Chris is an experienced drug discovery leader having worked in various roles in pharma, biotech and academia for 25 years.
After completing a Ph D in Organic Chemistry at the University of Melbourne Chris undertook postodoctoral studies in the USA before moving to Pfizer UK, where he worked on a variety of drug discovery projects. After 5 years he returned to Australia as a Research Fellow at the University of Sydney with the CRC for Molecular Engineering and Technology and after two years moved to the biotechnology company Ambri as Head of Chemistry.
Chris then moved to the Melbourne-based biotech Cytopia as Head of Medicinal Chemistry and later as Research Director. Over this time he led teams in the discovery of two anti-cancer agents that have entered clinical trial, including the drug momelotinib which successfully completed Phase III studies. Chris was subsequently recruited to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne as a Laboratory Head and from before taking on executive and leadership roles with a number of privately held biotechnology companies in Melbourne including Certa Therapeutics and MycRx.
Dr Burns is the inventor on over 30 patents and a co-author on over 50 scientific publications and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK) and the Royal Australian Chemical Institute. He was the recipient of the 2022 Adrien Albert Award - the premier award of the MCCB Division of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute which is given for sustained, outstanding research in the field of medicinal chemistry or chemical biology.
Dr. Burns was originally appointed as a Non-Executive Director on 4 May 2018 and was subsequently appointed as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director on 5 December 2022.