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals. In addition, she supervises a number of Masters and PhD students.

Dr von Gottberg obtained her MBBCh and PhD at the University of the Witwatersrand, and trained for her specialisation in clinical microbiology (FC Path[SA] MICRO) at the National Health Laboratory Service (former South African Institute for Medical Research) and at the University of the Witwatersrand.