Inovio Pharmaceuticals promotes Niranjan Sardesai

From senior vp of r&d to chief operating officer

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, a US developer of synthetic vaccines, has promoted Niranjan Sardesai from senior vice president of research and development to chief operating officer. In his expanded role, Sardesai will be responsible for corporate and business development in addition to continuing to oversee research and development.

The US developer of vaccines has also announced the retirement of Kevin Rassas, former senior vice president of business development.

Sardesai has broad operating and consulting experience in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. He joined VGX Pharmaceuticals as vp of research and development in 2006, was promoted to svp r&d in 2007 and, with the merger of VGX with Inovio in June 2009, became svp research & development of the merged company.

Sardesai is responsible for leading the company's product development programmes in infectious disease and cancer vaccines and vaccine delivery systems. He has secured more than US$30m in funding through government and NGO grants/contracts. Under his leadership the company has advanced vaccine programmes for cervical dysplasia, HIV, and influenza that are now in Phase I/II clinical studies. He currently serves as principal investigator on an NIAID funded HVDDT contract for the development of HIV vaccines and an MVI-PATH funded programme for the development of malaria vaccines.

Prior to VGX, Sardesai was founder and president of NVision Consulting Inc, a consultancy firm focused on entrepreneurial life sciences companies, and he served as director of r&d at Fujirebio Diagnostics.

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