Ruxandra Draghia-Akli, MD, PhD, leads Johnson & Johnson Global Public Health R&D, advancing discovery, development, and technology capabilities in collaboration with internal and external partners. Ruxandra’s deep knowledge of R&D is matched by an equally deep commitment to improving health for everyone, everywhere. Her passion for improving health equity has propelled novel approaches to entrenched, expanding, and emerging health threats.
While leading the Health Directorate at the Research and Innovation DG of the European Commission, she launched the Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI), the largest public-private biopharma partnership in Europe and the numerous international consortia, including in infectious diseases. She was a founder and head of research at ADViSYS, Inc. and VGX Pharmaceuticals (now Inovio). Recently, she helped shepherd cross-industry innovation as the Co-Chair of the Therapeutics Clinical Working Group of Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) at NIH.
Ruxandra holds an MD from Carol Davila University, Romania, and a PhD in human genetics from the Romanian Academy of Medical Sciences. She undertook doctoral training at University René Descartes in Paris and postdoctoral training at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, focusing on rare diseases, molecular biology, gene therapy, and novel vaccines.