Ruth Atherton

Deputy General Counsel & Director, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Ruth Atherton is an experienced pharmaceutical, biotechnology and global health professional with expertise in risk management, global product development, complex transactions and intellectual property. A strategic advisor, recognized for technical acumen, innovation, and culture development, Ruth is a data driven, impact-focused problem solver.  Her role at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation includes advising the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute, developing pharma and biotech investments, enabling global R&D and commercialization, protecting reputation and streamlining business processes.  Ruth has extensive international experience and unique insights on corporate social responsibility.  She is a member of the Global Health Executive team and the executive sponsor of the foundation’s Global Access Team which leads intellectual property strategy and creates affordable access to the products and developments to benefit the world’s populations who are most in need.

Prior to joining the foundation, Ruth was Sr. Corporate Counsel at Sanofi supporting global Industrial Affairs and Sr. Counsel at Genzyme Corporation responsible for Global Manufacturing and Operations.  Ruth was litigation attorney at Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto in NYC, where she supported biotech and pharmaceutical litigation.  Ruth served as a founding Advisory Board member of the UMass Venture Development Center, an award-winning incubator for emerging hi-tech and life science companies.  She is the Executive Director and board member of Raising The Blues, Ltd., a nonprofit bringing interactive musical opportunities and instruments to children with unique life challenges

Ruth holds a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Cornell University and a J.D. from Fordham School of Law.

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