Maria Freire, director of NIH’s Office of Technology Transfer, has been chosen as the new CEO of the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development, Board Chairman Carlos Morel announced. The appointment by the Alliance’s Board of Directors will take effect September 15, 2001.
The alliance, a newly formed consortium of foundations, pharmaceutical companies and international organizations that includes WHO, and NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, received a $25 million grant from the Gates Foundation earlier this year. (see Washington Fax 03/27/01a)
"Dr. Freire’s extensive technology management expertise, her understanding and passion for scientific research, her proven ability to build and manage organizations, and her commitment to global public health will be great assets to the Alliance during a time of tremendous growth," said Morel. "She brings important talents to augment and lead the team."
Giorgio Roscigno, who has served as acting CEO since the inception of the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development in October 2000, will remain in a senior position in the organization.
Freire has served as director of OTT, the office responsible for all patenting, marketing, licensing, and monitoring activities for the invention portfolios of NIH and FDA since 1995. In that capacity, she also was responsible for HHS technology transfer policy development, including the intellectual property strategy for the public Human Genome Project.
"Freire was selected as the CEO for her vision; strong strategic and operating capabilities in the field of health technology policy and management; and ability to plan, direct, and build new organizations," Global Alliance said in an August 1 release. "She is a well known and highly regarded professional with experience working across government, industry, and nonprofit sectors both nationally and internationally." Global Alliance added Freire’s diverse scientific background biophysics, immunology, and virology) also is well suited to the post.
Operating from New York, Brussels, and Cape Town, the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development partners with private industry and public research institutions worldwide, bringing together public and private expertise and resources to devise new approaches to TB drug development. It also seeks to actively engage researchers from developing countries with a high burden of TB.
In late September 2001, as it celebrates its first year of operation, the Global Alliance is expected to release its full report on the Pharmacoeconomics of TB Drug Development and to announce its first partnership agreements and strategic portfolio investments.