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IDRI Announces Evolution of Leadership Roles; New Focus on Oncology

By February 28, 2019No Comments

After 25 years of success in infectious disease research and development, IDRI is poised to continue to make rapid and significant advances in the battle against the world’s deadliest infectious diseases, while expanding its mission to use technologies it has pioneered to tackle cancer in an cost-effective way in both the developed and developing world.

With that expanded mission comes a change in leadership. Steve Reed, PhD, who founded IDRI in 1993 and has held the title of Founder, President & CEO, will continue at IDRI as a Distinguished Investigator. Corey Casper, MD, IDRI’s Chief Scientific Officer/Chief Medical Officer, will now serve as interim President and CEO for IDRI.

Reed founded IDRI with a bold and extraordinary vision – to create a “nonprofit global health biotech” that combines the high quality science of a research organization with the product development and production capabilities of a biotechnology company. IDRI’s unique model exists in few other places around the world.

Reed, who has launched a number of successful for-profit companies, will use his entrepreneurial expertise to lead two new spin-out companies, OnCo, which will focus on cancer immunotherapies in the developed world, and HDT Bio, which is developing immunotherapeutic and vaccine products. These companies will creatively partner with IDRI to advance its global health solutions and provide opportunities for novel funding mechanisms.

“Starting new for-profit companies is ideally suited to Steve’s entrepreneurial nature and has potential benefit to IDRI through small business grants, licensing agreements, sponsored research agreements and even manufacturing services,” said Frank Prendergast, MD, PhD, chair of the IDRI Board of Directors. “This shift in IDRI leadership came from conversations Steve initiated with the Board regarding new strategic directions, as well as avenues to diversify funding. Steve’s success as an entrepreneur is being utilized, along with his unique skills in relationship building, while Corey’s skills as a physician-scientist and public health expert in infectious disease and oncology will continue to advance IDRI solutions through the clinical pipeline, while providing the foundation for IDRI’s oncology initiative.”

Reed added, “IDRI has developed broad-based technologies with tremendous potential for global health. Many of these technologies are now poised for clinical development and, to move such development forward rapidly, private investment is required. Our new start-ups will collaborate with IDRI to create a new public-private partnership model to advance state of the art technologies to create investor value and, at the same time, guarantee global access.”

In the role of interim President and CEO, Casper will work with IDRI’s Board of Directors on a series of short-term initiatives, while guiding IDRI’s scientific efforts and leading day-to-day operations of the organization. In the coming months, IDRI’s Board will make a determination about permanent leadership.

Casper joined IDRI in 2017 from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; he has more than 20 years of experience in designing, growing and sustaining internationally-recognized programs in infection-related cancers, HIV, infection control and global oncology.