About Us

Blue Oak Pharmaceuticals is committed to finding the next generation of drugs for the brain disorders.  We believe that first-in-class drugs will be discovered by integrating novel, custom-designed privileged chemotypes with validated in vivo systems neurobiology assays and brain circuit imaging.

Blue Oak drug hunters are experts in the systems neurobiology of brain disorders, medicinal chemistry and informatics.  Our industry-leading productivity integrates a “global research team” that integrates established partners with cutting-edge technologies in behavioral profiling, synthetic chemistry and brain imaging.  We advance first-in-class clinical candidates to early phase proof-of-concept studies using translational medicine biomarkers for brain circuit activity.

Blue Oak’s Vision

  • Help patients by creating superior new medicines that treat brain disorders.
  • Transform the CNS drug discovery paradigm using our proprietary chemistry platform, cutting-edge informatics and a global research team of technology partners.
  • Achieve rapid clinical confirmation by focusing on systems-level neurobiology measures and translational biomarkers.

Blue Oak Leadership

Thomas H. Large, Ph.D.
President and CEO

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Tom has broad leadership experience in large- and mid-size pharma companies ranging from discovery functions, clinical development and regulatory approval and new product planning. He has presented to Corporate, Board and Investor groups, contributed to the M+A due diligence for the acquisition of Sepracor and led the R+D integration with DSP Japan.  He has a track record of successful partnering with large pharma, biotech, CRO, academic and government organizations.

Tom graduated from the ISP and Ph.D. programs at Northwestern University, was a Howard Hughes postdoctoral scholar at UCSF and a member of the faculty of Case Western Reserve Medical School.  His honors include President’s and Alliance awards at Eli Lilly, Spirit of Innovation award at Sunovion, PharmaVoice 100 Leaders, PhRMA representative to the White House Precision Medicine Initiative and consultant to Harvard and MIT neuroscience.

Tom is a world-leading expert in the systems neurobiology of brain disorders and developing new paradigms for CNS drug discovery and development.  His research teams have produced 13 experimental drugs advancing through all stages of clinical development.  At Eli Lilly, his leadership roles included novel technology partnerships, strategic reorganization of Discovery Biology and implementing innovative research approaches across neuroscience, oncology and endocrine therapeutic areas.

As an executive leader at Sepracor/Sunovion, he pioneered a target-agnostic approach to CNS drug discovery and development that incorporated improved small molecule libraries, phenotypic screening, informatics and brain imaging as translational medicine biomarkers.  These efforts resulted in numerous discovery programs and clinical drugs with new modes-of-action and differentiation from existing CNS drug classes.  Tom co-founded Blue Oak Pharmaceuticals with Kerry Spear in order to further advance this research paradigm and discover the next generation of drugs for brain disorders.

Kerry L. Spear, Ph.D.
Chief Science Officer

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Kerry Spear, co-founder and Chief Science Officer of Blue Oak Pharmaceuticals, is responsible for initiating and advancing company programs from the discovery phase to IND filings.  He is a pioneer in the (re)emerging area of phenotypic drug discovery and the application of high-content phenotypic data to focus and accelerate lead generation and lead optimization processes.

He brings to Blue Oak over 35 years of experience in both large pharma and biotech where he led programs that cover a broad range of drug discovery research and which have resulted in 15 NCEs advancing into clinical development in multiple therapeutic areas (e.g., CNS, oncology, hematology, urology, respiratory, cardiovascular).  Kerry has also actively managed multidisciplinary outsourcing efforts at the international level to accelerate timelines and reduce costs while maintaining quality.

Dr. Spear is an Adjunct Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at Fudan University (Shanghai, China).  He is co-inventor of over 50 patents and published patent applications and is co-author of 33 peer-reviewed publications.  Kerry completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley under the direction of Professor Paul A. Bartlett.  He earned a Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a B.S. degree from Juniata College.

Advisors

Mark Corrigan, M.D.

Mark Corrigan, M.D.

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Dr. Corrigan has over 30 years of experience in treating psychiatric and central nervous system disorders.  He is a seasoned life sciences executive and retains significant interest in helping new companies be successful and discover new drugs, principally for CNS indications.  As a principal investigator for several novel antipsychotics and was involved in the development of numerous drugs, including Lunesta, Xopenex and Reboxitine.  Mark served as CEO of Zalicus, leading them through their merger with Epirus.  Previously, he was also executive vice president of research and development at Sepracor as well as Group Vice President of Global Research and Experimental Medicine at Pharmacia & Upjohn.  He is currently Executive Chairman of BlackThorn Therapeutics.

 

John Shumway

John Shumway

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John is a corporate leader and serial entrepreneur with a broad range of experiences in both the tech and biotech industries.   He is an expert in starting and running strategic initiatives to drive long term company growth through new product line creation and product-oriented business development and has extensive experience in strategic partnering, as well as M&A and capital acquisition. Previously, John was the Vice President of Product Marketing and General Manager of Business Development at Akamai Technologies.  He is currently CEO of I2BioMed, Managing Director of RevPath Partners and Executive-in-Residence at Progress Partners, a boutique investment bank (Boston and New York).

Adam Rosenberg

Adam Rosenberg

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Adam is a serial entrepreneur having over 20 years of experience in founding, leading and advising innovative healthcare and technology companies. He has co-founded numerous companies. In particular, Adam has applied a broad entrepreneurial experience in neuroscience to found both Teleos Therapeutics, a biotech company that utilizes in vivo phenotypic screening to discovery new treatments for CNS disorders, and Link Medicine, a company having a goal of developing novel treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. Adam is currently President and CEO of Rodin Therapeutics and Advisor to Atlas Venture.

Herbert Waldmann, Ph.D.

Herbert Waldmann, Ph.D.

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Professor Waldmann is the chair of the Department of Chemical Biology at the Max Plank Institute of Molecular Physiology as well the head of the Chemical Genomics Center of the Max Planck Society.  Author of more than 500 peer-reviewed scientific publications, he has been awarded numerous academic distinctions, including the Emil-Fischer Medal of the German Chemical Society, one of the highest distinctions in Organic Chemistry in Germany.

Herbert is recognized at the international level as an expert in the areas of chemical biology and in integrating cheminformatics, bioinformatics, and synthetic methodology to explore biologically relevant chemistry space.  Key research interests include the analysis of natural product structure for biology-oriented synthesis (BIOS), which employs biological relevance and pre-validation to identify novel bioactive compounds for the study of biology. This work includes the design and synthesis of natural-product-inspired compound collections and the development of novel enantioselective synthesis methodology, cell-based screening, and identification of the cellular targets of bioactive compounds.

Partners