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GlaxoSmithKline appoints Zhi Hong to head infectious-diseases research centre


London, UK - GlaxoSmithKline announces the appointment of Zhi Hong, Ph.D., to lead a newly organised research unit dedicated to discovering therapies for infectious diseases, effective 23 April.

Currently, Dr. Hong is Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Ardea Biosciences, Inc., a San Diego, California, biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of targeted small molecule drugs to treat viral diseases, cancer, and inflammation. He earlier served as Vice President and Head of Research at Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, where he built up the Discovery group to eventually lead the entire Research group of approximately 120 staff to support activities from target selection through Phase II clinical studies, with an emphasis on infectious diseases. Previously, he worked in various research and management roles at Schering-Plough Research Institute.

Dr. Hong is an inventor of numerous patents and an author of more than 100 research papers, the majority of them in the field of infectious diseases.

“The appointment of a researcher of Dr. Hong’s stature reflects GSK’s continuing commitment to combat such threats as HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, and bacterial resistance to currently marketed antibiotics,” said Patrick Vallance, M.D., Senior Vice President, Drug Discovery, GSK Research & Development. “We have a long tradition of innovation in discovering and developing therapies for infectious diseases, and we intend to build on that tradition.”

At GSK, Dr. Hong will head the Infectious Diseases Center of Excellence for Drug Discovery (ID CEDD). This CEDD is being formed to integrate and better coordinate the mid-stage infectious—diseases research and development under way in the R&D organisation. It will focus on building an innovative pipeline through both internal efforts and extensive alliances with other companies and research institutions. Additionally, the ID CEDD includes the GSK research centre in Tres Cantos, Spain, which is dedicated to therapies for diseases prevalent in the developing world, such as malaria and tuberculosis.

GSK R&D comprises nine CEDDs, organised by therapeutic area or technology, to manage the progression of compounds from therapeutic hypothesis to clinical proof of concept. While drawing from the broader resources of the R&D organisation, the CEDDs bridge the conventional gap between discovery and development, bringing scientists and physicians together in groups the size of small biotechnology companies.

GlaxoSmithKline — one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies — is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.


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