Born in 1960, Rudi Pauwels is a pharmaceutical scientist specializing in virology, micro- and nanotechnology, as well as a serial biotech entrepreneur. He graduated in 1983 from the Katholieke Universiteit van Leuven (KU Leuven), where he later based his Ph.D. on the development of new anti-HIV agents.
He dedicated most of his research to the study of HIV and virology, partly at the Leuven Rega Institute for Medical Research. His methods were widely used by fellow scientists. In 1990, Pauwels and his colleagues described the first HIV NNRTI.
Over the past three decades, Pauwels has (co)-founded several successful biotech companies including Galapagos Genomics, Tibotec and Virco, where he continued his work on HIV. Tibotec-Virco was later acquired by Johnson & Johnson and became part of its Janssen Pharmaceutica division. Pauwels went on to become vice president of Johnson & Johnson’s global anti-infectives drug discovery group which focuses on HCV and respiratory diseases. The Tibotec/Johnson & Johnson anti-HIV drugs Prezista™, Intelence™ and Edurant™ are still cornerstones in current AIDS treatments.
Throughout his 35-year career in academia and biotech, Pauwels has pushed the frontiers of high-precision medicine. Starting from a vision on current and future needs, he combines passion, drive, talented co-workers and innovative technologies to bridge the gap between science and the pharmaceutical and diagnostic solutions that reach the market and impact patient lives around the world.
Other positions held by Pauwels include: leader of the Praesens Foundation, which contributes to better epidemic preparedness, early warning and rapid response for existing and emerging infectious diseases; board member of Flanders’ world-leading nano-electronics center imec and the Singaporean Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR); chairman of miDiagnostics and a board member at the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB). In 2020, Pauwels was also appointed co-chair of the Diagnostics R&D Working Group of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.
Pauwels is Founder & President of the Praesens Foundation, which contributes to better epidemic preparedness, early warning and rapid response for existing and emerging infectious diseases. He is Chairman of several Praesens Foundation related companies. Pauwels was also appointed co-chair of the Diagnostics R&D Working Group of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.
An established scientist, Pauwels has (co-)authored more than 150 papers and has received several awards for his scientific and entrepreneurial accomplishments, including the Global Technology Pioneer award from the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2012.