IPM Welcomes New Board Members
New members bring expertise in health policy, product development and reproductive health
SILVER SPRING, Md. (September 21, 2015) — The International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) today announced the addition of three new Board members in 2015: Dr. Ayo Ajayi, Dr. David Nicholson and Dr. Ndola Prata. Together, their decades of experience in health systems and policy, pharmaceutical research and development (R&D), and women’s sexual and reproductive health will enhance IPM’s work to develop and deliver critically needed new HIV prevention products for women around the world.
The former chair of IPM’s Access Advisory Committee, Dr. Ajayi brings to the Board a deep understanding of health policy and programs with more than 30 years working with donors, governments and NGOs. He is currently the director of the Africa Team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he leads the policy, advocacy and government relations portfolios across the continent as well as the foundation’s offices in Ethiopia, South Africa and Nigeria. Dr. Ajayi, a trained physician, has directed HIV/AIDS and reproductive health programs across Africa as the former vice president for international development at PATH and regional director for sub-Saharan Africa at the Population Council.
“It is great to be back working with IPM again. I am excited to be part of an organization that is so committed to finding new tools for women to protect themselves,” said Dr. Ajayi.
Also joining IPM’s Board is Dr. David Nicholson, the executive vice president of global brands R&D at Allergan, formerly Actavis. Having previously served in executive roles at Bayer CropScience, Merck, Schering-Plough and Organon, he has extensive knowledge of the development, licensing and management of health and medical products. He has also served on several boards in the biotechnology sector, including Actinium Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Nicholson’s more than 25 years of senior management experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries are assets as IPM expands its product pipeline with different formulations and new antiretroviral drugs, and prepares for potential introduction of the dapivirine ring.
“I am delighted to be joining the Board at this significant point in IPM’s history,” said Dr. Nicholson. “I look forward to contributing to IPM’s efforts to offer innovative health technologies.”
In addition, Dr. Prata brings to the Board expertise in women’s reproductive and maternal health in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. She is the director of the Bixby Center for Population, Health & Sustainability at the University of California, Berkeley, where she is also an associate professor. Dr. Prata has served as the medical director of Venture Strategies Innovations, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing access to essential medicines and services for women and girls in developing countries. A physician and medical demographer with 20 years’ experience in public health research, Dr. Prata conducts research on family planning, reproductive and maternal health interventions, as well as on adolescent sexual health in developing countries.
“I am honored to join IPM and eager to share with the team my experience in creating access to family planning products,” said Dr. Prata.
IPM welcomes these Board members at an exciting and important juncture as efficacy results for its monthly dapivirine ring are anticipated as soon as early 2016. If the ring is effective in reducing the risk of HIV infection, the long-acting tool could become an invaluable prevention option for women, particularly in regions with the highest need such as sub-Saharan Africa. Pending efficacy results, IPM, as the ring’s developer and regulatory sponsor, will seek regulatory approval and collaborate with partners so that it reaches women as quickly possible. In addition, IPM would accelerate its program to combine dapivirine with a contraceptive to continue expanding women’s prevention options.
Dr. Ajayi, Dr. Nicholson, Dr. Prata and the entire Board will provide strategic guidance on the dapivirine ring program and potential access to the product, and will be critical in shaping the organization’s future direction.
“We are thrilled to add the considerable and diverse experience of Drs. Ajayi, Nicholson and Prata to our Board,” said Dr. Zeda Rosenberg, CEO of IPM. “Their insights and guidance will help IPM ensure that an effective dapivirine ring realizes its full potential to slow the HIV epidemic in women as we continue to advance other products in our pipeline to improve women’s sexual and reproductive health.”
IPM is a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing new HIV prevention tools and other sexual and reproductive health technologies for women, and making them available in developing countries. IPM has offices in the United States and South Africa. Please visit www.IPMglobal.org.
Holly Seltzer, hseltzer@IPMglobal.org, +1.301.608.4277