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Penny Heaton

Director

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Penny Heaton is director of Vaccine Development within the Global Health Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, supporting vaccine development activities from clinical development through manufacturing and registration. She has extensive experience in vaccine clinical research and development. 

Dr. Heaton joined the foundation in 2013 after three years as Global Head of Clinical Research and Development Clusters for Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, during which time regulatory approval was received for Flucelvax (cell-culture derived influenza vaccine), Bexsero (meningococcal B vaccine), and an expanded indication for Menveo (meningococcal A, C, W, Y vaccine) in children. Previously, she was the Chief Medical Officer and VP of Development at Novavax, a biotechnology company developing virus-like particle vaccines. There she was responsible for all medical and regulatory affairs including the development programs for the company's pandemic and seasonal influenza and respiratory syncytial virus vaccine candidates. Dr. Heaton also worked at Merck & Co., Inc., where she chaired the development team for the company’s vaccine against rotavirus (RotaTeq®), which has been licensed in several countries and universally recommended by the US Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the World Health Organization for all infants worldwide.

A graduate of the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky, Dr. Heaton is board-certified in Pediatrics and Pediatric Infectious Diseases. She began her career at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a medical officer in the epidemic intelligence service where she was responsible for investigating outbreaks of foodborne and diarrheal diseases as well as conducting surveillance and epidemiologic studies. She is a member of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She is the recipient of several awards and author of several publications. 

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