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Kathrin Jansen  

Head of Vaccine Research & Development at Pfizer; Leading Scientist in COVID-19 Vaccine Effort

Kathrin U. Jansen, PhD, is Senior Vice President and Head of Vaccine Research and Development at Pfizer Inc, and a member of Pfizer’s Worldwide Research and Development leadership team. Dr. Jansen oversees a fully integrated, global vaccines research and development organization, with responsibilities ranging from discovery to registration and post-marketing commitments of first-in-class or best-in-class vaccines to prevent or treat diseases of significant unmet medical need. More recent accomplishments are the global licensures of Prev(e)nar13® to prevent pneumococcal diseases and the development and licensure of Trumenba®, the first vaccine licensed in the United States to prevent invasive disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B.

Dr. Jansen received her doctoral degree in microbiology, biochemistry & genetics from Phillips Universitaet, Marburg, Germany. Following completion of her formal training, she continued her postdoctoral training at Cornell University working on the structure and function of the acetylcholine receptor. She then joined the Glaxo Institute for Molecular Biology in Geneva, Switzerland, where she focused on basic studies of a receptor believed to be a drug target to treat allergies. Dr. Jansen was appointed an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania – School of Medicine in 2010. Before the Wyeth acquisition by Pfizer in 2009, Dr. Jansen served as Senior Vice President at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and on Wyeth’s Research and Development Executive Committee since 2006 and was responsible for vaccine discovery, early development and clinical testing operations.

Dr. Jansen also briefly worked at Vaxgen as Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President for Research and Development with responsibility for the company’s late stage development programs. Prior to joining Vaxgen, Dr. Jansen spent 12 years at Merck Research Laboratories where she directed or supported a number of vaccine efforts, including Merck’s novel bacterial vaccine programs and viral vaccine programs (rotavirus, zoster and mumps, measles and rubella). Dr. Jansen initiated and led the development of Gardasil®, the world’s first cervical cancer vaccine.


Meet Kathrin Jansen, the woman leading Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine effort
Much of the work that Pfizer is celebrating this week is thanks to the leadership of Kathrin Jansen, head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer. Jansen has spearheaded the effort to get a COVID-19 vaccine market-ready. She’s been with Pfizer since 2009, when the company acquired Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, where she had been working on vaccines. Over the course of her multi-decade career, Jansen has proven to be something of a maverick.

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