Marianne De Backer, Ph.D.

Dr. Marianne De Backer has been a strategic advisor, scientist, business unit director, deal maker and corporate investor at the world’s largest healthcare company (Johnson & Johnson (J&J); >70 Bn USD revenue) 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 in JJDC, the venture arm of J&J, she is responsible for initiating and managing equity investments to drive business innovation and deliver new and sustainable business to J&J.


At J&J, Dr. De Backer has had an impressive career path, 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. 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. As Business Unit Director (CNS, Immunology, Internal Medicine) she was responsible for a strategic turnaround, led operational sales and marketing, managed a P&L, and very successfully launched several products. Prior to joining JJDC, Dr. De Backer most recently was heading global business development (Licensing, M&A, Alliance Management) for Infectious Diseases & Vaccines.


Dr. De Backer has been recognized for her high business integrity, for her ability to drive and deliver results in a complex and challenging environment while meeting external and internal milestones, and for building consensus across people and organizations. She was named to the 2016 PharmaVoice 100 and Women In Bio’s “Boardroom Ready” inaugural Class; has served as a 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 EcoHealth Alliance, a global environmental health non-profit dedicated to protecting wildlife and public health from the emergence of disease.

Dr. De Backer holds an MBA from Erasmus University Rotterdam, a PhD in Biotechnology from the University of Ghent, a MSc in Molecular Biology from the University of Brussels, and an engineering degree in Biochemistry from the IH Ghent. She is fluent in English and Dutch, and proficient in German.