Meet the AMR Action Fund Team

The AMR Action Fund team is a highly motivated mix of individuals whose expertise spans venture capital, pharmaceutical development, finance, and health policy and management. They are deeply committed to taking on the scourge of antimicrobial resistance and leveraging their skills and networks to drive change at the global level.

Henry Skinner, PhD, MJur

Chief Executive Officer

Henry Skinner, PhD, MJur

Chief Executive Officer

Henry Skinner, PhD, MJur, is an experienced executive who is deeply versed in the economic and scientific challenges of antimicrobial drug development.

Prior to joining the Fund, he held leadership positions across the pharmaceutical and venture capital sectors, including serving as Senior Vice President, Venture at Tekla Capital Management and as Deputy Head and Managing Director of the Novartis Venture Fund. In addition, Henry was the CEO of SelectX Pharmaceuticals, which focused on developing small-molecule antimicrobials, and NeoGenesis Pharmaceuticals, which developed a platform for identifying and optimizing drug candidates.

Over the years, he has held Business Development positions at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Pfizer, Pharmacia, Pharmacia & Upjohn, and Lexicon Genetics. Henry was a postdoctoral fellow at Baylor College of Medicine in the department of Human and Molecular Genetics. He earned a PhD in Microbiology and an MS in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois; an MJur in Health Law, Policy, and Management from Texas A&M; and an MS and a BS in Biology/Biotechnology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Martin Heidecker, PhD, MBA

Chief Investment Officer

Martin Heidecker, PhD, MBA

Chief Investment Officer
Martin Heidecker, PhD, MBA, joined the AMR Action Fund in August 2021, bringing with him extensive international experience in venture capital, drug development, and pharmaceutical marketing. Most recently, he was Managing Director USA of Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund in Boston, where he built a portfolio spanning multiple therapeutic areas, including oncology, central nervous system disorders, and anti-infectives, and led numerous companies to successful exits through M&As, IPOs, and product launches. Martin’s investing career began in Germany with Bayern Kapital, where he focused on seed investments in German biotechnology companies. Over the years, he has served on the board of directors at numerous biotech companies, including Tilos Therapeutics Inc. (acquired by Merck) and Armagen Technologies (acquired by JCR Pharmaceuticals). His deep understanding of the global biopharmaceutical industry is informed by his work at Solvay Pharmaceuticals and Boehringer Ingelheim, where he held a position in business development and marketing and helped launch several successful CNS drugs. He holds a PhD in biology from University of Würzburg and an MBA from FernUniversität Hagen.

Bill Burns

Board Chair

Bill Burns

Board Chair
Bill Burns has held numerous leadership positions in the pharmaceutical industry throughout his career, including serving as CEO of the global Pharmaceutical Division of Roche. He has also served on the main boards of Roche, Genentech, and Chugai and as lead non-executive director of Shire Pharmaceuticals and the smaller biotechnology companies Crucell, Biotie, and Okairos. He is currently Chair of Molecular Partners of Vestergaard and Vice Chair of Mesoblast. Additionally, Bill is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Center for Integrated Oncology of the University of Cologne/Bonn and on the Board of Trustees to the Institute of Cancer Research in London. He previously served on the Wellcome Trust Board of Governors.

David Hellmuth, JD

General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer

David Hellmuth, JD

General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer

David joined the Fund as General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer in 2022, bringing with him a deep understanding and global perspective on the regulatory and financial processes of drug development. Before joining the Fund, he spent more than 15 years at Novartis in the US and Basel, most recently as US General Counsel and Secretary to the Board of Directors of Novartis Corporation.  This role included serving as Head, US Corporate and Finance Legal, and Legal Counsel and Secretary to the Board of Directors of the Novartis US Foundation and the Novartis Patient Assistance Foundation. David's previous roles included serving as legal counsel for market access, sales and marketing compliance, and business development and licensing transactions. Prior to joining Novartis, David held positions at major law firms in Boston and New York, with a focus on M&A, securities law, technology transactions, and venture capital. He holds a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

John Vancura, MBA

Chief Financial Officer

John Vancura, MBA

Chief Financial Officer
John Vancura, CPA (inactive), MBA, joined the AMR Action Fund in December 2022, bringing extensive experience in alternative investments. He has been a private equity fund CFO, Senior Vice President at a global fund administrator, and an outsourced CFO to a number of private equity and venture capital funds. John started his career in the tax department at Arthur Andersen in Boston and has, over the years, worked with many start-up companies as an outsourced CFO.  He holds an MBA in Entrepreneurship from the Babson College F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business and a BSBA in Accounting from Bryant University. He is a member of the Private Equity CFO Association and the Financial Executives Alliance – Private Equity/Venture Capital Group.

Carly Levine, PhD

Associate

Carly Levine, PhD

Associate
Carly Levine, PhD, joined the Fund as an analyst in November 2021, bringing with her a deep understanding of the biology of drug resistance and the science that underpins novel antibiotic development. She holds a PhD in microbiology and an MS in cell biology from Rutgers University, where she worked in the lab of Dr. David Alland. During her doctoral and post-doctoral studies, Carly developed and evaluated a novel anti-tubercular drug candidate and used a multi-omics approach to characterize the physiology of drug-tolerant Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates. Carly’s scientific work has led to several publications and recognition through various awards.

Henni-Karoliina Ropponen, PhD

Venture Analyst

Henni-Karoliina Ropponen, PhD

Venture Analyst
Henni-Karoliina Ropponen joined the AMR Action Fund as a venture analyst in January 2023. A medicinal chemist by training, she has extensive experience in working on antibiotic discovery and lead optimization. Over the course of her career, she has worked on several small-molecule antibiotic programs, applying computational, synthetic and biophysical methods to advance promising molecules in pre-clinical settings. Prior to joining the Fund, Henni worked for the Global Antibiotic R&D Partnership (GARDP), Roche, and the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS). She holds Master of Chemistry in Drug Discovery from the University of Strathclyde and a PhD in Medicinal Chemistry from the Saarland University. Her interest in learning and development has also led Henni to design and host several workshops at the School Laboratory EXPERIO Roche.

Isabella Santi, PhD

Venture Analyst

Isabella Santi, PhD

Venture Analyst
Isabella Santi, PhD, joined the Fund as a venture analyst in February 2023, bringing with her 20 years of experience in microbiology research with a focus on bacterial physiology and how pathogens respond to antibiotics. She studied Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at University of Bologna, Italy, and holds a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Padova. While earning her doctorate, Isabella worked in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Chrion Vaccines, where she contributed to research on a vaccine against Group B streptococcus. Her postdoctoral work took her to the laboratory of Prof. John McKinney at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and then to the Biozentrum, University of Basel, where she worked in the laboratory of Prof. Urs Jenal. Isabella’s postdoctoral work initially focused on characterizing the basic organization of the cell cycle in Mycobacteria and developing new single-cell tools for microscopy analysis. She then applied a multi-omics approach to identifying and characterizing the pathways responsible for bacterial drug-tolerance and resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. She has authored and co-authored numerous scientific publications.

Nina Riemer, MA

Event and Operations Manager

Nina Riemer, MA

Event and Operations Manager
Nina Riemer joined the AMR Action Fund in December 2022 and now serves as the Fund’s event and operation manager. Based out of the Basel, Switzerland office, she works closely with the investment and policy teams on a wide range of operational and brand-building initiatives in both Europe and the U.S. Prior to joining the Fund, Nina spent more than a decade working in the real estate and airline industries, gaining valuable cross-sectoral and cross-cultural experiences that now allow her to collaborate seamlessly with colleagues and stakeholders across the globe. Nina has also spent time working with a German consulting start-up focused on health care. She speaks German, Italian, and English, and holds an MA in international business management from Zittau-Görlitz University of Applied Sciences as well a certificate in event management from the ESB Academy.  

John Alter, MBA

Head of External Affairs

John Alter, MBA

Head of External Affairs
John Alter joined the Fund as Head of External Affairs after spending more than 20 years at Pfizer, where he was involved in multiple facets of antibiotic drug development and sales. He contributed to shaping the world’s first subscription model for antibiotics and worked on several other innovative contracts during his tenure with Pfizer. Immediately prior to joining the Fund, he was the Vice President of Patient and Health Impact for Pfizer’s hospital business unit, which covered a portfolio of over 170 molecules, including 50 medicines on the World Health Organization’s Essential Medicines List and dozens of anti-infective and anti-fungal drugs, as well as ten drug-delivery systems. The work of John’s team encompassed pricing, access, reimbursement, health economics, outcomes research, and real-world data collection. He holds an MBA from George Mason University and a BS from Villanova University.

Deepali Patel, MPH

Director of International Policy

Deepali Patel, MPH

Director of International Policy
Deepali Patel joined the Fund with more than 15 years of experience in global health policy in the U.S., Europe, Central America, and Asia. She is also a member of both the Stakeholder Group for the Global Health EDCTP3 Joint Undertaking, and the Technical Advisory Forum for the International Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance Solutions. Most recently, she spent seven years serving as a Senior Policy Officer at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, where she led the development of policies and strategies to accelerate the development, distribution, and uptake of high-impact vaccines in low- and middle-income countries. During that time, Deepali oversaw the successful approval of Gavi’s $2 billion malaria vaccine investment. She previously spent nine years at the National Academy of Medicine in the U.S., developing health policy and research recommendations for national and global stakeholders. She is a 2009 Fulbright Scholar and a graduate of the 2017 Advanced Course in Vaccinology. Deepali received an MPH from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and a BS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

Jonathan Daniels, MA

Director of U.S. Policy

Jonathan Daniels, MA

Director of U.S. Policy
Jonathan Daniels is a government affairs practitioner with extensive experience in developing strategies and advocacy efforts on behalf of domestic and global health organizations, with a particular emphasis on antimicrobial resistance. Over the last 15 years, Jonathan has executed a wide range of policy strategies for individual organizations, as well as coalitions on federal appropriations and authorizing legislation on health care issues, including longstanding work on R&D policy in the fields of vaccine and antimicrobial development, as well as new global health technologies.
 
Before joining the AMR Action Fund, Jonathan was a Vice President at CRD Associates, advising clients on an array of issues, including AMR policies. Prior to that, he worked for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, managing a portfolio that included advocating for market-based solutions to enhance antimicrobial R&D. He also has experience in product development from his time as the lead federal relations manager for Aeras. Based in Washington, Jonathan has throughout his career enabled grassroots and grasstops advocates to make an impact on Capitol Hill, and he has served in various leadership capacities in multiple issue-based coalitions, including the Partnership to Protect Coverage, the Global Health Technologies Coalition, and the Coalition for Health Funding.

Chris Sweeney, MSJ

Communications Director

Chris Sweeney, MSJ

Communications Director
As Communications Director, Chris Sweeney works closely with the investment team and the policy team on a wide range of initiatives and regularly collaborates with portfolio companies and limited partners. He has extensive experience in health communications, media management, and journalism. He joined the Fund from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where he was the senior media relations manager and senior science writer. Prior to that, Chris worked for Partners In Health, where he focused on infectious disease programs in Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, and Russia. He has taught courses on health communications and nonfiction writing at Tufts University, Regis College, and Western Connecticut State University and has reported hundreds of articles for national and international publications. Chris was a United Nations Foundation World Health Organization Press Fellow and, in 2016, was named Magazine Writer of the Year. He holds an MSJ from Northwestern University’s Medill School and a BA from UMass Amherst.

Marjorie Korn, MSJ

Deputy Communications Director

Marjorie Korn, MSJ

Deputy Communications Director
Marjorie Korn joined the AMR Action Fund as the Deputy Communications Director in spring 2023. In her role, Marjorie creates and executes strategies to amplify the work of the policy team, and she is particularly interested in highlighting the real-world impact that AMR has on patients and health care providers. Her professional background combines extensive experience in journalism and academic medicine. As a news reporter, she previously covered health, medicine, science, domestic and foreign policy, as well as Congress and the White House for wire services, major newspapers in the U.S. and UK, national monthly magazines, and podcasts. Marjorie established an op-ed writing and communications program and curriculum for the faculty at Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center and the Mailman School of Public Health, and she instructs doctors-in-training at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons as a member of the Department of Narrative Medicine. She has ghostwritten and edited books on women’s medicine and social determinants of health. Marjorie holds an MSJ from Northwestern University’s Medill School and a BA from American University.
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