fbpx Skip to main content


Infectious Diseases & Vaccines: Leadership

Infectious Diseases & Vaccines: Leaders


Infectious Diseases & Vaccines

Infectious Diseases & Vaccines

The structure of HIV
The structure of HIV



James Merson, Ph.D., is the Global Therapeutic Area Head for Infectious Diseases at Janssen Research & Development, L.L.C. He is a member of the Senior R&D Leadership Team, leading the global Infectious Disease therapeutics team as they continue to create and advance transformational medicines to help treat, prevent and cure patients with respiratory infections, HIV and hepatitis B.

James holds more than 30 years of R&D experience in antivirals, vaccines and immuno-oncology. Previously at Pfizer, Inc., he held a succession of leadership positions, including Chief Scientific Officer of the Vaccine Immunotherapeutics Research Unit, co-leader of Infectious Diseases and Head of their Antiviral Therapeutic Area.

James is committed to exploring new avenues of research in the fight against infectious diseases. Under his leadership, Janssen continues to deliver on its robust infectious disease therapeutic pipeline, while also applying cutting-edge science and technologies to help accelerate discovery and development.

In addition to James’s antiviral expertise where he pioneered the development of a series antiviral molecules for the treatment of HIV and hepatitis C, his research has focused on novel avenues of science. These include the exploration of gene therapy to treat HIV, prophylactic vaccines to prevent various infectious diseases, therapeutic vaccines to treat chronic diseases such as asthma, smoking and dyslipidemia, as well as combining immunomodulators with vaccines and oncolytic viruses to treat various types of cancers. He has authored and co-authored more than 45 scientific publications and posters.

James is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, the British Society of Immunology and International Society of Vaccines.

He holds a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas and a Bachelor of Arts in biology from Bellarmine College, Louisville, Kentucky.

Read more:

James Merson, Ph.D.

Global Head
Infectious Diseases



Penny Heaton, M.D., is the Global Therapeutic Area Head for Vaccines at Janssen Research & Development, L.L.C. In this role, she leads a global team focused on developing transformational vaccines to prevent some of the most devastating infectious diseases the world faces today.

Penny holds two decades of vaccine research and development experience. She recently served as the Chief Executive Officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute (Gates MRI), where she led the development of investigational products from pre-clinical through late-stage development against multiple diseases including HIV, TB, malaria, pneumonia, enteric diseases, and polio. She has also led vaccine clinical research and development for companies including Novartis, Merck and Novavax.  Notably, during her time at Meck, Penny co-developed a rotavirus vaccine which has been licensed in more than 100 countries and universally recommended by the World Health Organization for infants worldwide.   

Penny began her career at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducting diarrheal disease surveillance and investigating outbreaks of foodborne and diarrheal diseases, influencing her life-long passion for vaccine development.

A graduate of the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky, Penny is board-certified in Pediatrics and Pediatric Infectious Diseases. She is a member of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Penny Heaton, M.D.

Global Therapeutic Area Head
Janssen Research & Development, LLC



Anthony Fernandez is the Worldwide Vice President, Infectious Diseases and Vaccines, Global Commercial Strategy Organization.  In this role, Anthony is responsible for leading Janssen’s global commercial efforts to build and maximize the value of the ID&V portfolio and pipeline in areas of high unmet needs, including HIV, hepatitis B and D, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza, and multi-drug resistant infections. He has oversight of Strategic Marketing, Market Access, Medical Affairs, and Strategic Analytics resources dedicated to the therapeutic area.

Anthony has had a robust career at Johnson & Johnson, with commercial leadership experience across a diverse therapeutic area mix.  He is highly accomplished in growing specialty portfolios, while advancing the culture and talent development across his teams.  Most recently, Anthony served as Vice President, Marketing & Sales, Dermatology & Rheumatology.  In this role, Anthony led the commercial team in delivering above-market growth by increasing market share for Janssen products within psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.  He championed and deployed major commercial investments in fulfillment capabilities, DTC advertising, field presence, and new clinical programs to drive long-term competitiveness in Janssen Immunology.  Anthony has played significant role in the growth and success of Janssen Immunology since he joined in 2020. 

Before joining Immunology, Anthony was a major contributor to the growth and success of Janssen Oncology.  As Vice President, Marketing & Sales, Hematology, he led the in-house and field teams to double the size of the U.S. hematology business while delivering significant benefit to cancer patients.  Anthony partnered effectively across functions to drive increased investment, optimize the hematology commercial model, and ensure early launch readiness for future assets.  He also played a major role with external alliance partnerships.  As Director of Marketing, Anthony was responsible for leading the launch of a flagship multiple myeloma product in the U.S.

Previously Anthony was a Regional Business Director in Infectious Diseases where he and his team consistently met or exceeded business goals. Prior to this role, Anthony spent time in roles of increasing responsibility spanning multiple areas at J&J, among them Director of Strategic Marketing for Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, a Product Director with the Rheumatology Marketing Team, an Associate Director on the Multiple Myeloma Global Marketing Team, and a Manager of Global Business Analytics.

 Anthony holds a Master’s of Business Administration from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor’s of Engineering from Georgia Tech.

Anthony Fernandez

Worldwide Vice President
Infectious Diseases & Vaccines
Global Commercial Strategy Organization