BlackThorn Therapeutics Names Bill Martin, Ph.D., President and Chief Operating Officer

Paul L. Berns Joins Board of Directors as Executive Chair

San Francisco – November 5, 2018 – BlackThorn Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company discovering and developing targeted treatments for neurobehavioral disorders, today announced the promotion of Bill Martin, Ph.D., to the position of president and chief operating officer. The Company also appointed Paul L. Berns, a biopharma industry veteran, to the board of directors as executive chair.

Dr. Martin succeeds Greg Vontz as president, who also served as chief executive officer and has departed the Company. With Mr. Berns joining BlackThorn’s board, Mark Corrigan, former chairman, will now be the lead independent director.

“With Bill as president and COO and Paul as executive chair, BlackThorn is led by two highly accomplished biopharma executives who have decades of industry experience and a very successful track record of bringing novel central nervous system medicines to patients in need,” said Kristina Burow, managing director at ARCH Venture Partners and a member of BlackThorn’s board of directors. “As BlackThorn continues to develop its pipeline and advance the clinical development of its two lead programs, it is well positioned for success. The BlackThorn board is thrilled to continue working with Bill in this new leadership role and would like to thank Greg for his service over the last two years.”

“In my new role, I’m excited to build on the progress we’ve made to date in pursuing our goal of developing transformational medicines for people with neurobehavioral disorders who have been stigmatized by their condition and currently have few, if any, effective treatment options,” said Dr. Martin. “I’m looking forward to partnering with Paul, who has extensive product development and commercial experience and a deep background in strategic leadership and business development.”

Dr. Martin is a founding member of BlackThorn’s management team and has served as chief scientific officer since the Company’s inception. During that time, he established BlackThorn’s vision and has been instrumental in building an integrated data science team and Research function that, together with Clinical Development, has created a robust pipeline of novel investigational therapeutics for neurobehavioral disorders, including two lead programs in Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical development. Prior to joining BlackThorn, Dr. Martin held multiple leadership positions at Theravance Biopharma, including leading the company’s research portfolio planning initiative and serving as a member of the strategic partnership team and project team leader for an advanced clinical-stage central nervous system (CNS) program. He began his career at Merck where he contributed to the strategic direction of Merck’s Neuroscience franchise and chaired multiple CNS development teams. He has helped advance more than 12 new chemical entities into development. He graduated from Swarthmore College, earned a Ph.D. from Brown University, and conducted postdoctoral research at the Keck Center for Integrative Neuroscience at the University of California, San Francisco.

“I was drawn to this opportunity to serve as executive chair of BlackThorn’s board because I truly believe in its mission of understanding complex neurobehavioral disorders and applying these insights to develop targeted therapeutics to improve the lives of people suffering from these disorders,” said Mr. Berns. “I’m looking forward to partnering with Bill, the BlackThorn team and the entire board as the Company continues to pursue a novel approach of combining data science and technology to develop and deliver CNS medicines to patients, while attracting top talent and building shareholder value.”

Mr. Berns is currently a venture partner at ARCH. He previously served as president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors of Anacor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. which was acquired by Pfizer Inc. He was president, chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors of Allos Therapeutics, Inc. until its acquisition by Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He also was president, chief executive officer and a director of Bone Care International, Inc., which was acquired by Genzyme Corporation. Prior to that, he was vice president and general manager of the Immunology, Oncology and Pain Therapeutics business unit of Abbott Laboratories. Earlier, he served as vice president, marketing, of BASF Pharmaceuticals/Knoll until its acquisition by Abbott Laboratories. He held various positions, including senior management roles, at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. Mr. Berns is a member of the board of directors of MC2 Therapeutics, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, PLC, Menlo Therapeutics and UNITY Biotechnology. He earned a B.S. in economics from the University of Wisconsin.

About BlackThorn Therapeutics, Inc.
BlackThorn Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to transforming the lives of people with neurobehavioral disorders. BlackThorn has created a robust pipeline of first-in-class and potentially best-in-class treatments. The company uses data-driven approaches to create a unique understanding of the core underlying pathophysiology of neurobehavioral disorders and applies these insights to generate objective neuromarkers that support target identification, patient stratification and clinical trial design. BlackThorn Therapeutics is headquartered in San Francisco, Calif. For more information, please visit

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Julie Normart
W2O pure

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