Benjamin (Ben) Thorner serves as Senior Vice President and Head, MRL Business Development & Licensing, and oversees deal-making globally for Merck Research Laboratories, including external research, in-licensing, out-licensing, regional deals and academic alliances. Merck Research Laboratories Ventures Fund also reports in to Ben.
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 then their 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.