Meissa Vaccines Appoints Dr. Lawrence Blatt as Chairman of the Board of Directors

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., March 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Meissa Vaccines, a biotechnology company developing vaccines to prevent viral respiratory infections, announced that Lawrence M. Blatt, Ph.D., MBA was appointed chairman of the company's board of directors. Dr. Blatt has more than 29 years of drug research and development experience with a specific focus on biology of the immune system, infectious diseases, antiviral therapies, and relevant therapeutic interventions. Until recently, he was the Global Head of Infectious Diseases and Vaccines at Johnson & Johnson. Dr. Blatt is a serial biotech entrepreneur, who founded Alios BioPharma, which developed therapies for viral diseases, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and hepatitis C. Dr. Blatt is also the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year award for life sciences for San Francisco Bay area in 2012.

"I was impressed with quality of the science and technology behind Meissa's creative and robust approach to tailor-make viruses for vaccines against specific diseases," said Dr. Blatt. "In addition to the strong science, I believe the team has the capabilities to drive innovation in vaccines that could meaningfully decrease morbidity and mortality for millions of lives worldwide."

Meissa's breakthrough technology platform utilizes synthetic biology and reverse genetics to create safer and more effective vaccines. The company is developing vaccines for RSV, parainfluenza virus, human metapneumovirus, and rhinovirus. RSV is a common respiratory virus that can be serious and life-threatening for infants and older adults with compromised immune systems. Each year in the United States, more than 57,000 children younger than five years old and approximately 177,000 older adults are hospitalized due to RSV infection. Parainfluenza virus and human metapneumovirus also infect children and adults resulting in significant numbers of hospitalizations and, in some instances, death of the patient. Rhinoviruses are the predominant cause of the common cold, which can be serious in individuals with chronic lung diseases such as COPD and asthma.

"Dr. Blatt has had a successful career in building biotech companies with a focus on infectious disease treatments that address important unmet medical needs and deliver significant value to the health care system," said Marin Moore, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Meissa Vaccines. "I look forward to his guidance and expertise as we continue to build our team and advance our first vaccine candidate to an investigational new drug filing."

Dr. Blatt founded Alios BioPharma and served as the company's Chief Executive Officer, President, and Director before it was acquired by Johnson & Johnson for approximately $1.75 billion. Prior to Alios, he was Chief Scientific Officer of InterMune, which was acquired by Roche for $8.3 billion. Dr. Blatt also held successive positions as Vice President of Research of Sirna/Ribozyme Therapeutics, Vice President of Product Development at National Genetics Institute, and Product Development Team Leader, Interferons at Amgen. Dr. Blatt achieved a Ph.D. in public health administration from the University of La Verne and completed his MBA from California State University, Northridge.

About Meissa Vaccines

Meissa Vaccines is a private biotech company focused on the advancement of vaccines for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the largest unmet respiratory medical need in pediatrics, and rhinovirus, the leading cause of infectious disease worldwide. The company is also developing vaccines for parainfluenza virus and human metapneumovirus. Meissa Vaccines was founded on proprietary technologies employing synthetic biologic and reverse genetics to create safer, more effective vaccines. The technology is exclusively licensed from Dr. Martin Moore's laboratory at Emory University. Dr. Moore, together with Dr. Roderick Tang, a leading developer of viral vaccines, co-founded Meissa. They are supported by a team with extensive experience in conducting vaccine clinical trials. Meissa has been awarded a Fast Track SBIR grant and a Phase 1 SBIR grant by the National Institutes of Health to advance the company's RSV and rhinovirus vaccines. The company has also received a seed investment from FundRx, an innovative healthcare and life sciences venture capital platform. Meissa Vaccines is a resident company of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS in South San Francisco. For more information, please visit

SOURCE Meissa Vaccines

To read more People News articles, click here.