Powering the Immune System to Transform Lives

Marianne De Backer photoMarianne De Backer, M.Sc., Ph.D., MBA


Marianne De Backer, M.Sc., Ph.D., MBA, has served as the Chief Executive Officer and Director of Vir Biotechnology Inc. since April 2023. Throughout her career, Dr. De Backer has accelerated the growth and impact of large pharmaceutical companies and their portfolios and helped bring important new therapeutics to patients around the world. Dr. De Backer has been recognized for her leadership and contributions to the biopharma industry, most recently being named to the Forbes 50 over 50 list, the San Francisco Business Times Power 100 list and as one of Fierce Pharma’s Most Influential People in Biopharma. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO).

Prior to joining Vir, Dr. De Backer served as a member of the Executive Committee, and Executive Vice President and Global Head of Strategy, Business Development & Licensing and Open Innovation of the Bayer AG Pharmaceuticals division. During her tenure at Bayer, she spearheaded the Company’s external innovation growth agenda, resulting in more than 50 new alliances and company acquisitions, including Blackford Analysis, Vividion Therapeutics, Asklepios Biopharmaceutical and KaNDy Therapeutics. She also served on the Board of Directors of Bluerock Therapeutics, Asklepios Biopharmaceutical, Vividion Therapeutics, KronosBio and Arrowhead Therapeutics. 

From 1991 through 2019, she was at Johnson & Johnson, where she last held global business and corporate development roles, including the position of Head and Vice President of M&A Operations and Divestitures globally for the Pharmaceuticals Group. Prior to that, she led a commercial business unit in Europe, launching two medicines in neuroscience and immunology. Dr. De Backer started her career in drug discovery research, where she led teams in both Europe and the United States and is an inventor on seven patents.

Dr. De Backer received her Master of Business Administration degree from Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands. She holds a Master of Science in Molecular Biology from Vrije Universiteit, Brussels; and Master of Science in Engineering Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in Biotechnology, from Ghent University, Belgium. She currently serves as a non-executive Director on the Board of the Gladstone Foundation.