Dr. George R. Siber Receives 2016 Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Award
WASHINGTON, D.C. — April 19, 2016 — The Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin) will present the 2016 Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Award to George R. Siber, M.D., chief scientific officer of ClearPath Vaccines Company. Dr. Siber will be recognized tonight at a ceremony in Baltimore, for his outstanding contributions to immunology and infectious disease research through the development of life-saving vaccines for childhood diseases, including pneumococcus, Hib and meningococcus.
“We are proud to present this year’s Albert B. Sabin Gold medal award to Dr. George Siber for his commitment to the field of vaccinology, including his work in characterizing immune responses to polysaccharides; defining the protective serologic correlates; and leading the development of effective vaccines to prevent pneumococcal diseases,” said Peter J. Hotez, M.D., Ph.D., president of Sabin. “For more than three decades, Dr. Siber has worked to develop innovative vaccines, therapeutic antibodies and diagnostic agents for infectious diseases. These products have prevented countless cases of childhood diseases worldwide and saved an untold number of lives.”
Since the 1980s, Dr. Siber has played a major role in preventing infectious diseases. During his time as director of the Massachusetts Public Health Biologic Laboratories and a Harvard Medical School Associate Professor of Medicine at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Dr. Siber led the research and manufacturing of multiple vaccines and immune globulins including Respigam, a human immune globulin used to prevent respiratory syncytial virus infections in high-risk infants. He also served as executive vice president and chief scientific officer of Wyeth Vaccines (now Pfizer) from 1996 to 2007. While at Wyeth, Dr. Siber was instrumental in the development and approval of multiple widely-used childhood vaccines including Prevnar®, a pneumococcal vaccine, which has dramatically reduced mortality globally.
“I am honored to have been chosen by my peers for this award, which commemorates Dr. Sabin’s extraordinary legacy,” said Dr. Siber. “I hope that we will continue to build on the significant advancements we have made in field of vaccinology to prevent needless suffering from vaccine-preventable diseases.”
Following the introduction of 7-valent Prevnar, Dr. Siber made critical observations that led to the addition of six additional key serotypes to subsequent Prevnar formulations to provide added protection for children and vulnerable adults. Dr. Siber’s portfolio at Wyeth also included Acel-Imune®, an acellular pertussis vaccine; Meningitec®, a meningococcal meningitis vaccine; Rotashield, an oral rotavirus diarrhea vaccine; and FluMist, a nasal influenza vaccine.
In the United States alone, Dr. Siber’s pneumococcal conjugate vaccine has reduced pneumococcus hospitalizations by an estimated 178,000 cases annually. In addition, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, estimates that, between 2011 and 2020, the vaccine will have prevented 1.5 million deaths in Gavi-supported countries.
Dr. Siber is an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. His past academic appointments include positions at Harvard Medical School, the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Tufts University School of Medicine. He earned a medical degree from McGill University in Canada; received postdoctoral training in internal medicine at Rush Presbyterian Hospital in Chicago and Beth Israel Hospital in Boston; and trained in infectious diseases and vaccinology at Children’s Hospital and Beth Israel Hospital through a joint Harvard Medical School program.
He currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Genocea Biosciences, Selecta Biosciences and Affinivax, and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul, Korea. Dr. Siber is currently a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of PaxVax, Vaxess, Veritas Gene and CureVac.
The annual Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Award recognizes a distinguished member of the public health community who has made extraordinary contributions in the field of vaccinology or a complementary field. The award commemorates the legacy of Dr. Sabin, who developed the oral live virus polio vaccine that is widely heralded with making a huge contribution to the near eradication of polio worldwide.
This event would not have been possible without support from our sponsors, including: Affinivax, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Genocea Biosciences, ClearPath Vaccines, CureVac, Merck & Co. Inc., PaxVax, Pfizer, Sanofi Pasteur and Takeda.
About the Sabin Vaccine Institute
The Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization of scientists, researchers and advocates dedicated to reducing needless human suffering from vaccine-preventable and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Since its founding in 1993 in honor of Dr. Albert B. Sabin, the developer of the oral polio vaccine, Sabin has been at the forefront of global efforts to eliminate, prevent and cure infectious and neglected tropical diseases.
Sabin develops new vaccines, advocates for increased use of existing vaccines and promotes expanded access to affordable medical treatments in collaboration with governments, academic institutions, scientists, medical professionals and other non-profit organizations. For more information please visit www.sabin.org.