Benjamin (Ben) Thorner
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Benjamin (Ben) Thorner
Senior Vice President and Head of Business Development & Licensing
Merck Research Laboratories

Benjamin (Ben) Thorner serves as Senior Vice President, Business Development & Licensing, and oversees all licensing deals for Merck Research Laboratories, including external research, out-licensing, regional deals, academic alliances and is responsible for the MRL Ventures Fund.

Prior to assuming this position, Ben served as Vice President and the Head of Merck’s North American Innovation Hubs located in Cambridge, MA, and San Francisco, CA. The Hubs focus on early-stage therapeutics (pre-clinical proof-of-concept) as well as accessing innovative research and technologies by developing collaborations and/or licensing transactions with key players in the academic and biotech community.

Ben came to Merck from Novartis, where he served as Head of Transactions, Strategic Alliances. In that role, he led a team of deal negotiators responsible for pre-clinical proof-of-concept deals for Novartis’ therapeutics pipeline. Prior to Novartis, Ben held positions of increasing responsibility with Amgen in their legal and licensing organizations.

Prior to his industry career, Ben worked in private law practice providing counsel on strategic intellectual property issues, licensing agreements, strategic alliances, and other corporate transactions, with a focus on biotechnology and pharmaceutical clients. In addition, he served as clerk to the Honorable Randall R. Rader, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He holds a J.D. and M.A. (Biology) from the University of Virginia, and a B.A. from George Mason University. Ben currently serves on the Board of the California Life Sciences Association and was granted membership in the following Bar Associations: New York, Colorado and Virginia.

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