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Tonya Villafana

Vice President, Global Franchise Head, Infection, AstraZeneca

Dr. Tonya Villafana joined MedImmune/Astra Zeneca in 2009. She has been responsible for leading cross-functional global product development teams for vaccines and monoclonal antibodies including AZD1222 (ChAdOx1-S vaccine), MEDI8897 (nirsevimab), MEDI7510, MEDI8852, MEDI5537, MEDI534 and MEDI559. From 2011-2013, Tonya was seconded from AZ to the World Bank and served as the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) World Bank Fellow. In this role, she supported the Global Medicines Regulatory Harmonization Initiative including raising financing, with a focus on strengthening regulatory systems in Africa and co-authored the Bank’s position on Non-Communicable Diseases for the UN High Level Meeting on NCDs in 2011. Prior to joining AZ, Tonya was Director of Portfolio Management at the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) where she had oversight of MVI’s vaccine candidate portfolio. She served as Chair of MVI’s Portfolio Management Committee and was a member of the RTS,S malaria vaccine team (GSK’s Mosquirix, first malaria vaccine to receive regulatory approval), leading teams for PATH in Tanzania and Gabon. From 2001-2006 Tonya was the Site Director of the HIV Vaccine Initiative at the Botswana Harvard School of Public Health AIDS Initiative Partnership for HIV Research and Education in Gaborone, Botswana, where she established clinical sites to conduct the first HIV vaccine studies in the southern African nation, in collaboration with the US NIH HIV Vaccine Trials Network. While in Botswana, she served on the Botswana National HIV Vaccine Committee collaborating with local and international institutions including WHO, the Debswana Mining company and Botswana Police Service.

Dr. Villafana has served on several important scientific committees and advisory boards including the Malaria Clinical Trials Alliance, International Society of Vaccines and the NIH Integrated Preclinical/Clinical Vaccine Development Program.  She has worked closely on global health initiatives with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, PAHO, WHO, IFPMA, and UK Development Agency for International Development. She has contributed to ISV meetings and participated in several over the years.   She was a member of the ISV Scientific Committee for the 2017 meeting held in Paris, where she helped to create a forum for young investigators interested in vaccines. Dr. Villafana is supportive of ISV’s role in training and elevating the work of young researchers, particularly those from developing countries.

She received a PhD in immunology from Weill Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences and an MPH from Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Villafana is committed to developing novel vaccines and drugs to prevent diseases in the most vulnerable populations around the world.

ISV Fellow of the Month
United States