Mr. Clarke’s original training in the pharmaceutical and vaccine industry was received at Merck and Company, where he held a number of positions, including Vice President of the Merck Vaccine Division and the founding President of Pasteur-Merieux MSD, a European joint venture that commercialized vaccines in the European Union. Since leaving Merck in 1996, his career has focused on leading and advising smaller developmental biotechnology and vaccine companies. Mr. Clarke was previously President and Chief Executive Officer of three biotechnology companies: Neose Technologies, a protein therapeutics company; Aviron, a vaccine company; and U.S. Bioscience, an oncology company. MedImmune acquired both Aviron (in 2001) and U.S. Bioscience (in 1999) for a combined value of $2 billion. Mr. Clarke has served as Chairman of the Board of QLT (an ocular company) and Mersana Therapeutics (an oncology company), and as Executive Chairman of LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals (a vaccine company), in which he oversaw the sale of the company to Takeda Pharamceuticals in 2012. He has also served as a board member or advisor to OraVax (a vaccine company) and Rib-X (an antibiotic company). In these capacities, he has developed significant expertise in the challenges of small company leadership, strategic management, business development, and mergers and acquisitions.
FluGen was founded in 2007 in Madison, Wisconsin by Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka, Dr. Gabriele Neumann and Mr. Paul Radspinner in response to the need for significant improvement in existing methods of preventing and treating influenza infections. Kawaoka, Neumann and Radspinner recognized an extraordinary opportunity to parlay Kawaoka’s virology work and Neumann’s reverse genetics breakthrough into a successful biotech business. Within just a few months, FluGen secured seed funding, a healthy valuation and experienced board members and supporters. The new Board Member will be announced at the next financing expected July 2015.