Phil Dormitzer, one of the scientists behind Pfizer's mRNA COVID-19 injection, has been hired as GSK's global head of R&D for vaccines and will start on December 3, the British company announced on Tuesday.GSK logo – EPSA blog

GSK is beefing up its ranks after falling behind in its early efforts to produce a coronavirus vaccine by poaching one of Pfizer's top vaccine experts who played a key role in developing the shot with BioNTech.

"Vaccines' relevance has never been clearer, and the rate of technological progress has never been faster... Phil's scientific expertise and extensive experience... will be critical in ensuring that we maintain our position as a leader in this sector "GSK's chief scientific officer and R&D president, Hal Barron, stated.

Dormitzer's nomination is also a win for GSK CEO Emma Walmsley, who is defending the company against activist shareholders. As GSK prepares to spin off its consumer health business, she has been questioned about her leadership as well as the scientific knowledge of the corporation.

GSK has so far concentrated on developing adjuvant technologies to strengthen the immune response to other people's vaccinations and has partnered with firms like Vir and CureVac to create treatments and better mRNA vaccines.

Dormitzer's departure from Pfizer was verified by the business.

In a statement, Pfizer said, "We are thankful to Phil for his deep contribution to Pfizer’s scientific efforts and his unwavering commitment to global health,"