Maria-Jesus Blanco headshot
Senior Vice President, Head of Drug Discovery

Maria-Jesus Blanco brings over 22 years of experience in drug discovery and development working in biotech and the pharmaceutical industry. Maria joined Atavistik Bio from Sage Therapeutics, where she served as Head of Chemistry and Sr. Director. Maria began her career at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis where she held positions of increasing responsibility over 17 years, including Director of Discovery Chemistry Research & Technologies. Her leadership, creativity and strategic thinking have led to impactful contributions on new chemical modalities, chemical biology, protein-protein interactions, PET ligands, translational research and small molecule therapeutics primarily in neuroscience and oncology. Maria was part of the team that discovered FDA-approved Reyvow (5-HT1F) and has actively contributed to the delivery of 14 compounds to clinical studies.

Maria obtained her BS and PhD degree in Organic Chemistry from the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. She held postdoctoral positions at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and at University of Strasbourg, France with Nobel Laureate Prof. Sauvage. Maria has >100 scientific publications, presentations, patent and patent applications. She was elected as a member of the executive committee of the ACS National Division of Medicinal Chemistry, being the 2021-22 Program Chair. After contributing as a guest editor to the special issue Women in Medicinal Chemistry, she is currently an associate editor for ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters. In 2021, she was inducted as an ACS Fellow for her lasting service to chemistry, society, and medicine.