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James Merson, Ph.D.



James Merson, Ph.D., is the Global Therapeutic Area Head for Infectious Diseases at Janssen Research & Development, L.L.C. He leads a global team focused on continuously creating and progressing transformational medicines to help fight infectious diseases including influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), HIV and hepatitis B.

James holds more than 25 years of R&D experience in antivirals, vaccines (prophylactic and therapeutic) 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. Throughout his tenure, James led the development of a series antiviral molecules for the treatment of HIV (CCR5 antagonist) and hepatitis C. He also realized the potential of antibacterial macromolecules and the clinical evaluation of novel broad-spectrum antibiotics.

James is committed to exploring new avenues of research in the fight against infectious diseases. In addition to his antiviral expertise, his research has been focused on immuno-oncology and the combination of vaccines, oncolytic viruses and immunomodulators to treat chronic diseases which include various types of cancers.

He holds a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas and a B.A. in biology from Bellarmine College, Louisville, Kentucky. He is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, the British Society of Immunology and the International Society of Vaccines, and has served on several scientific advisory and company boards.