The AMR Action Fund, a public-private partnership supporting the development of new antibiotics to address rising antimicrobial resistance (AMR), has appointed William (Bill) Burns as Board Chair.
Burns has worked in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry throughout his life, providing invaluable experience for his role as Board Chair today, when the need for novel antibiotics is more critical than ever.
“Bill Burns’ global expertise and longstanding history in pharmaceuticals and the biotech industry will be valuable to the AMR Action Fund as we prepare for our first investments in innovative biotechnology companies developing novel antibiotics to treat life-threatening infections,” said Henry Skinner, CEO of the AMR Action Fund. “Bill understands the urgent crisis of AMR, and we’re honoured to have him join the AMR Action Fund to support our goal to develop two to four novel antibiotics by the end of the decade.”
Burns previously served as CEO of the global Pharmaceutical Division of Roche, on the main Roche board, Genentech, Chugai, and as a non-executive director of Shire Pharmaceuticals and the smaller biotechnology companies Crucell, Biotie and Okairos. More recently, Burns was a board member of Wellcome Trust until 2020. Currently, Burns is a member of the Novo Holdings advisory group, Chair of Molecular Partners, Vestergaard Holdings and Vice Chair of Mesoblast.
“AMR is a silent pandemic of growing concern. I’ve partnered with pharmaceutical companies, foundations and NGOs to advocate for government action to improve healthcare throughout my career and look forward to continuing to do so to encourage market reforms that enable a sustainable antibiotic pipeline,” said Burns. “I’m already fully engaged with the AMR Action Fund in their essential work to begin our investments into the antibiotic pipeline.”
The AMR Action Fund is a partnership launched by more than 20 pharmaceutical companies and joined by non-industry investors, making it a true public-private initiative. The AMR Action Fund aims to bring two to four new antibiotics to patients by 2030. These treatments are urgently needed to address the rapid rise of AMR which has the potential to undermine every aspect of medicine today.
The Fund will soon take its first steps to invest in clinical research of innovative new antibiotics that are addressing the most resistant bacteria and life-threatening infections.