Finnish vaccine development company Rokote Laboratories Finland Oy is pleased to announce the appointment of its Research and Development Director, Erkko Ylösmäki, as the new CEO, effective January 1, 2024. The company plans to initiate clinical trials for its vaccine by the end of summer 2024, at the earliest. Current CEO, PhD (Pharm) Tuija Keinonen, will continue to serve as an advisor to the board and management.
"Rokote Laboratories is now operating at full capacity. Over the past two years, the company has achieved numerous successes, including patent applications, preclinical studies, and vaccine production. It is ready to commence clinical trials as soon as the required vaccine batch is produced by our contract manufacturer. With the significant groundwork completed and critical milestones achieved, it is an excellent time to pass the reins to Erkko, a key figure in the company since its inception. Our collaboration has been highly fruitful, and I have complete confidence in his professional and scientific leadership," says Tuija Keinonen.
"I am honored to continue the remarkable work initiated by Tuija. The organization that Rokote Laboratories is today, is due to her visionary leadership. I am grateful for the invaluable guidance and mentorship she has provided. As we look to the future, I have full confidence in our team's capabilities and commitment to advancing vaccine development," comments Erkko Ylösmäki, the current Research and Development Director.
The board of Rokote Laboratories expresses satisfaction that the new CEO was found internally.
"We are extremely grateful to Tuija for her valuable work in building the foundation of the company and leading it to a stage where the new CEO can seamlessly continue. It is important that Tuija is not leaving the company entirely but will serve as an advisor to our board. Simultaneously, we warmly welcome Erkko to his new role. Rokote Laboratories will continue to focus on developing innovative vaccines against infectious diseases. We look forward with confidence to seeing where Rokote Laboratories will go under Erkko's leadership," says Seppo Ylä-Herttuala, Chairman of the board.
Clinical trials are expected to start by the end of summer 2024 at the earliest
Challenges in vaccine production have delayed the initiation of clinical trials, but at the same time, adjustments have been made to the clinical trial protocol. It now includes a previously unvaccinated group, meaning that Rokote Laboratories' vaccine will also be investigated as a primary vaccine.
The ongoing global health situation due to the coronavirus remains a significant threat, particularly for at-risk populations. Rokote Laboratories aims to be one of the most innovative players in global vaccine development. The company emphasizes its unique position as the only pharmaceutical company in Europe actively developing a nasal coronavirus vaccine. Supported by a robust foundation, expertise, and collaborative networks, the company is well-positioned to shape the future of vaccine development.
Rokote Laboratories Finland Oy is a Finnish company developing a vaccine against the coronavirus. The vaccine is based on gene transfer technology developed by Seppo Ylä-Herttuala's research group, which has already been successfully used in several clinical trials for gene therapy to treat cardiovascular diseases and cancer. In the summer of 2021, the company secured 9 million euros in funding from Ferring Ventures SA, the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, the Finnish Cultural Foundation, and Business Finland for the development of a nasal coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine is based on research conducted at the University of Helsinki and the University of Eastern Finland. The research collaboration has involved Professor of Virology Kalle Saksela, Academician Kari Alitalo, Academy Professor Seppo Ylä-Herttuala, and Pasi Kemppainen, MSc (Technology). Both universities are also shareholders in Rokote Laboratories Finland Oy.
Chairman of the Board
Seppo Ylä-Herttuala, University of Eastern Finland
tel. +358 40 355 2075
Tuija Keinonen, Rokote Laboratories Finland Oy
tel. +358 50 555 1541
R&D Director (CEO starting from January 1, 2024)
Erkko Ylösmäki, Rokote Laboratories Finland Oy
tel. +358 40 583 6604