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Former Merck vaccine research director joins Seattle-based nonprofit
Seattle, January 12, 2006—The international nonprofit organization PATH announced today that John Boslego, MD, will become director of its vaccine development program on February 1, 2006. Dr. Boslego’s responsibilities will include accelerating development of pediatric pneumococcal vaccines, with a focus on vaccinology, vaccine development, and clinical trials. Dr. Boslego leaves his post as executive director and department head for Biologics, Clinical Research at Merck & Co, Inc.
Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumococcus, causes pneumonia and infections of the brain and blood. The World Health Organization estimates that nearly two million people die of infectious with this organism each year. Most who die live in developing countries, and more than half are children younger than two years. PATH will be working under Dr. Boslego’s leadership to expand the range of solutions to protect against this killer disease.
Seattle-based PATH has carried out programs in children’s health, infectious diseases, reproductive and maternal health, and vaccines and immunization in more than 100 countries worldwide. PATH is currently working on accelerating the development and introduction of vaccines to protect against rotavirus, human papillomavirus, malaria, Japanese encephalitis, and meningitis, among others.
Dr. Boslego will expand PATH’s public health work to include pneumococcal vaccine development through identification of and support for clinical trials of a pneumococcal protein vaccine. He brings extensive experience in vaccine development; his portfolio at Merck included clinical development of a Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate vaccine, a recombinant hepatitis B vaccine, an influenza DNA vaccine, a pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, various pediatric combination vaccines, a rotavirus vaccine, and a human papillomavirus vaccine.
Dr. Boslego’s career spans 30 years of service to the US government and private industry. After graduating from West Point, he received his medical training at George Washington University. For nearly two decades, he worked in vaccine research, both in the laboratory and in clinical trials, at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. After completion of his medical residency and infectious diseases fellowship at Walter Reed in 1980, he worked on infectious disease research programs in various areas, with a focus on human diseases caused by Neisseria species. Dr. Boslego conducted large-scale clinical trials of a vaccine against Neisseria gonorrhoeae in Korea and a vaccine against Neisseria meningitidis group B in Chile. He later moved to Thailand to direct the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences for three years, addressing a broad spectrum of tropical infectious diseases, including malaria, dengue, rickettsial diseases, bacterial diarrheas, and HIV. His work directing a hepatitis A vaccine trial during this period led to registration of the hepatitis A vaccine produced by SmithKlineBeecham. After his return to the United States, Dr. Boslego became deputy director for Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.
Dr. Boslego’s positions at Merck include serving as senior director of Vaccine Infectious Diseases, Clinical Research before becoming executive director of Biologics, Clinical Research. Building on his experience in vaccine development and his contributions to international health initiatives, Dr. Boslego is expected to contribute significantly to the global pneumococcal agenda in his new position.
PATH’s mission is to improve the health of people around the world by advancing technologies, strengthening systems, and encouraging healthy behaviors. The organization has worked for 27 years collaborating with diverse public- and private-sector partners to develop and provide vaccines and other appropriate health technologies and strategies to the developing world.
PATH is an international, nonprofit organization that creates sustainable, culturally relevant solutions that enable communities worldwide to break longstanding cycles of poor health. By collaborating with diverse public- and private-sector partners, PATH helps provide appropriate health technologies and vital strategies that change the way people think and act.