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George Addona, Ph.D.

Senior vice president and head, discovery, preclinical development and translational medicine

"Our industry stands at an inflection point where emerging technologies and new therapeutic modalities are creating exciting opportunities in medicine and vaccine discovery and development. We’re working to foster innovative research and inspire a new and diverse generation of biopharmaceutical scientists."

Years at Merck Research Laboratories


George Addona is senior vice president and head of discovery, preclinical development and translational medicine (DPTM) at Merck Research Laboratories (MRL). He oversees early-stage pipeline, early human studies and biomarker development.

Prior to his appointment as head of DPTM, Addona was vice president of quantitative biosciences (QB). In this role, he was responsible for pre-clinical pharmacological assay development across disease areas and the implementation of new techniques and technologies to enable objective interrogation of biological systems to improve the prioritization of early-stage pipeline candidates.

Addona joined Merck in 2008 and held positions of increasing responsibility across the company’s pharmacology organization. Prior to leading QB, Addona directed teams in Boston, Singapore and South San Francisco. His leadership has been crucial to progress in multiple ongoing development programs spanning cardio-metabolic, infectious disease, neuroscience and oncology indications.

Before joining Merck, Addona held roles at Novartis and Praecis Pharmaceuticals. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in biochemistry from Rutgers College, a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Virginia, and conducted postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School in the department of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology. In 2022, Addona was appointed to PhRMA Foundation’s board of directors.