IDRI Announces New VP Tuberculosis Drug Development
Gail H. Cassell, Ph.D., to join IDRI
SEATTLE, Dec. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) announced today that Dr. Gail H. Cassell has joined IDRI as its Vice President, TB Drug Development. In this newly created position, Dr. Cassell will work within the IDRI management team to further the organization’s development of its portfolio of drug candidates for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB), including multi-drug resistant (MDR) or extremely drug resistant (XDR) strains of TB.
Dr. Cassell is currently a Visiting Professor in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School. She recently retired as Vice President, Scientific Affairs and Distinguished Lilly Research Scholar for Infectious Diseases, Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis, Indiana. In this capacity among other things, she was responsible for initiating and leading the not-for-profit Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative launched in 2007, and was largely responsible for launching Lilly’s MDRTB Partnership in 2003 which now exceeds a $135 million philanthropic effort.
Prior to moving to Lilly in 1997 as Vice President for Infectious Disease Drug Discovery and Clinical Development, Dr. Cassell was the former Charles H. McCauley Professor and Chairman of the Department of Microbiology at the University of Alabama Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, Birmingham, a department which ranked first in research funding from the National Institutes of Health during the decade of her leadership. She obtained her BS from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and in 1993 was selected by that institution as one of the top 31 female graduates of the 20th century. She obtained her Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and was selected as its 2003 Distinguished Alumnus. She has received numerous awards for her contributions to infectious disease research, including two honorary doctorate degrees as well as awards from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a Commissioner’s Citation Award from the Food and Drug Administration in recognition of her public service. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and was recently elected to the Council of Foreign Relations.
“We are thrilled that Gail has officially joined the IDRI team,” said Stewart Parker, IDRI CEO. “The creation of this new position reflects the positive progress made in the pursuit of novel therapeutic candidates against TB, including MDR TB and XDR TB, and Gail’s extensive experience and passion for this effort can only continue to expedite this effort.”
“I have enjoyed collaborating with IDRI over the past several years in the context of the Lilly TB Drug Initiative, and now look forward to continuing to contribute to it, and to IDRI’s success,” said Dr. Cassell.
About IDRI – Translating science into global health solutions
IDRI is a Seattle-based not-for-profit organization committed to applying innovative science to the research and development of products to prevent, detect, and treat infectious diseases of poverty. By integrating capabilities — including early stage drug discovery, preclinical testing, manufacturing, and clinical trials — IDRI strives to create an efficient pathway bringing scientific innovation from the laboratory to the people who need it most. www.idri.org
SOURCE Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI)