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Mark Sullivan    

Founder & Managing Director of Medicines Development for Global Health

In his early career, Sullivan worked as a clinical program head at GSK in London, leading trials to test new drugs for HIV. Later, he worked in drug development at Gilead Sciences in California, and as chief operating officer of Australia’s vaccine design and development consortium at the University of New South Wales. He has contributed to three successful global registrational programs for HIV and hepatitis B therapeutics, has worked on 40 small molecule and biologic development programs at all stages, and led the development of moxidectin through FDA approval. Moxidectin was the first new drug in 20 years to be approved to treat river blindness—a parasitic infection that puts some 200 million people in sub-Saharan Africa at risk. In 2005 he founded not-for-profit Medicines Development for Global Health to bring industry expertise and much-needed funding to the development of neglected diseases affecting mostly people in the developing world. MDGH functions as a virtual pharma company, licensing promising treatments and managing the development process from early stages through clinical trials and regulatory approval. Sullivan secured funding for the work based on the potential value of auctioning off a transferable Priority Review voucher, which the FDA gives to developers of drugs for neglected tropical diseases, and can cut approval time for a new drug from 10 months to 6 months, an advantage for which drugmakers have recently paid over $100 million. With the proceeds from the pending auction, Sullivan aims to expand MDGH’s portfolio and prove a model for neglected disease research that doesn’t require “being an organization with our hand out for donations.”

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