Grant Pickering, MBA
President & Chief Executive Officer, Director and Founder
Grant has nearly 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech arena having responsibility for multiple vaccines and immunotherapeutic drug approvals and the formation and financing of multiple successful platform companies. Prior to starting Vaxcyte, Mr. Pickering was the CEO of Mymetics Corporation, a public European-based vaccine company developing a prophylactic RSV vaccine, based on a virosomal platform technology. Prior to that, he was an executive-in-residence at Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, while serving as the CEO at Juvaris BioTherapeutics, whose immunotherapeutic and vaccine adjuvant platform yielded multiple animal health products launched by its alliance partner Bayer HealthCare, including Zelnate® and Victrio®. Prior to Juvaris, Mr. Pickering spent many years at Dendreon Corporation where he played a prominent role in the company’s IPO and led clinical development, operations and business development culminating in the launch of the therapeutic prostate cancer vaccine, Provenge®. He also led marketing and business development for the pain management platform company, Algos Pharmaceutical Corporation, which was acquired by Endo Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Pickering began his career at Glaxo and Johnson & Johnson in sales, marketing, and clinical research roles culminating in the launches of Flonase® and Floxin®. Mr. Pickering earned his BS degree in marketing from The Pennsylvania State University and his MBA from Georgetown University with high honors. Outside of Vaxcyte, Grant enjoys spending time with his wife and kids, living vicariously through their soccer triumphs, and gives back through mentoring and supporting education both domestically and in developing countries. Grant’s loyalty to his hometown of Kansas City was finally doubly rewarded as both the Royals and the Chiefs were crowned world champions since Vaxcyte got rolling.
Jim Wassil, MS, MBA
Chief Operating Officer
Jim brings extensive experience in the development and commercialization of vaccines having spent the past three decades in positions of increasing responsibility in the vaccine divisions of Merck, Novartis, and Pfizer. He was responsible for the development and launch of Menveo, the meningococcal conjugate vaccine, as well as Bexsero, and the ABCWY vaccine candidate while at Novartis Vaccines. Most recently he worked at Pfizer, Inc as the business unit lead for Pfizer Vaccines, where he was responsible for market access, policy, pricing, tender negotiations, epidemiology and health outcomes for the full vaccine portfolio, including the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine franchise (Prevnar 13). Previously he led international marketing for the pediatric vaccine franchise at Merck Vaccines where he launched RotaTeq®, a vaccine for rotavirus gastroenteritis in infants and children, and held other technical and operational roles of increasing responsibility within research, manufacturing, quality, regulatory, and technology transfer. Mr. Wassil earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry/biology with high honors from the University of Notre Dame and a master of science degree in bio-organic chemistry and a master of business administration degree, both from Lehigh University. In 2014, James received the VIVA Award as Novartis’ top scientist in 2014 for development and approval of Bexsero®. He also was an ACE Finalist (Secretary of State Award for Corporate Excellence) for his role in conducting an effectiveness study of RotaTeq in Nicaragua.
Jeff Fairman, Ph.D.
Vice President of Research and Founder
Jeff has over 20 years of experience in the biotech arena having led the research at multiple platform companies that he co-founded resulting in multiple clinical candidates and approved vaccines and immunotherapeutics. Prior to Vaxcyte, Jeff was the founder and Vice President of Research at Juvaris BioTherapeutics, whose immunotherapeutic & vaccine adjuvant platform yielded multiple animal health products launched by its alliance partner Bayer HealthCare, including Zelnate® and Victrio®. While at Juvaris, Jeff was the recipient of major grant funding from multiple sources, including NIH and NCI, supporting substantial pre-clinical programs and multiple clinical studies. He was responsible for research activities resulting in multiple clinical candidates and the approved animal health products. Prior to Juvaris, Jeff was the Director of Pharmacogenomics at Clingenix and Senior Scientist at Valentis. Dr. Fairman has a Ph.D. in Chemistry and his postdoctoral training was in the genetics of leukemia at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Jeff enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter and has put his amateur taekwondo career on hold, for the time being, to be courtside rooting for his daughter’s school and club volleyball teams.
Andrew Guggenhime, MBA
Chief Financial Officer and Chief Business Officer
Andrew has more than 25 years of experience in finance and corporate development. Prior to joining Vaxcyte, Andrew served as Chief Financial Officer of Dermira, Inc. from April 2014 through the acquisition of the company by Eli Lilly and Company in February 2020. During his time at Dermira, Mr. Guggenhime executed on a wide range of financial and strategic transactions, including the company’s initial public offering, follow-on offerings and the sale of the company; planned and executed the transition to a commercial-stage organization in connection the company’s first product launch; and built and led business planning and process initiatives for multiple corporate functions. Prior to Dermira, Andrew served as Chief Financial Officer for CardioDx, Inc., a privately held commercial-stage molecular diagnostics life sciences company. He also served as Chief Financial Officer for Calistoga Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately held, development-stage company, which was acquired by Gilead Sciences, Inc. in 2011; and as Chief Financial Officer for Facet Biotech Corporation, a biotechnology company that was acquired by Abbott Laboratories in April 2010. He previously served as Chief Financial Officer of PDL BioPharma, Inc. until Facet Biotech was spun off from PDL BioPharma in December 2008. Prior to joining Facet Biotech, Mr. Guggenhime served as Chief Financial Officer for Neoforma, Inc. a provider of supply chain management solutions for the healthcare industry, which was acquired by Global Healthcare Exchange, LLC in March 2006. Mr. Guggenhime began his career in financial services at Merrill Lynch & Co. and Wells Fargo & Company. He currently serves on the board of directors of Metacrine, Inc., a privately held biotechnology company. Mr. Guggenhime holds an M.B.A. from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a B.A. in international politics and economics from Middlebury College. Andrew enjoys spending quality family time and traveling with his wife and three children, skiing, tennis and golf and, as a native San Franciscan, watching his hometown Giants, 49ers and Warriors.
Jane Wright-Mitchell, PharmD, JD
Jane Wright-Mitchell is an experienced healthcare and life sciences attorney with more than 15 years in the industry. She previously served as Chief Legal Officer at AcelRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where she also served as Chief Compliance Officer and Corporate Secretary. Prior to joining AcelRx she held associate general counsel roles at multiple development-stage and commercial-stage biopharmaceutical companies, including Mesoblast, Purdue Pharma, Neurogesx, and Actelion. Prior to that she worked in regulatory affairs at Abbott Laboratories. Most recently, Ms. Wright-Mitchell grew a successful consulting practice advising commercial and development stage clients in the pharmaceutical, medical device and cannabis industries. Ms. Wright-Mitchell’s practice focuses on legal and regulatory compliance, intellectual property, healthcare, corporate, employment, litigation and licensing. She earned a BS in Biological Sciences from Clemson University, a doctorate in pharmacy (PharmD) from University of Illinois and a JD from Chicago-Kent College of Law. She is registered before the US Patent and Trademark Office as well as a licensed pharmacist. Jane is an avid reader, a huge ice hockey fan (Blackhawks and Rangers!) and enjoys traveling the world with her husband.
Paul W Sauer, MBA
Senior Vice President, Process Development & Manufacturing
Paul has over 30 years of experience industrializing biologics for numerous biotechnology companies. Prior to joining Vaxcyte, Paul was VP of Process Sciences & Manufacturing at Igenica Biotherapeutics, where he initiated the company’s development activities and built its supply chain network for GMP manufacturing of its antibody drug conjugates. Prior to that, Paul was Senior Director of Process Development at OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, where he contributed to multiple IND filings for the company’s antibody-based oncology therapies. He also held various process, engineering, scale-up, and manufacturing positions at Protein Design Labs, Scios, and Genentech. Through the years, Paul has contributed to numerous approved biologics, including Genentech’s Activase® and Pulmozyme®. He also contributed significantly to the development of the patented high-yield process that formed the basis for production of Abbvie and Biogen’s ZinbrytaTM, a humanized antibody approved for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. Paul earned an MBA at Santa Clara University and a BS in Genetics from the University of California, Davis. Paul enjoys spending quality time with his family and helping his wife with her non-profit organization focused on transforming health through diet.