Meet Our Key Opinion Leaders

During the conference, we look forward to discussing the latest data & trends at CROI 2020. Below you can explore the profiles of a few of ViiV Healthcare’s own opinion leaders.

Currently lead for the ViiV Healthcare Discovery organisation, Mark Cockett is responsible for delivering new HIV drug candidates that are aligned to future medical needs into clinical development; and providing research support for clinical development assets as they progress in the clinic. Mark joined ViiV Healthcare in February this year with the acquisition of Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) HIV pipeline assets. Previously Mark was VP of Discovery Infectious Diseases at BMS (2008-2016), responsible for delivery of antiviral therapeutics into the pipeline. His team at BMS has delivered marketed products targeting HIV, HBV and HCV as well as the pipeline of HIV drugs recently acquired by ViiV Healthcare. Prior to this at BMS Mark was VP, Applied Genomics (2003-2008) and Executive Director, Functional Genomics (2000-2003) and in those roles led a team that supported all therapeutic areas with genomics technologies and bioinformatics.

Before joining BMS, Mark worked for 7 years in the Neuroscience group at Wyeth, ultimately as Director, molecular & cell biology, and for 10 years in the biotech industry for Celltech PLC, where he worked on mammalian gene expression technology and in oncology. Whilst at Celltech he obtained his Ph.D. in collaboration with the Strangeway Research Laboratory, Cambridge, UK working on the involvement of matrix metalloproteinases in tumour cell invasion.

Mark has published over 50 peer reviewed articles in the field of recombinant gene expression in mammalian cells; the biochemistry and function of several matrix metalloproteinase enzymes and their role in disease; in the field of heterotrimeric G protein signaling; Genomics in the pharmaceutical industry and most recently several virology publications.


Dr Harmony Garges is our Chief Medical Officer. She is responsible for Regulatory, Safety and Medical Affairs. In 2005, Harmony joined the Infectious Diseases group at GSK and spent several years working on global development programs, as project physician leader for Fosamprenavir, Valtrex and Altabax, leading to three successful NDA/MAA files for new or expanded indications.  Harmony provided medical leadership and strategy for the development of various other anti-infectives through phases I to III, including the FTIH dolutegravir trial. 

She then joined Global Clinical Safety & Pharmacovigilance, where she provided safety strategy and governance for several large global clinical development programs in Pharma, and as Global VP of the Mature Products Safety Group, with accountability for the safety of over 500 marketed products across the Pharma and Consumer Healthcare (CH) portfolio. Harmony spent three years as the Chief Medical Officer for GSK's Consumer Healthcare business, where she was accountable for all aspects of product safety and medical governance for the global portfolio, and led the medical organisation though the complex JV integration with Novartis.
Harmony graduated with high honors from Colgate University with a degree in Chemistry. She obtained her MD degree and completed her pediatrics residency at Duke University. Following a year as Chief Resident, she completed pediatric infectious diseases and Medical Microbiology fellowships at Duke, along with her MPH in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Harmony is board-certified in General Pediatrics, Medical Microbiology and Pediatrics Infectious Diseases. Harmony is Adjunct Faculty at Duke, where she continues to provide patient care in the Duke Pediatric HIV/ clinic.


As the head of research and development for ViiV Healthcare, Dr. Kimberly Smith MD, MPH oversees the clinical development of our pipeline assets in support of our overall company strategy to deliver meaningful advances in treatment and care for people living with HIV.

Dr. Smith is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Medicine and also holds a MPH degree from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She completed her internship, residency, and Infectious Disease fellowship at Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago. Following her training she joined the faculty of the Section of Infectious Disease at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
Prior to joining ViiV Healthcare in late 2013, Dr. Smith served as the Principle Investigator of the Rush University Medical Center Clinical Research Site of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG). Dr. Smith also served as the chair of the ACTG Underrepresented Populations committee and chair of multiple ACTG clinical trials. She has been a member of NIH study sections, the HIVMA Board of Directors, the CDC Board of Scientific Counselors and numerous advisory committees. Dr. Smith has published over 100 articles, abstracts and manuscripts and she co-edited one of the few books, HIV/AIDS in U.S. Communities of Color, which addressed the HIV epidemic among minorities in the US. 

In addition to her research activities Dr. Smith has been an active HIV clinician, clinical educator, community leader and advocate. She has lectured at countless local national and international conferences including the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), the International AIDS Conference, The International Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, and Infectious Disease Society of America.


Dr. Benjamin Young is Head, Global Medical Directors of ViiV Healthcare. From 2012 to 2018, Dr. Young was Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care, one of the world’s largest organizations of HIV healthcare providers. Among his multiple responsibilities, he coordinated evidence-informed public health and human rights policies with the United Nations and the World Health Organization. 

For over 20 years, Dr. Young was a HIV clinician and clinical researcher in Denver, Colorado and developed international experience while working in Central Asia for two years as Head of Medical Affairs for Health Connections International, an Amsterdam-based non-governmental organization. His academic and research credentials include involvement as Principal Investigator in the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention HIV Outpatient Study (HOPS; 1998-2018), Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado and Adjunct Professor of International Studies at the University of Denver. Having authored more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles and book chapters relating to HIV and its treatment, Dr. Young has shared his HIV expertise through worldwide education programs where he has trained healthcare professionals and community groups in over 50 countries. This included time devoted to training physicians in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Latin America, where his exposure to a polio epidemic and coup d’état influenced his professional perspective and worldview.

Dr. Young received his MD in 1992 from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1990, working in the laboratory of Nobel laureate Thomas Cech at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Following his medical training, he completed a residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. His undergraduate work was at the University of California at San Diego, where he received a BA in 1983

Dr. Charles Hicks joined ViiV Healthcare as a Senior Global Medical Director in November 2017. He has more than 30 years of experience in academic HIV medicine at Duke University and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) where served as director of the Owen Clinic at UCSD, the university’s HIV Medicine clinic. During his career he has served as a teacher, a mentor, a clinician and a clinical research scientist. His work at ViiV is intended to make good use of his decades of experience caring for PLWH and doing high impact clinical research to improve management strategies in the clinic.

Dr. Hicks has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and was a tenured Professor of Medicine. He has been an investigator in many antiretroviral treatment studies over the years, including work with the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG). He has also served on a wide range of review groups and advisory panels including recent membership in the United States Department of Health and Human Services Antiretroviral Treatment Guidelines Panel.

Dr. Jose Gatell joined ViiV Healthcare as Senior Global Medical Director in May 2018. He obtained a degree in Medicine in 1976 from the University of Barcelona and a PhD from the same University in 1981 (summa cum laude). He trained in Internal Medicine (1976-80) in the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona and in Infectious Diseases (1980-82) both at the Massachusetts General Hospital (Harvard Medical School, Boston) and at Hospital Clinic of Barcelona. He was Head and Senior Consultant of the Infectious Diseases & AIDS Units at the Hospital Clinic and Professor of Medicine at the University of Barcelona.

Since May 1st 2018 he is Honorary professor of Medicine at the University of Barcelona. With more than 35 years of experience in HIV medicine, Dr. Gatell has published more than 1000 articles in international journals cited more than 34,000 times (h factor of 92; 92 articles cited more than 92 times). He is co-author of more than 50 books on infectious diseases and AIDS and principal author of several books including: A practical Guide to AIDS (16 editions in Spanish) and A Practical Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy (27 editions in Spanish and 2 in English). His main research lines in the field of AIDS are clinical investigation of new antivirals and combinations. Since 2006 he is also focusing on the development of candidates for HIV therapeutic and preventative vaccines in the setting of the HIVACAT program. He has coordinated several international studies on antivirals and serves as a member of the Steering Committee of several European Union Projects (EUROSIDA/EUROCOORD, NEAT, THINPATH, HIVARNA, HIVINNO, EHVA, EMERGE and HIVACAR). He has been the chair of the Spanish Network for AIDS Research (2003-16).

He has been (1997-99) President of the Spanish Society for Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (SEIMC) is past president of the European AIDS Clinical Society (EACS) and is or has been Associate Editor of several Spanish and international journals including Clinical Infectious Diseases, Antiviral Therapy, HIV Medicine, J AIDS, AIDS reviews and Medicina Clínica. He has been the Co-Chair of the XIV International AIDS Conference in Barcelona in July 2002, and of the X and XV EACS Conferences (Dublin, November 2005 and Barcelona, October 2015) and the International AIDS Vaccine Conference (Barcelona, October 2013). He has received the Foundation Lilly award (2010) for biomedical research, the Josep Trueta medal (2012) of the Generalitat de Catalunya, the Moreno López and GESIDA awards (2014 and 2015) of the Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and the EACS lifetime achievement award (2015) and is member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Catalonia.

Dr. Nneka Nwokolo, has been a Senior Global Medical Director at ViiV Healthcare since March 2019. Dr. Nwokolo has over 20 years of experience in HIV medicine. Prior to joining ViiV, she was a Consultant Physician in Sexual Health and HIV Medicine at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and the 56 Dean Street Clinic in London, UK where she has worked since 2001. Nneka is a passionate advocate of HIV test and treat and pre-exposure prophylaxis. While at 56 Dean Street, she was involved in interventions that resulted in a more than 80% reduction in new HIV diagnoses in men who have sex with men, significantly contributing to the reduction in new diagnoses in London.

Her special interests include the sexual and reproductive health of HIV positive women, particularly with regard to contraception and the menopause. She continues to do a monthly HIV menopause clinic and is currently involved in efforts to improve access to combination prevention for women. Nneka has extensive experience in the management of sexually transmitted infections and HIV and was the Chair of the Writing Group for the current British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) UK national Chlamydia treatment guideline. She is the author of many peer-reviewed scientific articles and book chapters.

Since joining ViiV Healthcare, Dr. Nwokolo has been active in GSK’s efforts to provide workplace support for women experiencing menopause, including participation in a WLI panel with menopause advocate Meg Matthews, and the creation of a series of short videos with two GSK employees to raise awareness within the company. She has also set up a Menopause Support Group with the GSK Occupational Health manager. Outside of work, she is active in community HIV prevention efforts, and has participated in several Facebook Live panels on PrEP and women’s sexual and reproductive health.

Jean van Wyk is the Global Medical Lead for Dolutegravir at ViiV Healthcare. He obtained his medical degree at the University of the Orange Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa, in 1999, and subsequently worked in the national health systems in South Africa and the United Kingdom.

In 2003, he joined an early-phase CRO in London as a research physician, prior to becoming a medical advisor in HIV medicine in 2006. Jean obtained a Diploma in Pharmaceutical Medicine in 2007 and completed his specialist training in Pharmaceutical Medicine with the Royal College of Physicians (UK) in May 2011. Prior to joining ViiV in January 2017, Jean had been working in the pharmaceutical industry at country, regional and global level as a medical affairs director in virology and was previously based in London, Paris and Chicago.

Bill Spreen, Pharm.D, is VP, RDGM at ViiV Healthcare and based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. He is currently Medicine Development Leader. In his career with ViiV Healthcare and legacy companies, Bill has led global development programs for a number of small molecule antiretroviral agents, culminating in approval of dolutegravir, abacavir and the combination products Trizivir and Epzicom/Kivexa. Bill and colleagues also led GSK’s efforts to validate the clinical utility of a genetic-based screening test for abacavir hypersensitivity reaction. Bill joined GSK after receiving his Pharm.D. from The Ohio State University, and transitioned to ViiV Healthcare R&D in 2015.   

Martin originally worked as a post-doc on HIV vaccines before joining The Wellcome Foundation in 1993, working on AZT in the clinical development group.

He worked on the development of 3TC, abacavir and amprenavir and led the team responsible for bringing fosamprenavir (Lexiva/Telzir) to the market at GSK. Working on the delivery of new medicines within ViiV's portfolio.

Dr. Max Lataillade is Head of Global Research Strategy at ViiV Healthcare, where he is responsible for global research and development strategy for the HIV pipeline. He oversees end to end R&D activities for fostemsavir, and all novel HIV pipeline programs designed to address key unmet medical needs for people living with HIV (PLWHIV). Max ultimately is accountable for several dedicated and diverse teams and leads several programs with a focused approach on developing new antiretroviral agents that are safe and well tolerated with novel mechanisms of action for the treatment, prevention, and ultimately cure of HIV.

Max’s career has spanned both industry, and as a practicing physician in academia and the community. He has held several positions of increasing leadership and responsibility within several  research and development organizations. He also brings his experience from the clinic, and a patient centered approach to his work.

Max joined ViiV Healthcare in February of 2016, where he currently serves as vice president and head of global research strategy, and is accountable for the strategy, and development of early and late development assets. Max is credited for rapidly introducing and implementing an early development structure, along with early development teams within ViiV to efficiently develop novel antiretroviral agents from discovery to the clinic.

Prior to joining ViiV Healthcare, Max was Vice President and Head of Global Development for HIV at Bristol-Myers Squibb where he joined the global clinical research group in 2007 as an infectious disease physician and HIV specialist from Yale university school of medicine. During his time at BMS, He played a central role in several virology programs in both HIV and HCV, including helping launch several medicines such as Reyataz, Sustiva, and Daklinza. His expertise in HIV and HIV/HCV co-infection, his vision and drive, along with his leadership qualities have been recognized throughout the virology field, academia, and in the pharmaceutical industry. In 2014, He received the prestigious James Palmer Award for excellence in drug development (BMS R&D award), especially for his leadership and his team’s accelerated development of HIV-1 Maturation Inhibitors, and the attachment inhibitor Fostemsavir.

Max obtained his medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry New Jersey, completed his medical residency training at Temple University and Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Philadelphia in 2004, and finished his fellowship in Infectious Diseases and HIV at Yale University School of Medicine in 2007. Max’s sub-specialty training at Yale was in HIV resistance with a special  focus on sequencing of antiretroviral agents for HIV positive patients that had developed HIV resistance, and were in dire need of new antiretroviral agents. His passion for developing new and innovative options for HIV patients is well known within and outside of ViiV. Max is still a physician with a very diversified practice. He is currently an assistant professor and teaching attending at Yale, and continues to volunteer at the West Haven VA HIV clinic in CT.

Outside of work,  Max continues to focus on HIV issues affecting minorities, especially African American Women by being a member and consultant for the AIDS Minority Council. Max also focuses on helping with several health issues in Haiti since the 2011 earthquake.

Max is an avid sports fan, and  is very involved in his children sporting activities. He  continues to play soccer every week as a member of the Guilford soccer club in CT. He is a devoted family man and enjoys  going out, traveling and exploring the world with his wife and family every year.

Michael is responsible for medical strategy across our portfolio of HIV products. Previously Global Medical Lead for dolutegravir, where he played a pivotal role in ViiV’s 2-drug regimen strategy.
Prior to industry, he graduated MBChB, and subsequently specialised in Genito-urinary/HIV Medicine at Guys’ and St Thomas’ Hospitals in London. He is a Member of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) and hold a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Imperial College London Business School.

Dr Annemiek de Ruiter has been caring for patients with HIV in London since 1987 and as a consultant physician at Guy’s & St Thomas’ hospital since 1994. She has specialised in the care of women with HIV, in particular the prevention of HIV transmission in pregnancy and has lectured widely on the subject. She led the British HIV Association Pregnancy guidelines from 2008 to 2014.

She joined ViiV Healthcare as a Senior Global Medical Director in 2016 and became Head of Global Medical Sciences in 2018.  Global Medical Sciences teams include Epidemiology, Health Outcomes, Implementation Sciences and Investigator Sponsored and Collaborative studies.   She continues to see HIV patients on a regular basis as well as delivering lectures worldwide in particular about the management of pregnant women living with HIV and the  psycho-social challenges that continue to face many women living with HIV .

Dr. Sherene Min brings to ViiV Healthcare extensive drug development and infectious disease experience along with strong team management skills. As a physician scientist with knowledge and experience in translational medicine and late-state drug development, she has a proven record in drug development including successful regulatory interactions with US and international agencies. She holds therapeutic expertise in HIV, hepatology, and rare diseases, and has additional expertise in clinical pharmacology and drug safety. Her excellent presentation skills have afforded her many opportunities to speak at scientific conferences, investigator meetings, and in regulatory interactions and internal oversight boards.

Current Role: As Head Unit Physician for ViiV, Sherene has international responsibility for ViiV physicians who are in medical governance roles in support of clinical development. She ensures physician readiness for research and development roles, provides medical governance and compliance training, develops physician capabilities and talent, and builds a ViiV physician community that fosters shared learnings and best practices. In another capacity, Sherene serves as ViiV’s Medicine Development Leader for the Maturation Inhibitor Portfolio, with accountability for the delivery of development programs, prioritizing the portfolio, and providing clinical input to and management of involved ViiV physicians. Experience: Prior to ViiV, Sherene held an industry position with Roivant Sciences as Vice President of Clinical Research, where she managed the Rare Diseases portfolio including academic collaborations, medical governance for rare disease and hepatology projects, and clinical and medical input for due diligence activities. Previously, she was with GSK for twelve years, advancing to Medicine Development Leader in increasingly complex roles in discovery medicine and clinical development.

She had an additional focus on safety as a member of the GSK QT advisory committee and the Cardiac Safety Research Consortium, a publicprivate research partnership including the FDA, other industry partners and Duke University. In addition, as Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor, Sherene provided oversight of clinical fellowsand physician extenders at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Infectious Diseases outpatient clinic until 2009.

With a long and distinguished career in HIV clinical care and research, Dr. Andrew Zolopa brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to ViiV Healthcare. Honored as Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, Andrew’s dedication and commitment are evident in his comprehensive research endeavors and many contributions to HIV medicine during his t enure at Stanford. With a continuing deep commitment to innovative HIV research and access to treatment, Andrew’s b road insight and comprehensive knowledge are invaluable to ViiV’s vision for improving the life of all people living with HIV.

As ViiV’s Head of North American Medical Affairs, Andrew ensures medical integrity and oversight of ViiV initiatives, including developing medical strategies for ViiV therapies, leading development of ViiV-sponsored clinical research and Investigator-sponsored research studies, overseeing ViiV product education, and providing medical input and oversight for the commercial organization. In addition to his role with ViiV, Andrew is also currently Professor of Medicine inInfectious Diseases, Emeritus, at the Stanford University Medical Center in California. Experience: Prior to his current role at ViiV, Andrew served since 2014 as ViiV’s Senior Global Medical Director, providing global medical and scientific expertise for ViiV initiatives and interacting with HIV experts worldwide. Before joining industry, Andrew was Director for twenty years at the Stanford Positive Care Clinic, which he founded in 1994 to provide HIV clinical services for the Stanford Hospital and Clinics. During that time, he also directed the Ira Greene Positive PACE Clinic at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center for six years. Following a long path of progressive academic appointments at the University of California at San Francisco and Stanford University, Andrew was appointed to Emeritus Professor of Medicine at Stanford University in 2014, and to Honorary Medical Staff Member for Life at Stanford University Hospital and Clinics in 2015.

His academic roles included Principal Investigator for eleven years for the NIAID AIDS Clinical Trial Unit at Stanford, Chief of the Division of AIDS Medicine at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, and Acting Chief for the Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographical Medicine at Stanford. Over the years, Andrew expanded his clinical practice skills while working in attending and general internist roles in Santa Clara and Palo Alto, and also served for seven years as Physician-in-Charge of the Health Care for the Homeless Project in San Jose. His research interests include the use of clinical epidemiologic methods to optimize antiretroviral therapy and further understand the impact of drug resistance, explorations on premature aging in HIV infected populations, and HIV collaborative research work with the Rwandan Ministry of Health in Africa. Andrew has served nationally and internationally in multiple professional roles, including on advisory boards, as editorial board member or reviewer for medical and HIV specialty journals, and as advisor to the FDA and Institute of Medicine. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal papers, dozens of book chapters and other articles, and s a frequently invited speaker internationally

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