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GVN Center and Member Spotlight

Roman Chicz 

Global Project Head
Recombinant COVID Vaccine Project

What are you and your company currently working on regarding COVID-19?

Sanofi is putting world-leading scientific expertise to the development of 2 vaccine candidates against COVID-19. The first is an adjuvant recombinant protein vaccine candidate, developed in partnership with the US BARDA and GSK. This vaccine candidate is currently in a pivotal, large-scale phase 3 trial.  Another vaccine candidate in partnership with biotech company Translate Bio uses messenger RNA technology and is currently in phase 1 / 2 clinical trials. Sanofi is also providing temporary manufacturing support for three other COVID-19 vaccines (BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson), in order to help address global needs in a pandemic context.

What are your latest COVID-19 research experiences?

The Sanofi and GSK COVID-19 vaccine candidate achieved strong magnitudes of neutralizing antibody responses, in all adult age groups in a Phase 2 study with 722 volunteers. This is in line with those measured in people who have recovered from COVID-19. The Phase 2 interim results showed 95% to 100% seroconversion following a second injection in all age groups (18 to 95 years old) and across all doses, with acceptable tolerability and without any safety concerns. After a single injection, high neutralizing antibody levels were generated in participants with evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection, suggesting strong potential to be developed as a booster vaccine. This candidate vaccine has been in a pivotal, large-scale phase 3 study since May 26, 2021.  After demonstrating positive results in pre-clinical studies, our mRNA candidate vaccine is currently in phase 1/2 clinical trials.

Professional Summary

Roman Chicz is Associate Vice President and Global Head, External Research and Development at Sanofi Pasteur, the largest manufacturer of human vaccines.  He is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In his present role, he leads External R&D activities and coordinates external science and technology evaluations to establish outside collaborations with academia, government institutions, non-government agencies, multi-national pharmaceutical companies and the biotechnology industry.  He also co-leads the New Products Early Portfolio Strategy with the Global Head of Innovation Franchise and supports Business Development in due diligence and negotiation activities.  For the past year he has been leading the recombinant COVID vaccine project as the Global Project Head.

Dr. Chicz has over 25 years of experience translating novel research discoveries and in licensed opportunities into investigational therapeutics and prophylactic vaccines.  Before joining Sanofi Pasteur, Dr. Chicz was the founding Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President of R&D at privately held ImmunoBiologics Corporation, a development stage biotechnology company, the Senior Vice President of R&D at Antigenics Inc. (NASDAQ: AGEN), and a co-founder and Vice President of Discovery Research at the privately held clinical stage biotechnology company ZYCOS Inc. (acquired by MGI Pharma).  Prior to joining industry, Dr. Chicz held academic appointments at Harvard University, first as a research and teaching fellow and later as a researcher with fully funded grant support.  He is a member of the American Association of Immunologists and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and holds numerous patents and publications in peer reviewed journals in the areas of immunology and vaccine research, including HPV and HSV therapeutic vaccines.  Dr. Chicz has chaired and served on various NIH external program review panels and participates on journal editorial review boards and as an invited speaker at international meetings and conferences

Sanofi Pasteur Vaccine History

For over 100 years, Sanofi Pasteur has been committed to extending the life-saving power of vaccination as broadly as possible. Our history is grounded in life science pioneers who discovered how infectious diseases work. They unlocked the public health potential of vaccination and developed efficient mass production methods to ensure the broadest access to vaccines. We currently supply one billion doses to people around the world each year, and work hand-in-hand with our public health partners so our vaccines can help protect as many as half a billion lives annually.

Overview of Sanofi

Sanofi is dedicated to supporting people through their health challenges. We are a global biopharmaceutical company focused on human health. We prevent illness with vaccines, provide innovative treatments to fight pain and ease suffering. We stand by the few who suffer from rare diseases and the millions with long-term chronic conditions.

With more than 100,000 people in 100 countries, Sanofi is transforming scientific innovation into healthcare solutions around the globe.