Robert Ridley was appointed as Director of TDR following a period in which he held the position ad interim while the process of selecting a director was being finalised.
Prior to this, he held the position of Coordinator, Product Research and Development, WHO/TDR, which covers projects relating to drugs, vaccines and diagnostics. He moved back to WHO following a period as Chief Scientific Officer for the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), a not-forprofit public private partnership to discover and develop antimalarial drugs that he helped launch from within TDR in November 1999, and for which he helped establish its initial portfolio of projects.
His career spans both the public and private sectors. He has an academic background that covers the fields of organic chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology, with positions at the University of Malawi (1980-83), McMaster University, Canada (1983-86) and Edinburgh University in the U.K.(1986-92). In 1992 he moved to industry, working for F. Hoffmann-La-Roche Ltd. in Basel (Switzerland), where he was a Vice Director in the Infectious Diseases Drug Discovery department. From 1998 till the beginning of 2001 he worked for TDR where he managed drug discovery research. Since 1997 he has been heavily engaged in broader issues relating to public sector interactions with the pharmaceutical industry, including the establishment of the Medicines for Malaria Venture, for which he acted as Chief Executive Officer from early 1999 to early 2000. During his tenure with TDR he has also been heavily involved in issues related to the use of drugs and the economics and financing of their provision in resource poor settings.
He has published widely on malaria research related to drug and vaccine discovery and development.