A World Without Infectious Disease

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


Marianne De Backer, M.Sc., Ph.D., MBA, has served as our Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors 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. 

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 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 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 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 Boards of Kronos Bio and the Gladstone Foundation.