Letter from the CEO

Dennis Schmatz steps down as Interim CEO of MMV at the end of 2010.

22 Dec 2010

In just a few days I will be stepping down as Interim President & CEO after 9 months in the role. It has been a great experience working closely with the MMV team. While I have known the organization and many of the staff through my role on the MMV Board and as the Chair of the Expert Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC), I now have a much more comprehensive, in-depth understanding of the organization which will help me immensely as I return to the Board and ESAC roles.

MMV is a unique organization that has successfully optimized the Private-Public Partnership (PPP) model resulting in an impressive pipeline of potential future antimalarial agents. Who would have imagined 10 years ago that MMV would have quickly lived up to its promise and facilitated the launch of two new antimalarial products, have 2 new combination products in registration and a totally novel agent in Phase IIA! The team at MMV has not only proved that the PPP model works but has also learned how to get the maximum value out of it.

Our partnerships span the globe. We collaborate with almost all the large multinational pharmaceutical companies and with over 130 organizations focused on the discovery, development and delivery of antimalarial drugs. This is the key to success in the world of virtual research. Just 18 months after being introduced, these invaluable partnerships have helped deliver 45 million treatments of Coartem® Dispersible, MMV’s product developed in partnership with Novartis for children with malaria infections.  

As a result of our significant progress, MMV has continued to receive very generous support from major donors, even through the financial crisis, and we thank them for the confidence they have in MMV and their recognition of the importance of our mission.  

In April 2010 I took on the Interim role here at MMV at the request of the Board, to provide time for a thorough search for the next CEO. The process has led to the recruitment of Dr. David Reddy, who will take on the role of CEO in January 2011. David and I have been working together during this transition period. Based on my interactions with him and the experience he brings, I am very excited about the future of MMV and am confident it is in good hands. As we increase the number of clinical development programs and product launches, the challenge, as always, will be to ensure that our products quickly reach the people who need them the most. David’s international experience in developing and distributing antiviral drugs will be invaluable to MMV’s work in this area.

Another exciting development for 2011 is the appointment of Mr. Ray Chambers to the role of Chairman designate of the MMV Board. Ray will begin his new role with MMV in June 2011 as Baroness Lynda Chalker steps down after serving the maximum two consecutive terms in the role. We would like to thank Lynda for all she has contributed to MMV and her leadership of the MMV Board.

We are honored that Ray has accepted the role of Chairman. He has contributed much to the global community through his philanthropic activities. In his role as United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray has made a significant impact on reducing the mortality rate in children living in malaria-endemic areas. He created the non-profit organization ‘Malaria No More’ which raised over $10 million in 2009. Malaria No More has also distributed 2.6 million insecticide treated bed nets to 13 countries in Africa.

Ray has made his life’s mission to help those in need. He led the “Points of Life Campaign” for US President George Bush Senior, which focused on increasing volunteerism in the US; he co-founded ‘America’s Promise Alliance’ with Colin Powell to support programs serving America’s youth; and is co-founder and chairman of the Millennium Promise Alliance, which is mobilizing private partnerships in support of the campaign to achieve the Millennium Development Goals that focuses on reducing poverty, hunger and disease worldwide.

In closing, I wish to thank the MMV Board for putting their trust in me to manage the organization during this interim period, the MMV staff for welcoming me in to this role and giving me their support and commitment; and of course, all of MMV’s stakeholders and partners I have worked with during this period who continue to provide expertise and support to our organization as partners in the mission.

It has been an incredible experience and I look forward to seeing MMV deliver on its promise to end the suffering and loss of life due to malaria infections.

There are exciting times ahead for MMV. I wish you all a healthy and prosperous 2011.