Ruth Atherton

Sr. Counsel Specialist/Assistant General Counsel, The Commons Project Foundation

Ruth Atherton is the Secretary of the BVGH Board of Directors. She 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. Ruth has extensive international experience and unique insights on corporate social responsibility. In 2021, Ruth joined The Commons Project Foundation as their first Chief Legal Officer.

From 2012 to 2021, Ruth was the Deputy General Counsel and Director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Her role included 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. At the foundation, she was 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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