Ashley Birkett, PhD, leads PATH’s Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), which drives the development of safe and effective vaccines for the fight against malaria. MVI works to identify potentially promising malaria vaccine candidates, establish product development partnerships to move candidates through the development process, and increase access to a successful malaria vaccine in the countries that need it most. He also leads the malaria disease area of PATH’s Center for Vaccine Innovation and Access.
Before being named director, Dr. Birkett served as MVI’s deputy director, serving simultaneously as director of research and development (R&D)—the latter a position he held since joining PATH in 2008. As director of R&D, he led MVI’s efforts to support the development of transmission-blocking vaccines. He also guided MVI’s portfolio of evaluation technology projects, which are developing and refining ways to assess vaccine efficacy prior to large-scale field trials, and provided technical support across the range of MVI’s vaccine development programs, including the RTS,S program.
Dr. Birkett has more than 20 years of vaccine development experience, primarily with biotechnology companies, where he successfully advanced novel influenza and malaria vaccine candidates from research through first-in-human clinical studies. Prior to joining MVI, he was senior director of Preclinical Research at Acambis (now Sanofi Pasteur Biologics Co.), where he had responsibility for the company’s global preclinical vaccine research portfolio, with a special focus on influenza and adjuvant technology identification. Prior to Acambis, he played a similar role at Apovia Inc., first as senior director of Research and subsequently as vice president of Preclinical Development.
Dr. Birkett earned a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from Virginia Commonwealth University; he has a BSc (Honors) in Applied Biological Sciences from the University of the West of England in the United Kingdom.