Kara Bickham

Chief Medical Officer at Affinivax

Kara Bickham brings over 20 years of infectious disease expertise to Affinivax across clinical practice, academic research and vaccine development. She most recently served as the Program Lead for the pediatric clinical program for Vaxneuvance®, a 15-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine being developed by Merck & Co., Inc. In this role, she led a large cross-functional team which was responsible for 13 clinical trials, enrolling more than 12,000 participants, across more than 30 countries. Dr. Bickham also was a key clinical team member for the adult clinical program for Vaxneuvance,®, and also served as the Program Lead for Zostavax®, the first vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the prevention of herpes zoster (shingles) in individuals 50 years of age and older. Prior to joining Merck, she held research positions at the Center for Translational Immunology at Columbia University and the Ralph M. Steinman Laboratory of Cellular Physiology and Immunology at The Rockefeller University. She began her clinical career in pediatric infectious diseases at Weill Cornell Medical College. She holds a B.S. in Neuroscience from Texas Christian University and an M.D. from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.


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  • Chief Medical Officer

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