iiCON welcomes global clinical leader as new Director of Experimental Medicine

iiCON has welcomed Professor Stephen Gordon as Director of Experimental Medicine.

This senior role will bring together global partners and help shape the consortium’s long-term infection R&D strategy.

A global respiratory specialist, Professor Gordon brings many years of senior experience in Clinical and Experimental Medicine to his new role. Educated at the University of Cambridge and trained in General Medicine in Oxford, Zambia and Belfast, he specialised in Respiratory Medicine as a Clinical Lecturer at Sheffield University and completed Wellcome Trust Training and Career Development Fellowships studying susceptibility to pulmonary infections in Malawi.

He led the prestigious and impactful Respiratory Group within Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) for ten years, before taking up a seven-year tenure as Director of the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome (MLW) Trust Clinical Research Programme, a partnership between the Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, the University of Liverpool and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, with funding from the Wellcome Trust.

Professor Gordon joins iiCON at a pivotal time in the consortium’s program. Since launching in 2020, iiCON has grown to become a significant (£200M+) programme. The consortium has ambitious targets for developing new commercially facing technology and is acting as a major driver of growth in the Liverpool City Region. iiCON’s lead partner, LSTM has also invested significantly in its clinical trials’ infrastructure over the last five years – leading to notable commercial collaborations and substantial industry interest as it builds its portfolio of clinical translational activity.

Professor Gordon will support and oversee the successful growth and development of this activity, working closely with colleagues at LSTM and iiCON, including iiCON’s founding director Professor Janet Hemingway, as a senior clinical focal point for future development to take this translational activity to the next level.

Within iiCON, Professor Gordon will lead a translational clinical research group and interact with major UK and international companies and collaborative research and capacity building networks including NIHR: National Institute for Health and Care Research Biomedical Research Centres, Units and Hubs, Wellcome Africa and Asia Programmes, UKRI/MRC Centres and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation programmes.

He will innovate and collaborate with these key global partners to develop improved models in clinical trials and to deploy these models in the efficient assessment of new vaccines, therapeutics, and therapeutic strategies.

He will also play a key role in designing and delivering the North-West based Supercluster around Infection R&D, with a key focus on capacity development within the region. This will include strengthening clinical trial preparedness and translation to production, not only in the North West but also across partner sites in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMIC) in Africa and Asia.  He will also promote expanded manufacturing capacity both in the North West and in LMIC partners where possible, pursuing equitable partnerships both in the UK and internationally.

Professor Gordon will continue to play a key role in supporting the implementation of the Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Programme’s CREATOR project.

Professor Janet Hemingway, iiCON’s founding director, said: “Stephen joins us at an incredibly exciting time for the consortium and we are delighted to have him on board as our Director of Experimental Medicine. This is a critical senior role for iiCON that will help shape our long-term strategy and drive forward our translational activity both regionally and across Africa and Asia.

“He has vast experience as a committed leader who has made a significant contribution to innovative translational research, training, and clinical care throughout his career at both LSTM and the MLW Trust Clinical Research Programme.  With a strong track record in training and developing the next generation of infectious disease leaders both during his time at LSTM and in Malawi, Stephen will play a key role within iiCON as we continue to grow and look to super-charge our translational activity – creating a super cluster for infection R&D within the North West and strengthening capability both regionally and within our global network.”

Professor Stephen Gordon said: “I am delighted to be joining the iiCON team.  The prospect of being part of a team committed to bringing innovative new products through to impact across the world is exciting.  The synergism with MLW and the CREATOR programme in Malawi is part of that ambition, and it will be important to construct partnerships that bring clear benefit both to Malawi and the North West of England.

“There are some very good examples of partnership in Malawi, of which MLW is one, and wonderful opportunities for further mutual benefit in research to benefit health and in training the next generation.”

iiCON is a consortium led by Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) comprised of partners Unilever, Liverpool University Hospitals Foundation Trust, University of Liverpool, LifeArc, Evotec, and Infex Therapeutics. The programme brings together industry, academia, and clinicians to accelerate the discovery, development and deployment of new treatments and innovations– saving and improving millions of lives globally through collaborative innovation.