Dr. Christian Brander and Dr. Mala Maini Join World-class Scientific Advisory Board of AstriVax

  • Christian Brander, Ph.D., is a leading expert on T cell responses to viral infections and brings an important blend of academic and biotech experience.
  • Mala Maini, MD, Ph.D., is a professor of viral immunology at University College London with key expertise in adaptive immunity to hepatitis B, liver cancer, and SARS-CoV-2.  
  • Together with the other distinguished vaccine development experts on the company’s scientific advisory board, they will support AstriVax in advancing its innovative plug-and-play vaccine platform.

Leuven, Belgium, August 21, 2023 – AstriVax is pleased to announce that Dr. Christian Brander and Dr. Mala Maini have agreed to join the company’s scientific advisory board. Together, the scientific advisors to AstriVax now boast decades of experience in academic research and biotech, combined with invaluable expertise in infectious diseases, vaccines, and global health management.

Hanne Callewaert, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of AstriVax, said: “I am grateful that Christian and Mala have agreed to join our scientific advisory board. Christian’s expertise in immunology and therapeutic vaccines makes him a valuable asset for AstriVax, especially because our technology has great potential in therapeutic vaccines, and we are unlocking the full potential of our platform by expanding our pipeline in that field. I’m also thrilled to have award-winning viral immunologist Mala Maini on board, as her work on hepatitis B and her expertise on improving immunotherapeutic outcomes are invaluable to AstriVax. I look forward to working with them and their fellow scientific advisors: chair Emmanuel Hanon and leading vaccine development experts Peter Piot, Patrick Soentjens, Johan Neyts, and Kai Dallmeier. Together, we will continue to advance the vaccine technology of AstriVax to address unmet challenges in global health.”

Christian Brander, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Professor at the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA). He brings ample experience in studying T cell responses to viral infections, including cancer-driving viruses and hepatitis and herpes viruses in the context of HIV co-infection and in transplant recipients. He played a key role in providing some of the largest data sets on T cell activity to HIV and their association with relative HIV control. Dr. Brander has also established several HIV-infected and uninfected cohorts in Peru, the US, and Europe to study potentially protective host immunity. He is a curator of the Los Alamos National Laboratories HIV immunology database and co-founded Aelix Therapeutics, a Barcelona-based biotech company dedicated to developing HIV cure vaccine strategies.

Mala Maini, MD, Ph.D., is a professor of viral immunology and consultant physician in viral hepatitis, based in the Institute of Immunity and Transplantation at University College London (UCL). Her lab studies adaptive immunity to hepatitis B, liver cancer, and SARS-CoV-2 to inform the development of immunotherapies and vaccines. Through access to well-characterized patient cohorts, human tissue samples, and various models, the studies provide insights into manipulating beneficial and dysfunctional T and B cell responses for improved immunotherapeutic outcomes. The Maini lab has identified novel roles for T cells in aborting viral infection and their regulation in tissues by cross-talk with neighboring NK cells and myeloid cells. Mala Maini was awarded Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Awards in 2013 and 2019 and elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2016. 

Media Contact                                               

Hanne Callewaert, Ph.D., CEO of AstriVax, info@astrivax.com.

About AstriVax

Founded in 2022, AstriVax NV aims to address global challenges in vaccinology with its innovative plug-and-play vaccine platform. The company develops novel prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines that are easy to produce, have reduced cold chain requirements, and offer broad and long-lasting protection against various infectious diseases. AstriVax is supported by well-known investors V-Bio Ventures, Fund+, Flanders Future TechFund managed by PMV, Thuja Capital, Ackermans & van Haaren, OMX Europe Venture Fund (Mérieux Equity Partners and Korys), BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity, and the KU Leuven Gemma Frisius Fund.

AstriVax is located in the BioHub in Leuven. For more information, please visit www.astrivax.com.