C. Richter (Rick) King, PhD has been named director of research and development at the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI). MVI drives the development of safe and effective vaccines to combat malaria. Malaria kills more than 600,000 people worldwide every year, and half the world's population remains at risk of contracting the disease.
Dr. King is an accomplished scientist with more than 25 years of experience in the public and private sectors in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Most recently he served as vice president of vaccine design for the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). During his five years within the organization's Vaccine Design & Development Laboratory, he led global efforts to design and prioritize novel AIDS vaccine strategies. Before joining IAVI, Dr. King served as senior vice president of research at GenVec, Inc., where he led the company's efforts to identify, select, and advance products for cancer and for ocular and infectious diseases. During his time at GenVec, Dr. King partnered with MVI to advance multicomponent malaria vaccine approaches.
At MVI, Dr. King will lead work around transmission-blocking vaccines, a priority area of product development. He will also guide MVI's portfolio of evaluation technology projects, which aim to refine or develop ways to assess vaccine efficacy prior to large-scale field trials.
"We are tremendously fortunate to have Dr. King join MVI," said Ashley J. Birkett, PhD, director of MVI. "This is a pivotal time for us, as we accelerate efforts to develop a future generation of vaccines that will block the transmission of the malaria parasite between people and mosquitoes. His appointment rounds out the leadership of our R&D efforts at MVI and I couldn't be happier."
Dr. King has received many peer-reviewed grants and is listed as an inventor on 12 issued patents. He received a PhD in biochemistry from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor of science degree from the University of St. Andrews.
"Advancing new treatments and preventions have been a lifelong passion and I am excited to be on the cutting edge of the malaria vaccine development field," said Dr. King. "I can't wait to get started."