Baltimore, MD, April 1, 2021: The Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine mourns the passing of IHV 2014 Lifetime Achievement Public Service Awardee and 2017 Annual Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Lecturer, John Martin, PhD. Dr. Martin was a leader in supporting access to life-saving anti-HIV medications that although still under patent were made widely and affordably available to millions around the world infected with HIV, and for prevention through pre-exposure drug therapy. He was a tremendous clinical scientist, businessman, global public health leader, philanthropist, and good friend.
“John Martin is irreplaceable and his passing is a devastating loss to many,” said Robert C. Gallo, MD, The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Co-Founder and Director, Institute of Human Virology (IHV), University of Maryland School of Medicine, a Global Virus Network (GVN) Center of Excellence, and GVN Co-Founder and International Scientific Advisor. “The fields of medicine and science have many notable leaders who contribute to public health. But it is John’s leadership at Gilead Sciences that stands out and resulted in the successful development of antiviral therapeutics for the treatment of HIV, hepatitis B and C, and influenza. Further, the global public health response to HIV/AIDS was immensely facilitated by John, which is unique among the global pharmaceutical industry. His humanitarian leadership resulted in more than 10 million HIV-infected persons receiving lifesaving therapies with the best drugs available. His life’s work lives on in those he mentored and in The John C. Martin Foundation, among many others. We extend our deepest sympathies to John’s family, especially his life partner, Lillian Lou. Our very close friend will be greatly missed.”
Dr. Martin was an exceptional individual whose towering leadership of Gilead Sciences led to a profound impact on human viral diseases worldwide. His leadership resulted in the successful development of antiviral therapeutics for the treatment of HIV, hepatitis B and C, and influenza. More importantly, Dr. Martin recognized the importance of making these critical therapeutic advancements available not just to the wealthy nations of the world, but worldwide, to include even those infected persons in the most impoverished regions of the globe. He developed a sustainable system that is treating an accelerating number of persons in low income countries, thus producing a program that has measurable results and demonstrates enormous impact on global health.
“I was deeply saddened to hear about the loss of Dr. John Martin,” said E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, UM Baltimore, the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor, and Dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine. “He was truly a giant in every aspect of global medicine and public health, and will be forever remembered for the tremendous impact he had on the global HIV/AIDS response. As Dr. Martin and I became personal friends over the years, I realized what a special individual he was. He leaves a lasting legacy that few in science and medicine can match. I extend my sincerest condolences to everyone in the Martin family.”
“John Martin was a one-of-a-kind scientist/businessman/philanthropist who was a true visionary in translating drug discovery for public health benefit,” said Shyam Kottilil, MBBS, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Division of Clinical Care and Research, Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “He will be remembered for making Gilead Sciences a leading pharmaceutical company. His innovative ACCESS program revolutionized global health care for millions suffering from HIV and/or hepatitis viruses. He was inspirational for both business and scientific communities and continued his work for improving global health through John C. Martin Foundation. He will be missed as a leader, visionary, and philanthropist who influenced an entire generation of physician-scientists like me.”
“The world of infectious disease lost a real pioneer with the untimely death of Dr. John Martin, founder and former CEO and Executive Chairman of Gilead Sciences,” said Warner Greene, MD, PhD, Director, Gladstone Center for HIV Cure Research, Nick and Sue Hellmann Distinguished Professor of Translational Medicine, Founding and Emeritus Director, Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology (GIVI). Dr. Greene serves on IHV’s Scientific Advisory Board and received the 2019 IHV Lifetime Achievement Award for Scientific Contributions. “John absolutely revolutionized the treatment of people infected with HIV and HCV while at the same time building Gilead into a major biopharmaceutical powerhouse. His entrepreneurial spirt and modest manner will be greatly missed, but his impact on virology long remembered."
Dr. John Martin joined Gilead Sciences in 1990 and was Executive Chairman from March 2016 through March 2019. He served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer from June 2008 through March 2016, and President and Chief Executive Officer from 1996 through May 2008. Prior to joining Gilead, Dr. Martin held several leadership positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Syntex Corporation. He invented ganciclovir in 1982 and contributed to the research, development and commercialization of a number of antiviral drugs active against HIV, cytomegalovirus, influenza, and hepatitis B and C.
Dr. Martin served on the Board of Directors of the Global Virus Network (GVN), of Kronos Bio, and The Scripps Research Institute. He previously served as President of the International Society for Antiviral Research, Chairman of the Board of Directors of BayBio, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the California Healthcare Institute (CHI). He served on the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases Council, the Board of Directors of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Board of Directors for CHI, the Board of Trustees of the University of Chicago, the Board of Trustees of Golden Gate University and the External Scientific Advisory Board of the University of California School of Global Health. Additionally, Dr. Martin served on the Centers for Disease Control/Health Resources and Services Administration’s Advisory Committee on HIV and STD Prevention and Treatment and was a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.
Dr. Martin holds a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Chicago, an MBA from Golden Gate University, and a BS degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University. He received the Isbell Award from the American Chemical Society and the Gertrude B. Elion Award for Scientific Excellence from the International Society for Antiviral Research. In 2008, he was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering of the National Academies. In 2014, Dr. Martin received the IHV Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service. In 2019, he received the National Academy of Sciences Award for Chemistry in Service to Society.
About the Institute of Human Virology
Formed in 1996 as a partnership between the State of Maryland, the City of Baltimore, the University System of Maryland, and the University of Maryland Medical System, the IHV is an institute of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is home to some of the most globally-recognized and world-renowned experts in all of virology. The IHV combines the disciplines of basic research, epidemiology, and clinical research in a concerted effort to speed the discovery of diagnostics and therapeutics for a wide variety of chronic and deadly viral and immune disorders - most notably, HIV the virus that causes AIDS. For more information, visit www.ihv.org and follow us on Twitter @IHVmaryland.