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BlackThorn aims to learn as much about the patients as the drug. It’ll enroll patients with depression in one large study, and patients with other undisclosed diseases in “three or four” other short-term trials in parallel.
BlackThorn doesn’t have a CEO, but is led by executive chairman Mark Corrigan, a one-time Sepracor R&D chief who was most recently the CEO of Zalicus (a pain drug developer that merged with biosimilars developer Epirus Biopharmaceuticals). Other team members include Forrest, who ran the licensing office at Scripps for three years; chief medical officer Annette Madrid, formerly the CMO of Jazz Pharmaceuticals; and head of R&D Bill Martin, who was a top scientist at Theravance for a decade. Founding CEO Alex Tkachenko, a Genentech veteran, left the company in June to “move on to pursue a new opportunity,” Forrest says.
Ex-Celgene president of research & early development Tom Daniel, who as Xconomy reported earlier this week left the Summit, NJ, company over the summer to start a “shell” advisory group, is a senior advisor to BlackThorn.
“I [have] a deep commitment to high impact companies in areas where there is a convergence of emerging science and high therapeutic need,” Daniel says, via e-mail. “Neurobehavioral therapeutics meet those criteria, big time! Plus, I have high regard for the founders and the founding investors.”