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Inovio promotes Niranjan Sardesai to chief operating officer

Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:INO) has promoted Niranjan Sardesai to chief operating officer to guide the DNA-based vaccine maker to develop new medicines, the company said Wednesday. 

Under this role, Sardesai is in charge of corporate and business development and will oversee research and development for the company.

With him, he brings a broad operating and consulting experience in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals the company said. 

Inovio chief executive Joseph Kim said: "Niranjan brings a strong combination of strategic business, transactional, and technical skills and broad operating experience.

"We are pleased to have him assume this broader responsibility to help guide and execute Inovio's business plan to develop important new vaccines."

Sardesai joined VGX Pharmaceuticals as vice president of research and development in 2006, and had been promoted to SVP of R&D within a year.

Prior to VGX, he founded NVision Consulting a firm focused on entrepreneurial life sciences companies, and served as director of R&D at Fujirebio Diagnostics. 

He has authored more than 40 peer-reviewed publications, presented at over 75 invited lectures and presentations, and filed several patents. 

Sardesai received a Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology and a Masters of Business Administration from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the recipient of the Shils-Zeidman Award in Entrepreneurship.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, formerly Inovio Biomedical Corp., develops DNA-based vaccines focused on cancers and infectious diseases.

Shares of Inovio rose 1.2 cents, or 2.76 percent, climbing to 44.7 cents each today on the New York Stock Exchange.