The AMR Action Fund Appoints Bill Burns as Board Chair

The Fund aims to bring two to four new antibiotics to patients by 2030 and facilitate long-term solutions that create a sustainable ecosystem driving innovation, availability, and access to new antimicrobial agents.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2021, BOSTON, MA - Today, the AMR Action Fund, the world’s largest public-private partnership supporting the development of new antibiotics to address rising antimicrobial resistance (AMR), announced the appointment of William (Bill) Burns as Board Chair. Mr. Burns has a lifelong career in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry, 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 honored 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.”

Bill 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 Bill 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 ground-breaking partnership launched by more than 20 leading 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.

About the AMR Action Fund

The AMR Action Fund is an initiative from over 20 leading biopharmaceutical companies that seeks to invest over US$1 billion, with the aim of bringing 2-4 new antibiotics to patients by 2030. The AMR Action Fund will invest in small companies developing innovative antibacterial treatments. In collaboration with philanthropic organizations, development banks, and multilateral organizations, the AMR Action Fund will strengthen and accelerate antibiotic development. It will also work with governments to ensure there is a sustainable pipeline of new antibiotics to fight superbugs.

The concept of the AMR Action Fund was developed by the IFPMA and its member biopharmaceutical companies, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, the European Investment Bank, and the Wellcome Trust. Investors in the AMR Action Fund include: Almirall; Amgen; Bayer; Boehringer Ingelheim; Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation; Chugai; Daiichi-Sankyo; Eisai; Eli Lilly and Company; the European Investment Bank (with the support of the European Commission under Horizon 2020, the 2014-2020 European Union research and innovation program); GlaxoSmithKline; Johnson & Johnson; LEO Pharma; Lundbeck; Menarini; Merck; Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany; Novartis; Novo Nordisk; Novo Nordisk Foundation; Pfizer; Roche; Shionogi; Takeda; Teva; UCB; and the Wellcome Trust.


John Alter, Interim Director of External Affairs, AMR Action Fund

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