In honor of Women’s History Month, Big Molecule Watch continues to highlight the work of women who have contributed to the advancement of biologics and biosimilars. One such individual is Emer Cooke, who is the first woman to occupy the role of Executive Director of EMA and to lead that organization since its creation in 1994. As we previously reported, Ms. Cooke took over this role in November 2020, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Since that time, the EMA has approved four COVID-19 vaccines, marketed by Pfizer–BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Janssen.
Ms. Cooke recently recognized three historical figures in celebration of International Women’s Day: Gerty Cori, who discovered the lactic acid cycle (also known as the Cori cycle) and was the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize for medicine; Rita Levi-Montalcini, who discovered nerve growth factor and is another Nobel Prize winner in medicine; and Rosalind Franklin, who took the first photo of DNA, which was used by James Watson and Francis Crick to determine the double-helix structure of DNA. Ms. Cooke wrote: “For centuries, there have been many remarkable women who choose to challenge societal expectations and norms. Not only did they make ground-breaking discoveries and contributed to the advancement of the sciences, but they also paved the way for new generations of female scientist[s], including those who are now working to get a global pandemic under control at EMA.”