PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative announces new leader

March 1, 2012 by PATH

Katy Lenard for PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, 301.280.5719,

David Kaslow

David C. Kaslow, MD, will be director of the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative. Photo: Merck.

Seattle, March 1, 2012—PATH announced today that David C. Kaslow, MD, will be joining the organization as director of the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), which drives the development of safe and effective vaccines for the fight against malaria. The malaria parasite still kills more than 500,000 children younger than the age of five every year, and half the world’s population remains at risk of contracting malaria.

Dr. Kaslow is a physician-scientist with more than 25 years of vaccine research and development experience. He has had a longstanding interest in the malaria parasite due to both its unique biology and its profound impact on global health. He has held key advisory positions with MVI and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation related to malaria vaccines, including—since 2008—serving as chair of MVI’s Vaccine Science Portfolio Advisory Council, the primary external advisory body for MVI.

“Dr. Kaslow brings a great passion for the fight against malaria and decades of experience to MVI,” said Jacqueline Sherris, PhD, vice president for Global Programs at PATH. “Under his leadership, MVI will continue its drive toward the goal of a broadly accessible vaccine to help prevent this deadly disease.”

From early-stage projects in the laboratory to those in the final phases of testing, MVI has the world’s most robust pipeline of vaccine projects for controlling and, ultimately, eradicating malaria. MVI partners with companies, governments, and organizations to advance and invest in only the most promising vaccine candidates.

Dr. Kaslow will be joining PATH from his position as vice president and head of Vaccines Project Leadership and Management at Merck Research Laboratories (MRL), where his responsibilities have included oversight of project leadership and management of Merck’s vaccine pipeline. In addition to his work at MRL, he worked for more than a decade for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a tenured scientist, and founded the Malaria Vaccine Development Unit at NIH. He also worked with a vaccine-focused biotechnology company, Vical, Inc., as chief scientific officer, directing scientific activities focused on developing investigational vaccines based upon a plasmid DNA platform.

“I’m excited to be joining the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative at such a pivotal moment,” said Dr. Kaslow. “MVI-supported clinical trials have shifted the debate from if to when a first vaccine could be available for children in Africa. At the same time, MVI is intensifying efforts to develop a second generation of vaccines that could realize the vision of a world free of malaria.”

Dr. Kaslow’s major contributions as a basic research scientist include the molecular cloning and characterization of several proteins involved in malaria parasite development in the mosquito, the first step toward development of one type of transmission-blocking vaccine. He also contributed to development of several malaria vaccine candidates, including preparing field sites. Outside the malaria field, he has contributed to the vaccine application of delivery platforms such as adenovirus vectors and plasmid DNA for use against a variety of infectious diseases, including HIV, cytomegalovirus, and influenza.

Dr. Kaslow has been awarded several professional honors, including the Society of Scholars Medal from Johns Hopkins University, the Chalmers Memorial Medal from the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine, and the US Public Health Service Outstanding Service Medal. He has published more than 150 scientific papers, authored more than 25 review articles or book chapters, and holds or co-holds more than a dozen patents. He received his MD from the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Davis.

Dr. Molly Joel Coye, chair of PATH’s Board of Directors and interim CEO, said of the appointment, “Dr. Kaslow is a wonderful addition to PATH’s leadership team. His deep experience in malaria and vaccine development, combined with his commitment to improving health in the world’s poorest countries, will undoubtedly prove great assets to MVI and PATH.”

About the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative

MVI is a global program established at PATH through an initial grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. MVI’s mission is to accelerate the development of malaria vaccines and ensure their availability and accessibility in the developing world. MVI’s vision is a world free from malaria. For more information, please visit