Global Virus Network (GVN) Announces Eight Distinguished International Appointments to Board of Directors

World Leaders in Business, Science, Law, Industry, Philanthropy & Government Are Committed to Supporting the GVN

Baltimore, MD, USA (April 6, 2021) – The Global Virus Network (GVN), a coalition of the world’s leading medical virology research centers working together to prevent illness and death from viral disease, today announced the election of eight distinguished global leaders to its Board of Directors.  They include Daniel J. Arbess, CIO of Xerion Investments, LLC and CEO of Xerion Precision Biosciences LLC;  Marc Bonneville, DVM, Scientific & Medical Director, Fondation Mérieux; Tomas Cihlar, PhD, Vice President, Virology, Gilead Sciences; Lan Kennedy-Davis, JD, Partner, RumbergerKirk; Yang Liu, PhD,  Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer, OncoC4, Inc and Adjunct Professor, Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine; David Scheer, President, Scheer & Company, Inc.; Yiming Shao, MD, PhD, Chief Expert on AIDS, Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Vice Chair, Chinese Microbiology Society and Chair Professor, Zhejiang University; Pan Zheng, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer, OncoC4, Inc and Adjunct Professor, Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

The announcement was made today by Robert Gallo, MD, Co-founder and Director, Global Virus Network (GVN) and the Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Co-founder and Director, Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence, Tim Moynahan, Chairman, The Moynahan Law Firm and Chairman, GVN Board of Directors and Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, GVN President and Associate Vice President for International Partnerships and Innovation at University of South Florida (USF), Professor, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Internal Medicine at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the GVN Southeast U.S. Regional Headquarters.

“One of the biggest lessons we learned after discovering the first human retroviruses, including co-discovery of HIV as the cause of AIDS, and developing the HIV blood test, is that researchers need a GVN to share and disseminate important information seamlessly, without government politics or financial limitations,” said Dr. Robert Gallo.  “The current pandemic is yet another example of this urgent need, and I am pleased these new distinguished Board members value the work of the GVN from the past ten years and join us in our commitment to advance science and save lives.”

“I look forward to working with my fellow Board members and their expertise to advance the mission of the GVN,” said Tim Moynahan“Whether it is in the world of science, industry, law, government, business or philanthropy, each of these leaders and their expertise are essential global assets in the collective fight against viral threats around the world.”

“We are most pleased to welcome these distinguished new members to the GVN Board of Directors,” said Dr. Christian Bréchot“From the public to private sectors, GVN Board members contribute to the management of our organization and help grow our reach in both visibility and impact around the globe.”

“I am honored to contribute to GVN’s core mission of advancing collaborative science, global consensus, communication and pandemic preparedness,” said Daniel J. Arbess, CEO of Xerion Precision Biosciences, LLC.  Mr. Arbess is a multi-asset class investor, lawyer and social entrepreneur whose 35-year career has been defined by engagement as an adviser, investor and entrepreneur across of range of significant geopolitical, economic and healthcare developments.

“Joining the GVN network gives me the opportunity to learn more about this remarkable initiative and to participate in the major challenge of coordinating expertise to better prepare for future epidemics,” said Marc Bonneville, DVM, Scientific & Medical Director, Fondation Mérieux.  Dr. Bonneville is an accomplished immunologist with previous leadership positions at INSERM, Institut Mérieux and the Alliance for Research and Innovation of Healthcare Industries (ARIIS).

“I am excited to join the GVN board,” said Tomas Cihlar, PhD, Vice President, Virology, Gilead Sciences.   “It is dynamic and a quickly growing organization with a real impact not only on global virology science and education, but also on critical aspects of pandemic preparedness.”  Dr. Cihlar coordinates Gilead’s preclinical antiviral research across HIV, hepatitis, respiratory, and emerging viruses.  He has contributed to the development and regulatory approval of multiple antiviral therapies including many Gilead’s antiretrovirals and their combinations and led the preclinical and early clinical development of remdesivir.

“I am honored to work with such esteemed experts in their field and to be a part of GVN’s worldwide humanitarian efforts,” said Lan Kennedy-Davis, JD, Partner, RumbergerKirk.  Ms. Kennedy-Davis is a premier commercial litigation and corporate transactional attorney whose practice focuses on general and complex litigation and corporate transactions, including business and shareholder matters, intellectual property disputes, bankruptcy litigation and high stakes and assets family law cases. She has a strong business background, is an economist and a former business consultant to Fortune 500 companies and international entrepreneurs.

“We are so pleased to contribute our understanding of inflammation to a global effort to confront the heath challenges from viral infection,” said Yang Liu, PhD, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer, OncoC4, Inc and Adjunct Professor, Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.  Dr. Liu’s academic research includes the fundamental mechanisms of immune recognition, cell metabolism and cancer biology, and is a driving force in elucidating the mechanisms by which the innate immune system discriminates microbial infection and aseptic tissue injuries.

“I am proud to have been formally elected to serve on the Board of the GVN, an organization which has unique importance in the world today as we face the challenges of the current and potential future pandemics,” said David Scheer, President, Scheer & Company, Inc.  “I am particularly thrilled to work with the other members of the Board and with Bob Gallo, whom I have known since the late 1970s.” Mr. Scheer is an advisor and serial entrepreneur in the life sciences including building two antiviral drug development companies.  His career includes providing corporate strategic and transactional advisory services in the life sciences industry.  He also had a longstanding career in the global and public health arenas, working with some of the top researchers, thought-leaders.  He led a bioscience task force in Connecticut that gave rise to the Reopen CT Advisory Group, of which he served as a member, working with the State and its Governor to reopen in May of 2020.

“It is of paramount importance to keep a voice of independent virologists through the GVN in the era of viral pandemics and in a pan-politicized world,” said Yiming Shao, MD, PhD, Chief Expert on AIDS, Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Vice Chair, Chinese Microbiology Society and Chair Professor, Zhejiang University.  “Only such a voice can help stop harmful, global conspiracies spreading during the COVID-19 pandemic and rightfully focus efforts to fight the virus together, instead of blaming each other.” Dr. Shao’s many accomplishments include isolating China’s first HIV strain, leading a national task force to build national laboratory networks for HIV diagnosis, molecular epidemiology and drug resistance surveillance, and conducting HIV vaccine research based on replicating vaccinia vector that concluded phase I/II clinical trials.  He serves on the WHO Vaccine Product Development for Vaccine Advisory Committee and HIV Cure Advisory Committee of International AIDS Society.

“We are delighted to be part of GVN to translate basic knowledge to clinical care of patients,” said Pan Zheng, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer, OncoC4, Inc and Adjunct Professor, Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.  Dr. Zheng’s academic research focuses on immuno-oncology and inflammation. Dr. Zheng was trained in anatomic and clinical pathology and is a board-certified Physician with the American Board of Pathology.

Both Drs. Liu and Zheng co-founded OcnoImmune, Inc. until its acquisition by Merck, Inc. Drs. Liu and Zheng designed and executed the clinical trials for the company, including most recently a Phase III clinical trial, in conjunction with colleagues at the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, establishing strong therapeutic efficacy of CD24Fc for hospitalized severe and critical COVID-19 patients.

About the Global Virus Network (GVN)

The Global Virus Network (GVN) is essential and critical in the preparedness, defense and first research response to emerging, existing and unidentified viruses that pose a clear and present threat to public health, working in close coordination with established national and international institutions. It is a coalition comprised of eminent human and animal virologists from 62 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 34 countries worldwide, working collaboratively to train the next generation, advance knowledge about how to identify and diagnose pandemic viruses, mitigate and control how such viruses spread and make us sick, as well as develop drugs, vaccines and treatments to combat them. No single institution in the world has expertise in all viral areas other than the GVN, which brings together the finest medical virologists to leverage their individual expertise and coalesce global teams of specialists on the scientific challenges, issues and problems posed by pandemic viruses. The GVN is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, please visit www.gvn.org. Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews

Media Contact:

Nora Samaranayake, GVN
[email protected]

A Statement From the Leadership of the Global Virus Network on the Passing of Dr. John Martin

An Outstanding Clinical Scientist, A Dedicated Humanitarian, An Astute Businessman, An Effective Global Leader, and A True Friend

Baltimore, MD, April 1, 2021: The Global Virus Network, the world’s leading coalition of virologists combatting current and emerging pandemic viral threats and viral causes of disease through international collaborative research response, mourns the passing of its good friend and fellow GVN Board of Directors member, John Martin, PhD.  Dr. Martin was an outstanding clinical scientist, astute businessman and global leader.  His leadership in drug development, particularly for HIV and hepatitis B and C, along with his generous philanthropy, saved many lives.

“John Martin is irreplaceable and his passing is a devastating loss to many,” said Robert C. Gallo, MD, GVN Co-Founder and International Scientific Advisor and The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Co-Founder and Director, Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence.  “The fields of medicine and science have many notable leaders who contribute to public health. But it is John’s leadership at Gilead Sciences that stands out and resulted in the successful development of antiviral therapeutics for the treatment of HIV, hepatitis B and C, and influenza. Further, the global public health response to HIV/AIDS was immensely facilitated by John, which is unique among the global pharmaceutical industry. His humanitarian leadership resulted in more than 10 million HIV infected persons receiving lifesaving therapies with the best drugs available.  His life’s work lives on in those he mentored and in The John C. Martin Foundation, among many others. We extend our deepest sympathies to John’s family, especially his life partner, Lillian Lou.  Our very close friend will be greatly missed.”

Dr. Martin was an exceptional individual whose towering leadership of Gilead Sciences led to a profound impact on human viral diseases worldwide.  His leadership resulted in the successful development of antiviral therapeutics for the treatment of HIV, hepatitis B and C, and influenza.  More importantly, Dr. Martin recognized the importance of making these critical therapeutic advancements available not just to the wealthy nations of the world, but worldwide, to include even those infected persons in the most impoverished regions of the globe.  He developed a sustainable system that is treating an accelerating number of persons in low income countries, thus producing a program that has measurable results and demonstrates enormous impact on global health.

“John Martin’s contribution in virology and also as a member of GVN’s Board was immense, particularly in bringing us together with the pharmaceutical industry,” said Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, President of the GVN, Associate Vice President for International Partnerships and Innovation at University of South Florida (USF), and Professor, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Internal Medicine at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the GVN Southeast U.S. Regional Headquarters.  “He was an extraordinary example of what academic science can offer when it is associated with an entrepreneurial mindset.  We will deeply miss his guidance and expertise and GVN will work to honor his legacy in all that we do.”

“I am deeply saddened by John Martin’s sudden passing,” said Tomas Cihlar, PhD, GVN Board of Directors Member, Vice President, Virology, Gilead Sciences, Inc. “His scientific knowledge and business vision combined with genuine passion to bring much needed treatment for devastating viral infections not only to the privileged, but equally so to the underserved communities was truly unparalleled in our society. We all will miss John sorely.”

“John and I shared many wonderful scientific and clinical milestones over four decades,” said Raymond Schinazi, PhD, GVN Board of Directors Member, Professor of Pediatrics and Director, GVN Center Director, Laboratory of Biochemical Pharmacology, Emory University, a GVN Center of Excellence.  “My happiest memory was when John agreed to provide Sovaldi to Egypt and the Republic of Georgia, thus, saving millions of lives in these low-income countries. He deserves our eternal gratitude for these, and many other, actions and will be dearly missed.”

Dr. John Martin joined Gilead Sciences in 1990 and was Executive Chairman from March 2016 through March 2019. He served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer from June 2008 through March 2016, and President and Chief Executive Officer from 1996 through May 2008. Prior to joining Gilead, Dr. Martin held several leadership positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Syntex Corporation. He invented ganciclovir in 1982 and contributed to the research, development and commercialization of a number of antiviral drugs active against HIV, cytomegalovirus, influenza, and hepatitis B and C.

In addition to the GVN, Dr. Martin served on the Board of Directors of Kronos Bio and The Scripps Research Institute. He previously served as President of the International Society for Antiviral Research, Chairman of the Board of Directors of BayBio, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the California Healthcare Institute (CHI). He served on the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases Council, the Board of Directors of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Board of Directors for CHI, the Board of Trustees of the University of Chicago, the Board of Trustees of Golden Gate University and the External Scientific Advisory Board of the University of California School of Global Health. Additionally, Dr. Martin served on the Centers for Disease Control/Health Resources and Services Administration’s Advisory Committee on HIV and STD Prevention and Treatment and was a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Martin holds a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Chicago, an MBA from Golden Gate University and a BS degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University. He received the Isbell Award from the American Chemical Society and the Gertrude B. Elion Award for Scientific Excellence from the International Society for Antiviral Research. In 2008, he was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering of the National Academies. In 2014, Dr. Martin received the IHV Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service.  In 2019, he received the National Academy of Sciences Award for Chemistry in Service to Society.

About the Global Virus Network (GVN)
The Global Virus Network (GVN) is essential and critical in the preparedness, defense and first research response to emerging, existing and unidentified viruses that pose a clear and present threat to public health, working in close coordination with established national and international institutions. It is a coalition comprised of eminent human and animal virologists from 62 Centers of Excellence and 11 Affiliates in 34 countries worldwide, working collaboratively to train the next generation, advance knowledge about how to identify and diagnose pandemic viruses, mitigate and control how such viruses spread and make us sick, as well as develop drugs, vaccines and treatments to combat them. No single institution in the world has expertise in all viral areas other than the GVN, which brings together the finest medical virologists to leverage their individual expertise and coalesce global teams of specialists on the scientific challenges, issues and problems posed by pandemic viruses. The GVN is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, please visit www.gvn.org. Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews

Media Contact:
Nora Samaranayake, GVN
[email protected]