Powering the Immune System to Transform Lives

Jen Towne photoJennifer Eileen Towne


Jennifer Eileen Towne, Ph.D., has served as Vir’s Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer since November 2023. In this role, Dr. Towne leads the Company’s research function from basic research through scale-up manufacturing and the introduction of drug candidates to clinical trials. Dr. Towne has more than two decades of in-depth immunology research and development experience, and a proven track record of successfully developing breakthrough medicines and advancing multiple investigational new drug applications for innovative therapeutics.

Prior to Vir, Dr. Towne spent nine years at Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson in roles of increasing responsibility in research and development. In her most recent role as Senior Vice President, Immunology Discovery and External Innovation, she led the 140-person Immunology Discovery group External Innovation group, which has a presence in San Diego, the Philadelphia area, Boston and London. Dr. Towne was responsible for advancing disease understanding and development of innovative therapeutics across gastroenterology, immunodermatology, rheumatology and autoimmune diseases and for bringing the most promising early innovation into Janssen to support the Immunology portfolio. Before that, Dr. Towne held a variety of scientific roles during her 13 years at Amgen.

Dr. Towne has a B.S. in Biochemistry and a B.S. in Biology, Summa cum Laude from the Departments of Chemistry and Biology, Whitworth University, Spokane, WA. She obtained her doctoral degree from the Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Dr. Towne did her postdoctoral studies as a fellow in the lab of Dr. John Sims at Immunex/Amgen Inc., where her research focused on identifying the receptors for novel IL-1 family members and elucidation of their signaling pathways and biologic activities. She is listed as an inventor on four patents.