Maria-Jesus Blanco PhD

Senior Director, Head of Chemistry, Sage Therapeutics

Dr. Maria-Jesus Blanco is a highly experienced and enthusiastic medicinal chemist focused on bringing meaningful medicines to patients. She is currently Head of Chemistry and Senior Director at Sage Therapeutics in Cambridge, MA. Previously, she was Director of Discovery Chemistry Research & Technologies at Eli Lilly. She has been working in drug discovery and development for >21 years, playing leadership and strategic roles in Neuroscience as well as emerging fields of drug discovery as PET ligands, chemical biology, protein-protein interactions and translational research. Maria was part of the team that discovered Reyvow (approved by the FDA in 2019 for the acute treatment of migraine). She has actively contributed to the delivery of 14 compounds to clinical studies. Maria obtained her Bachelor and Ph.D. degree in Synthetic 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 before joining Lilly headquarters in Indianapolis. Maria has >85 scientific publications, presentations, patent and patent applications. Maria is an engaged science advocate, mentor and champion for women in STEM. She has organized multiple ACS medicinal chemistry sessions, the 2018 ACS National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium and the 2020 Keystone Symposium on Brain Therapeutics. She is a member of the executive committee of ACS National Division of Medicinal Chemistry, being the 2021-22 Program Chair.