Ben Thorner is Vice President, BD&L and Head of North American Innovation Hubs at Merck Research Laboratories. As such, Thorner leads the Boston Innovation Hub and the West Coast Innovation Hub, each of which is a full business development organization, tasked with bringing new molecules, technologies and collaborations into Merck, especially in the New England and West Coast Regions. The emphasis for these activities is on early-stage (prior to PoC in Humans) opportunities. The Innovation Hubs work closely with academic centers, biotech and pharma companies. Prior to joining Merck, Thorner was Head of Transactions in Strategic Alliances at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR). Prior to joining Novartis, Thorner led the execution of numerous deals as Executive Director of Licensing at Amgen. Thorner also held other roles at Amgen, including Senior Counsel in Amgen’s legal department, where he drafted and negotiated key licensing and related deals. Before moving in-house, Thorner worked as an attorney in private practice at the law firm of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP. Thorner also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Judge Randall R. Rader on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington D.C. Thorner holds a Masters Degree in Biology and a JD from the University of Virginia and an undergraduate degree in Government & Politics from George Mason University.