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Meet the CEO | Dr Chris Burns


Today we are pleased to introduce you to Amplia’s new CEO, Dr Chris Burns.

Dr Burns is an experienced drug discovery leader who has worked in various roles in pharma, biotech and academia for 25 years. After completing a PhD in Organic Chemistry at the University of Melbourne, Chris undertook postdoctoral studies in the USA before moving to Pfizer UK. He later returned to Australia, where he forged his career leading high performing teams in drug discovery research.

As Head of Medicinal Chemistry for Melbourne-based biotech Cytopia, Chris led teams in the discovery of two anti-cancer agents that entered clinical trial, including the drug momelotinib which successfully completed Phase III studies. He later worked at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research as a Laboratory Head, before moving into executive and leadership roles with 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 60 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. 


We asked Dr Burns what makes Amplia such a unique and exciting company:

“My connection to Amplia precedes the formation of the company. I have been interested in FAK as a promising target for anticancer drugs for some time, and published work by SAB member Prof. Margaret Frame and others, showing how FAK inhibition can enhance the effect of approved cancer drugs, galvanised my desire to develop the promising FAK inhibitors discovered at the CRC for Cancer Therapeutics. So in 2016 I helped found Amplia Therapeutics, and have been a Director of the Company since 2018. I was involved in the early development of AMP945 and AMP886, helping to establish stable and developable forms of these unique drugs.

We live in a golden age of science and technology, and rigorous R&D is imperative. Amplia has always been driven by quality science and a pursuit of doing drug discovery and development the right way. We are committed to conducting our work to the highest quality and safety standards.

I am delighted to be guiding the Company into its next phase of development as CEO. Not only are we developing best-in-class FAK inhibitors with enormous clinical potential, but we have an A-grade team of talented individuals who work openly and collaboratively, both internally and with our partners and contractors.”