MCD Inc.

Team Profile

Stephen L. Hoffman M.D., D.T.M.H., D.Sc. (hon), FASTMH, CAPT, MC, USN (RET)
Chief Executive and Scientific Officer, Sanaria


Dr. Hoffman has over 25 years of experience building and managing large, successful research and development programs. From 1987-2001 he was Director of the Malaria Program at the Naval Medical Research Center where he built a focused professional team of over 100 individuals in the United States and overseas working on all aspects of malaria research, but especially vaccine development and genomics. Dr. Hoffman and his team were leaders in the effort to sequence the P. falciparum genome and conducted the first studies in the world that showed that DNA vaccines elicited killer T cell responses in humans. In early 2001 Dr. Hoffman retired from the Navy and joined Celera Genomics as Senior Vice President of Biologics to create a program to utilize genomics and proteomics to produce new biopharmaceuticals. He established this program, organized the effort that successfully sequenced the genome of the mosquito responsible for most transmission of malaria in Africa, Anopheles gambiae, and left Celera in August 2002 to found Sanaria. He holds several professorships, and chairs or serves on multiple advisory boards. He is a past president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, has edited two books on malaria vaccine development, been the author of more than 380 scientific publications, and has numerous patents. He is the most highly cited author in the world for scientific papers on malaria published between 1995 and 2005. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, M.D. from Cornell University Medical College, Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and did residency training at the University of California, San Diego. He is board certified in Family Practice. In 2004 he was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

B. Kim Lee Sim, PhD
Executive Vice President Process Development and Manufacturing, Sanaria


Dr. Sim, has been associated with Sanaria since its inception, and is a member of the board of Sanaria. She is also President and Chief Scientific Officer of Protein Potential LLC (www.proteinpotential.com), a vaccine development company, which she founded in 2003. Dr. Sim did her undergraduate (B.Sc., Honors, First Class) and graduate studies (M.Sc., Ph.D.) at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After a post doctoral fellowship in molecular biology at Harvard School of Public Health, she was a research scientist at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and an adjunct faculty at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, a research assistant professor at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and an Expert at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH. In 1993 Dr. Sim left the NIH to join a start up company, EntreMed Inc, as Research Director of Molecular Biology, and in 1999 she was appointed Vice President Pre-Clinical Research and Development. At EntreMed, Dr. Sim established and managed the development program for anti-angiogenic proteins for the therapy of cancer, and developed the process that led to the cGMP manufacture of tens of kilograms of recombinant Angiostatin and Endostatin, two anti-angiogenic proteins that entered Phase II clinical trials. Dr. Sim has published more than 85 scientific papers, and has 7 issued and more than 15 pending patents.

Peter F. Billingsley, PhD
Vice President of International Projects and Strategy, Sanaria


Dr. Peter F. Billingsley holds a BSc (Hons) in Agricultural Zoology from the University of Leeds (1981) and a PhD in Biology from Queen's University, Canada (1985). After a first research fellowship at the Swiss Tropical Institute in Basel, he moved to Imperial College, London, where he was the recipient of a prestigious Royal Society University Research Fellowship and where he established his own research team. Dr. Billingsley was later Head of Zoology and Coordinator of Postgraduate Studies at the University of Aberdeen (Scotland, UK) (1995-2004), and led a team of up to 14 research staff and students. He has published over 100 peer reviewed articles in medical entomology, parasitology and vaccinology within the themes of disease transmission, vector-parasite interactions, immune interplay between blood feeding arthropods and their hosts, and development and clinical testing of PfSPZ Vaccine and PfSPZ Challenge. Dr. Billingsley is integrated into all aspects of the Sanaria program, but is particularly responsible for working with the international partners and clinical sites; this includes coordinating the International PfSPZ Consortium efforts. He has served on the editorial boards of numerous international journals, currently restricting his efforts to the Malaria Journal. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and of the Royal Society of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Marcel Tanner, PhD
Director, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute


Dr. Marcel Tanner obtained a PhD on medical biology from the University of Basel and a MPH from the University of London. He is Director of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and Professor of Epidemiology and Medical Parasitology at the University of Basel and at the Federal Institute of Technology. Since 1977, his research ranges from basic research on the cell biology and immunology on malaria, schistosomiasis, trypanosomiasis and filariasis to epidemiological and public health research on risk assessment, vulnerability, health impact and district health planning. His research, teaching and health planning expertise are based on substantial long term experience from working in rural and urban areas in Africa (mainly Tanzania, Chad, Burkina Faso and Cote d Ivoire) and Asia (China, Thailand, Laos). He was co-investigator and coordinator of the first African malaria vaccine trial in 1992 and participated as co-principal investigator in several major intervention trials on malaria (iron supplementation, intermittent preventive treatment) and schistosomiasis. Besides research the capacity building and North-South partnership was a main interest as reflected in the development of the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania. He has published extensively in the many fields (>500 original papers). He also acted and acts as advisor on communicable diseases.

Salim Abdulla, PhD
Director, Ifakara Health Institute (IHI)


Currently, Dr.Abdulla is involved in the evaluation of malaria vaccines and new malaria treatments for regulatory licensure at the Bagamoyo branch of the Institute. Previously, he worked on the large-scale evaluation of insecticide-treated bed nets and artemisinin-based combinations for national policy formulation. He was also involved in multi-country evaluation of mortality patterns and malaria transmission in demographic surveillance sites across Africa. Dr. Abdulla joined IHI in 1996 and is among the key persons behind its development. In 2005, he was instrumental in establishing IHI Bagamoyo branch. He serves as advisor to various technical committees in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Tanzania. His professional interests include the translation of research results into policy, clinical epidemiology and health research capacity development. He received his medical degree from the University of Dar-es Salaam, a MSc in epidemiology from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a PhD from the Swiss Tropical Institute and University of Basel.

Mitoha Ondo'o Ayekaba
Corporate Social Responsibility Coordinator


Mitoha Ondo'o Ayekaba is an African writer, an economist, and a public policy graduate from Equatorial Guinea. He currently serves as the Vice Minister of Health and Social Welfare for Equatorial Guinea. He previously worked as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Coordinator at Marathon Oil Equatorial Guinea Production Limited (MEGPL), a US-based oil and gas company with the heaviest presence of the hydrocarbon sector in this tiny West African country. Until 2011, Mitoha worked as MEGPL's Business Coordinator, being the main advisor to the Resident Manager for creating the best conditions for the social investment strategy and engagement with many arms of the local government. During that time, he participated in the successful negotiations of several oil agreements. Mitoha has led the involvement of MEPGLs largest CSR project, the Bioko Island Malaria Control Program, facilitating the implementation of mosquito control, bednet distributions, drug treatments and malaria diagnostic improvements. He also produced MEGPL's first ever Enterprise Risk Analysis; which serves as a tool for the identification of some of the potential operational, political and social risks for the company. He was promoted to serve as a CSR Coordinator in early 2012, where he has continued coordinating BIMCP implementation but expanded it to include a major capacity-building activity that is a the core of the Equatorial Guinea Malaria Vaccine Initiative (EGMVI). Through the EGMVI, Mitoha is working with a major international consortium of malaria researchers to advance the testing of the Sanaria® PfSPZ Vaccine by increasing the number of trained staff, establishing a national ethical review committee, and building a new clinical research laboratory. He has been at the heart of the negotiations that have secured multimillion dollar funding from the Government of Equatorial Guinea and the oil and gas sector for these two programmes. Mitoha had previously combined his passion for research and academic work by teaching courses on Natural Resource Economy and on Gender and Feminism at the Universidad Nacional de Guinea Ecuatorial and at the University of Washington, respectively. Mitoha is a published writer, with his fiction writings having appeared in anthologies of the literature of Equatorial Guinea.

Carl Maas, PhD
Corporate Social Responsibility Manager


Dr. Carl Maas obtained a PhD in social welfare with a focus on Prevention Science from the University of Washington (Seattle, Washington). Dr. Maas is the Manager of Marathon EG Production Limited’s (MEGPL) Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) group, situated in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. As Manager, he set up the Equato-Guinean Malaria Vaccine Initiative (EGMVI) as a public-private initiative with the Government of Equatorial Guinea, committing $48 million (USD) to fund the EGMVI aims. In addition to the EGMVI, he manages the Bioko Island Malaria Control Program funds, and oversees a variety of smaller health and education projects that complement MEGPL’s CSR portfolio. Prior to working with MEGPL, Dr. Maas was an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina in the College of Social Work (2010 – 2012), as well as director of the Dual Social Work-Public Health Masters’ program. As a National Institute of Mental Health Prevention Fellow (2006 – 2010), his research focused on prevention of family violence, as well as developing public health based gender violence prevention programs in Latino communities in the US Southeast. Published research focuses on community focused resource and violence metrics, and mapping childhood to adulthood violence perpetration and victimization. Dr. Maas has over 25 years’ experience as a practitioner and researcher in the area of community development, women in development programs, and community based violence prevention programming in the United States and Central America with such organizations as the US AID, Prevent Child Abuse America, and the Duke Endowment.