Marianne De Backer, MBA, PhDEVP, Head of Strategy, BD&L at Bayer
Dr. Marianne De Backer has been a strategist, scientist, business leader, deal maker and corporate investor in the healthcare industry for more than two decades. Her network cuts across pharmaceutical, biotech, tech, academic, VC, NGO and government partners in United States, Europe, and beyond, always bringing a unique diversity in perspective as she fosters alliances to improve the health of patients worldwide. At Bayer (BAYRY) she leads the global strategy and innovation agenda for Pharma.
Prior to joining Bayer, Dr. De Backer had an impressive career path at Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), transitioning 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, her last role as global head of M&A operations and Divestitures for the Pharmaceuticals Group. 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, JNJ formed over two hundred external alliances which have led to new approved medicines Olysio®, Odefsey®, Symtuza®, and Juluca® as well as several drugs in late stages of development. As Business Unit Director (CNS, Immunology, Internal Medicine) she was responsible for a strategic turnaround, led operational sales and marketing, managed a ~100 million business, and very successfully launched Xeplion® and Stelara® while significantly improving employee and customer engagement. As a corporate strategic investor at 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.
Dr. De Backer has been recognized for her enduring passion to make a difference for patients, her values-based leadership, her ability to deliver results in complex and challenging environments, and for building bridges across organizations. In 2018 and 2020 she was elected as one of the Most Influential Women in 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 serves as a host, panelist and moderator at key industry conferences and global events and actively mentors a diverse talent pool, especially advocating for female talent.
She is a member of the Board of Directors of Gladstone Foundation, Ecohealth Alliance and Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals (ARWR).
Dr. De Backer was born in Belgium and 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.