AstraZeneca appoints Professor Maria Belvisi to its IMED Biotech Unit as head of Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmunity

8 September 2017

AstraZeneca today announced that the company’s Innovative Medicines and Early Development (IMED) Biotech Unit has appointed Professor Maria Belvisi as Vice President and Head of Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmunity (RIA), effective immediately. Professor Belvisi joins from Imperial College London School of Medicine, where she is Professor of Respiratory Pharmacology and Head of the Respiratory Pharmacology Group. She will maintain her professorial status at Imperial College London.

Professor Belvisi was Research Director for the European Respiratory Society (ERS) from 2013 to 2016 and has held senior research roles in respiratory disease with Rhône-Poulenc Rorer (now Sanofi). She has served on the editorial board of several scientific journals and has more than 200 publications to her name. She was elected as Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society in 2005.

Professor Belvisi will have responsibility for implementing AstraZeneca’s respiratory research strategy focused on the three key areas of lung epithelium, lung immunity and lung regeneration, through the company’s in-house laboratories as well as its expanding international network of academic and industry collaborations across the globe. She will be based in Gothenburg, Sweden, one of AstraZeneca’s three strategic R&D hubs and home to the company’s early-stage respiratory research.

Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President, IMED Biotech Unit and Global Business Development, said: "I am delighted to welcome Maria to our team. She is an internationally recognised leader in respiratory diseases with outstanding academic and industrial experience. Maria will have a significant role in helping us achieve our vision of delivering innovative medicines to treat, reverse or even cure respiratory diseases.”

The appointment of Professor Belvisi follows a recently announced scientific collaboration programme between AstraZeneca’s IMED Biotech unit and Imperial College London, aimed at enabling drug discovery through new technologies and the exploration of disease biology.


About AstraZeneca in Respiratory Disease

Respiratory disease is one of AstraZeneca’s main therapy areas, and the Company has a growing portfolio of medicines that reached more than 18 million patients in 2016. AstraZeneca’s aim is to transform asthma and COPD treatment through inhaled combinations at the core of care, biologics for the unmet needs of specific patient populations, and scientific advancements in disease modification.

The Company is building on a 40-year heritage in respiratory disease and AstraZeneca’s capability in inhalation technology spans both pMDIs and dry powder inhalers, as well as the innovative Co-SuspensionTM Delivery Technology. The company’s biologics include benralizumab (anti-eosinophil, anti-IL-5rɑ), which has been accepted for regulatory review in the US, EU and Japan, tralokinumab (anti-IL-13), which is currently in Phase III, and tezepelumab (anti-TSLP), which successfully achieved its Phase IIb primary endpoint. AstraZeneca’s research is focused on addressing underlying disease drivers focusing on the lung epithelium, lung immunity and lung regeneration.

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three main therapy areas - Oncology, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Diseases and Respiratory. The Company also is selectively active in the areas of autoimmunity, neuroscience and infection. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.

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