Kathrin U. Jansen, Ph.D., is the Senior Vice President and Head of Vaccine Research and Development (VRD) at Pfizer Inc, and a member of Pfizer’s Worldwide Research, Development and Medical leadership team. With over 28 years of pharmaceutical experience in Vaccine R&D. Dr. Jansen leads a fully integrated, global vaccines research and development organization, with responsibilities ranging from discovery to registration and post-marketing commitments. She manages a clinical vaccines portfolio that includes vaccines to prevent or treat diseases of significant unmet medical need such as those caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), Streptococcus pneumoniae, Clostridioides difficile, Respiratory syncytial virus, Group B streptococcus, and Lyme disease. In collaboration with BioNTech, Dr. Jansen led the development of the BNT162b2 vaccine candidate against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). The vaccine was issued the first emergency use authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – less than 11 months after the he SARS-CoV-2 genetic sequence was released and the first-ever authorized vaccine utilizing an mRNA platform. Additional accomplishments include the global licensures of Prev(e)nar13® to prevent pneumococcal diseases and the development and licensure of Trumenba®, the first vaccine licensed in the United States to prevent invasive disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B.
Before the Wyeth acquisition by Pfizer in 2009, Dr. Jansen served as Senior Vice President at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and on Wyeth’s R&D Executive Committee since 2006 and was responsible for vaccine discovery, early development and clinical testing operations.
Dr. Jansen spent 12 years at Merck Research Laboratories where she directed or supported a number of vaccine efforts, including Merck’s novel bacterial vaccine programs and viral vaccine programs (rotavirus, zoster and mumps, measles and rubella). Dr. Jansen initiated R&D activities and led the research and development activities of Gardasil®, the world’s first cervical cancer vaccine.
Dr. Jansen received her doctoral degree in microbiology, biochemistry & genetics from Phillips Universitaet, Marburg, Germany, in 1984. Following completion of her formal training, she continued her postdoctoral training at Cornell University working on the structure and function of the acetylcholine receptor. She then joined the Glaxo Institute for Molecular Biology in Geneva, Switzerland, where she focused on basic studies of a receptor believed to be a drug target to treat allergies.
Dr. Jansen was appointed an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania – School of Medicine in 2010 and has authored and co-authored over 190 publications. She is a member of the CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) scientific advisory committee, American Society for Microbiology and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine.