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Pfizer hires new lead for gene therapy research centre

Published on: 26/11/15

Pfizer has hired Professor Michael Linden to lead its new gene therapy research centre in London. 

Professor Michael Linden has spent over 20 years researching the potential of certain viruses to transport genetic medicines into the body. He has been supporting Pfizer in this area for 11 months on a secondment from King’s College London, but is now joining Pfizer full-time. 

His core focus will be to evaluate the viability of producing effective, clinical grade gene therapy viruses at pace and scale. His team will also be actively examining the infrastructure behind gene therapy development, with the aim of adding insights and learnings to existing protocols and considerations. In addition, the genetic medicines institute will seek to develop certain gene therapy pipeline projects in Pfizer’s portfolio. 

Prior to joining Pfizer, Professor Linden was a professor of virology at King's College London faculty of life sciences and medicine, and director of the University College London gene therapy consortium. He trained in molecular virology at Cornell University Medical College in New York, before moving to Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. 

Professor Linden says: “Gene therapy is the term used to describe a treatment that alters or fixes an anomaly in the genes that causes illness. Unlike many other medicines, gene therapies have the potential to fix the root cause of illness, effectively offering a cure as opposed to managing the cause or lessening the symptoms. 

“I am excited to join Pfizer’s genetic medicines institute full-time. I will have the opportunity to continue to work in collaboration with my former colleagues at King’s College London, as well as other academic partners, in order to further research and ideally generate potential new medicines in this important area.”

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