Marianne De Backer has been a strategic advisor, scientist, business leader, deal maker and corporate investor at Johnson & Johnson for more than two decades. Her deep subject matter expertise and experience forging partnerships with leading researchers and executives have led to launched breakthroughs in medicine and the development of new models for conducting business. She works across an extensive external network of pharmaceutical, biotech, academic, venture, NGO and government partners in United States, Europe, and beyond, bringing this diversity in perspective as she fosters alliances to improve the health of patients worldwide. In her current role Dr. De Backer leads M&A Operations and Divestitures for the global Pharmaceuticals Group of J&J (Janssen) and is global head business development for the Infectious Diseases & Vaccines therapeutic area.
At J&J, Dr. De Backer has transitioned from the lab bench to supporting innovative technology licensing to leading a 50 FTE commercial business unit to serving on the frontlines of late-stage pharmaceutical deal making. As a scientist and R&D group leader, she was named as inventor on five patent applications. Under her direct leadership through licensing and business development roles across multiple therapeutic areas and regions, J&J has formed over 200 external alliances which have led to new approved medicines, including Olysio®, Odefsey®, Symtuza®, and Juluca® as well as drugs in Phase III development. As Business Unit Director (CNS, Immunology, Internal Medicine), she was responsible for a strategic turnaround, led operational sales and marketing, managed a P&L (~100 million revenue), and very successfully launched Xeplion® and Stelara® while significantly improving employee and customer engagement. In her latest role in JJDC, the venture arm of J&J, she co-championed the Bio-investor hub at JLABS, mentored several biotech start-ups, and was responsible for initiating and managing equity investments to drive business innovation and deliver new business to J&J.
In 2018, Dr. De Backer was elected as one of the Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business as well as Women of Influence in Silicon Valley. In 2016, she was nominated to the PharmaVoice100 list as “change agent” and to the Women In Bio “Boardroom Ready” class. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Gladstone Foundation, a San Francisco-based non-for-profit supporting the Gladstone Institutes with a mission to use visionary science and technology to overcome major unsolved diseases, and of NYC-based EcoHealth Alliance, a global non-for-profit developing the scientific evidence and tools needed to save ecosystems and predict and prevent global pandemics.
She holds an MBA from Erasmus University Rotterdam, a PhD in Biotechnology and Master in Engineering from the University of Ghent, and a MSc in Molecular Biology from the University of Brussels.