Speaker Biographies

Philip_Ashton-RickardtPhilip Ashton-Rickardt, PhD, Founder and CEO, Smith Therapeutics

Philip Ashton-Rickardt is an esteemed immunologist who was on the faculty at the University of Chicago and held the Chair in Immunology at Imperial College London. He has published >65 peer reviewed papers in >30 academic journals (including Cell, Science, Immunity and Nature Immmunology). Many of his basic findings on T lymphocytes have been incorporated into leading immunology textbooks and he is the inventor on 6 patents. He has served as an editor for several academic journals and has been a member of many grant review boards throughout the world. Philip’s work on T lymphocytes has been recognized by his peers through the award of tenure from The University of Chicago and by his fellow citizens through the award of the Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Bill Clinton. In 2017, Philip and his family returned to live in Boston where he has focused his energies in building Smith Therapeutics around immunotherapy in neurodegenerative disease and is the inventor of CAR-Treg therapy targeted to brain glial cell markers.


David+Baker+HeadshotDavid Baker, President and CEO, Vallon Pharmaceuticals

David is a co-founder of Vallon and has over 25 years of executive, operational and commercial leadership experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. He has been directly involved with the commercialization of five medications with annual sales in excess of $1 billion each, including Adderall XR® and Vyvanse®, the two most successful ADHD brands based on annual revenue.

Previously, David was the Chief Commercial Officer and interim CEO of Alcobra Pharma, a CNS specialty pharmaceutical company that completed a reverse merger with Arcturus Therapeutics in late 2017.   Prior to Alcobra, he worked at Shire for 10 years as Vice President of Commercial Strategy and New Business in the Neuroscience Business Unit, Global General Manager for Vyvanse® and Vice President, ADHD Marketing.

Prior to Shire, he worked at Merck in marketing, sales, market research, and business development. Mr. Baker's therapeutic expertise includes ADHD, autism, osteoporosis, migraine, and hyperlipidemia. 

Mr. Baker earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Computer Science from Duke university, and an MBA in Marketing, from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.


Bedows_AveryAvery Bedows, Neurotech Specialist, Loup Ventures

Avery is the Neurotechnology Specialist at Loup Ventures, a research-driven VC based in Minneapolis, where he looks at a wide variety of brain science-related companies; his broad coverage ranges from brain implants to wellness apps to computational neuroscience-inspired AI, and well beyond. Prior to Loup Ventures, Avery briefly attended Pomona College where he studied Computer Science before going on to found Altar, a company applying AR/VR to build Augmented Memory systems. Avery writes about the neurotechnology field, and publishes through his blog, The Substrate, and through Loup Ventures’ content platform.


Jamil_BegJamil Beg, MBA, 5AM Ventures

Jamil M. Beg joined 5AM Ventures in 2017 as a Principal. Prior to 5AM, Mr. Beg was at Sage Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SAGE) where he contributed to building the company through business development, corporate strategy, medical affairs, health economics & outcomes research and commercialization roles. Previously, Mr. Beg was an investment professional at Quaker Partners and contributed to investments in the firm’s portfolio companies including EKR Therapeutics (acquired by Cornerstone Therapeutics), Transave Inhalation Therapeutics (acquired by Insmed), NuPathe (NASDAQ: PATH, acquired by Teva) and Cempra (NASDAQ: CEMP). Mr. Beg started his career at Cambridge Pharma Consultancy (acquired by IMS Health) with a focus on pricing, market access and health economics outcomes research strategies for the biopharma industry. Mr. Beg earned his B.S.E. in Bioengineering and Master of Biotechnology degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his M.B.A. in Healthcare Management and Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where he was a recipient of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Merit Award. Mr. Beg is based in the Boston, MA office.


Deanna_BelskyDeanna Belsky, PhD, Associate, Dolby Family Ventures

Deanna joined Dolby Family Ventures in 2018 as an Associate. She completed postdoctoral work at Stanford University, studying general molecular mechanisms in neurodegeneration, and she earned her PhD from Rockefeller University, studying ALS in Marc Tessier-Lavigne’s laboratory. Deanna has an accumulated 10 years of laboratory experience and is a recipient of the National Science Foundation Fellowship, Women in Science Grant, and Neuroscience Fellowship at Rockefeller University.

Prior to joining the Dolby Family Ventures team, Deanna worked at a boutique biotech hedge fund and a life sciences consulting firm. Her responsibilities included scientific diligence of company technology and therapeutics, competitive landscape analysis, evaluating clinical trials, and forecast modeling.

Deanna earned a BS in Biochemistry and a BA in Asian Studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2011, graduating summa cum laude. She also spent a summer at Sichuan University studying Mandarin.


Kerrie-BradyKerrie Brady, BPharm, MS, MBA Chief Business Officer, Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy 

Kerrie Brady is a founder, chief business officer and executive vice president, corporate strategy of Centrexion Therapeutics. Kerrie’s career includes 30 years of experience as an international pharmaceutical executive. Prior to joining Centrexion, Kerrie was the Chief Operations Officer for Vallinex Inc., a company she founded as a spin-out from Arcion Therapeutics, Inc. Kerrie was the Co-founder and Chief Operations Officer for Arcion Therapeutics Inc., a biotech company developing topical products for the treatment of neuropathic pain. Previously, she was the Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Traxion Therapeutics, Inc., a biotech company focused on the development of new drugs to treat intractable pain. Kerrie holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy from Victorian College of Pharmacy, an MBA from the University of Melbourne and an M.S. in Biopharmaceuticals from the University of New South Wales.


Cathcart_BobBob Cathcart, President and CEO, AiM Medial Robotics

Cathcart has worked in sales, marketing and international operations for medical device companies for 33 years, most recently as CEO of Clear Guide Medical and SVP of Global Sales at Hansen Medical, a Silicon Valley leader in Intra-Vascular Robotics.  During his career, Cathcart also served as Divisional President of Datascope Interventional Products, a company focused on vascular closure devices and devices for chronic dialysis, which was sold to Maquet in 2009. Cathcart was President and CEO of FlowCo Inc., a preclinical company focused in the Interventional Cardiology Space.


Sherine_ChanSherine Chan, PhD, Co-Founder, Neuroene Therapeutics

Sherine Chan, PhD, is one of two Co-Founders of Neuroene Therapeutics, and an Associate Professor of Drug Discovery at the Medical University of South Carolina. She has been in the mitochondrial field since 1996 through degrees in Veterinary Biology (BS Hons. Murdoch University, Australia) and Clinical Biochemistry (PhD, University of Western Australia), and a postdoctoral fellowship at the NIH, which focused on mitochondrial diseases, particularly on gene loci for rare mitochondrial epilepsies. At her academic lab at the Medical University of South Carolina, her group has developed new small animal models and assays for mitochondrial dysfunction (www.SherineChan.com). These models and techniques are part of their platform for efficiently screening compounds for mitochondrial diseases. Along with Dr. James Chou, a medicinal chemist also at the Medical University of South Carolina, they spun out their academic research and started Neuroene Therapeutics, after discovering novel neuroactive Vitamin K analogs that improve mitochondrial and neuronal health in multiple animal models of difficult to treat neurological diseases. 


Anthony_DePasquaAnthony DePasqua, CEO, EnClear Therapies

An accomplished executive with twenty years of experience in med tech. Mr. DePasqua has a successful track record in both small & large companies having held leadership roles in business & product development, marketing & sales, as well as portfolio strategy. He has effectively developed & launched platform technologies, disposables & services in the neuro, orthopedic & oncology markets.


Christine_de-los_ReyesChristine de los Reyes, PhD, MBA, Vice President, Strategic Planning & Business Development, Alopexx Enterprises

Christine de los Reyes has over twenty five years of pharmaceutical experience and most recently was founder and Managing Director of BiotechPartnering Solutions, a business development consulting firm that advises life science companies on partnering strategy, search for potential partners, coordination of technical evaluation and due diligence, deal structure and transaction negotiation. She is also on the advisory board of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization. Prior to starting her own company, she was Executive Director of Licensing & Development at Pfizer, where she spent twelve years in their licensing group with a focus on in-licensing. She also was responsible for external search activities for new opportunities and led multidisciplinary teams conducting technical evaluation, due diligence, and financial valuation for licensing, co-promotion and M&A transactions with biotech and pharma companies. While at Pfizer, she also held senior positions in their US and international marketing and medical groups. Christine began her career as Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Texas. From there, she became Director of Clinical Research at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York, before joining Pfizer in 1989. Christine earned her Doctorate in Clinical Pharmacy from the University of Texas, a Master’s in Business Administration from St. Joseph’s University, and a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree from Wayne State University.


DeMesa_JimJim DeMesa, CEO, Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals
Jim DeMesa, MD, MBA, is CEO of Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals (a subsidiary of Emerald Health Sciences Inc., the Company’s largest shareholder) with 28-years’ experience in pharmaceutical product development, co-founder of MedXcel, a medical education company, member of the Boards of Directors of OncoSec Medical and Induce Biologics, and a former practicing physician.


Donabedian_DavidDavid H. Donabedian, PhD, CEO and Cofounder, Axial Biotherapeutics

Dr. Donabedian is an accomplished business development and strategy executive with extensive leadership experience. Dr. Donabedian has a track record of building companies, most recently as a Venture Partner at Longwood Fund.
Prior to joining Longwood, Dr. Donabedian has held various leadership roles at biopharmaceutical companies including AbbVie and GSK. At AbbVie, Dr. Donabedian served as Vice President & Global Head of Ventures and Early Stage Collaborations where he led a global team that completed significant transactions across multiple therapeutic areas and stages of development. Prior to AbbVie, Dr. Donabedian served as Vice President Global New Deal Strategy and Development at GlaxoSmithKline, and Senior Manager at Accenture’s Strategic Services Consulting Group.
He holds a BA in Chemistry from St. Anselm College, a Ph.D. in Polymer Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and an MBA from the University of North Carolina. He currently serves on the Board of Alcyone Life Sciences, a privately held CNS company which he co-founded.


Philippe_DiazPhilippe Diaz, PhD, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of DermaXon 
Dr. Diaz has more than 20 years of experience leading small and large teams of research scientists within both academia and industry. He started his career at Galderma R&D where he held senior leadership roles in the in the drug discovery department. He was a senior scientist at the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston where he became interested in the complexity of cannabinoid pharmacology and the design of small molecules to treat pain. Philippe holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Aix-Marseille and an engineering degree in Chemistry from ENSSPICAM (now Ecole Centrale de Marseille). He has authored more than 33 peer-reviewed publications and is co-inventor of more than 24 patents.


John_DonoghueJohn Donoghue, PhD, Director, Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering 

Prof. John P. Donoghue is one of the most recognized researchers in the field of neuroengineering and considered one of the founding fathers of the merger between neuroscience and cybernetics. He is best known for his work on human brain computer interfaces, as well as for research on brain function and plasticity. He is the founding Director of the Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering, based at Campus Biotech in Geneva, Switzerland. He founded the Brown Institute of Brain Science at Brown University (Rhode Island, USA) where he spent more than 30 years and where he maintains a professorship. He holds an adjunct professorship at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and is a visiting professor at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) in Switzerland. Prof. Donoghue was also a co-founder of an early neurotechnology startup company, Cyberkinetics. 

In 2013 his BrainGate neurotechnology, that aims to restore movement for people with paralysis, was recognised by the first Israel B.R.A.I.N. (Breakthrough Research And Innovation in Neurotechnology) prize, as well as the German Zülch (‘zoolk’) in 2007, the Roche-Nature Medicine in 2010, and the Schrödinger prize in 2012. 
Prof. Donoghue is a Fellow of several academies including the US Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Science, the American Institute for Medical and Biomedical Engineering, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Academy of Inventors. He was also a member of the National Institutes of Health Committee for The White House BRAIN Initiative. 

He has spoken worldwide, including lectures at the World Economic Forum, the Vatican Pontifical Academy of Science and an Alfred Nobel Symposium. 

His work has been widely featured in the media, including the New York Times, the Economist, the Financial Times, as well as US and international television.


Lynn_DurhamLynn Durham, CEO, Stalicla

Lynn is a biotech entrepreneur and the founder of STALICLA. Driven by her lifelong involvement with the autism patient and research community, she co-developed the Databased Endophenotyping Patient Identification model to kick-start systems biology-based drug development in ASD. Lynn has extensive experience in Business Development and has previously worked for the World Economic Forum, a leading Swiss venture capital firm, and startup accelerators in the lemanic area. She has also spent 5 years at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Geneva. Lynn Durham holds a master degree in political sciences and economic history and another in corporate communication. Lynn is finalizing a post-graduate degree in Drug Discovery and clinical Development at the Faculty of medicine of the University of Geneva.


Ekchian_LeonLeon Ekchian, MBA, PhD, President and CEO, NeuroSigma

Dr. Ekchian has served as a member of the board of directors and as President and Chief Executive Officer since the founding of NeuroSigma in 2008. Prior to co-founding NeuroSigma in March 2008, Dr. Ekchian served from 2005 to 2006 as President of Arrowhead Research Corporation, a publicly-traded company that commercializes innovative nanotechnologies in the electronic and biotech industries. From 1996 to 2005, Dr. Ekchian served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Litex, Inc., a company focused on commercializing an advanced automotive emission-control technology. Dr. Ekchian was a business development executive at Lockheed Martin from 1993 to 1996, where he focused on forming new ventures and evaluating new business plans and licensing opportunities. From 1988 to 1993, Dr. Ekchian was a program manager at Litton Industries developing ground-based and airborne tracking systems. Dr. Ekchian received a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA.


Ekins_SeanSean Ekins PhD, DSc, CEO, Collaborations Pharmaceuticals

Sean graduated from the University of Aberdeen; receiving his M.Sc., Ph.D. in Clinical Pharmacology and D.Sc. in Science. He then came to the USA and was a postdoctoral fellow at Lilly Research Laboratories, worked as a senior scientist at Pfizer and then Eli Lilly. He went on to join startup companies as Associate Director of Computational Drug Discovery at Concurrent Pharmaceuticals Inc. (now Allergan) and Vice President of Computational Biology at GeneGo (now Thomson Reuters). Sean is Founder and CEO of Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He is also on the SAB of the Pitt Hopkins Research Foundation and Adjunct Professor at 3 US universities. Since 2005 he has been awarded >20 NIH/DOD grants as well as performs as a consultant on many others. He has authored or co-authored >300 peer reviewed papers, book chapters, and edited 5 books and is inventor on 3 issued patents. For over 23 years he has been at the forefront of using machine learning software to further drug discovery research. He has a passion for finding new collaborators and helping rare disease research.


Eriksson_HansHans Eriksson, MD, PhD, CMO, Compass Pathways

Hans gained his MD and did his residency in psychiatry at Lund University in Sweden. He also holds a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from Lund University, and an executive MBA from Stockholm School of Economics. After having worked as consultant psychiatrist and assisting head of the Psychiatric Centre at Lund University Hospital, he moved to the pharmaceutical industry in 2000. He has been working in different roles with H. Lundbeck and AstraZeneca, especially on the development programmes for escitalopram, quetiapine XR, mecamylamine, and brexpiprazole for major depressive disorder, and for additional psychiatric indications. He had an active role in the successful regulatory submissions of Cipralex, Seroquel XR and Rexulti. He was the global medical lead for Seroquel XR at AstraZeneca, and in his most recent role he was Senior Director and head of clinical development for depression and paediatrics at H. Lundbeck. At COMPASS Pathways, Hans uses his clinical expertise and clinical development experience to lead the development programme.


Fertig_StephanieStephanie Fertig, MBA, Director, NINDS Small Business Programs, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health  

Stephanie J. Fertig joined the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) in 2004 and currently serves as the Director for the NINDS Small Business Programs, which includes both small business innovative research (SBIR) and small business technology transfer (STTR) projects. Prior to this role, Ms. Fertig was part of the Repair and Plasticity cluster at NINDS, where her primary scientific interests included neural engineering and neuroprosthesis, as well as traumatic brain injury. Before coming to NINDS, Ms. Fertig earned a B.S. degree in Chemistry with a major in Physics from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. After completing her degree, she joined Nova Research, Inc. and worked as a researcher in the Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington D.C. At NRL she contributed to multiple bioengineering projects, including the development of molecular switches, microbial fuel cells, microfluidics for use in biosensor applications, and a wide variety of biosensor systems. Ms. Fertig also received a M.B.A. from the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business in 2007.


Murali_GopalakrishnanMurali Gopalakrishnan, MBA, PhD, Senior Director and Head, Neuroscience Search and Evaluation, AbbVie 

Murali Gopalakrishnan is currently Senior Director and Head, Search & Evaluation Neuroscience, at AbbVie, North Chicago, Illinois, USA. Murali joined Abbott/AbbVie in 1993 and subsequently held various positions of increasing responsibility leading research programs and research teams in neuroscience, pain, renal and urology - advancing multiple clinical candidates across these therapeutic areas. He has extensively published in scientific journals and was inducted to the Volwiler Research Society in 2002. From 2009-2013, Murali took on the role as Head of the then newly formed Global External Research group, leading a team focused on developing external innovation strategies with various therapeutic areas, and enabling the identification, diligence and establishment of external collaborations around emerging science, targets, technologies and preclinical assets. He was also responsible for the leadership of AbbVie China R&D Center in Shanghai, since its inception in 2009 and subsequently led the Renal Discovery Therapeutic Area, advancing research programs in Chicago & Shanghai, and via a network of external academic partnerships. Since 2015, he has taken on a leadership position within AbbVie’s Search & Evaluation team, with responsibilities for accessing and advancing opportunities in in the Neuroscience Therapeutic area. Murali obtained his undergraduate training in pharmacy from Banaras Hindu University, India and a PhD in pharmacology from the School of Pharmacy, SUNY at Buffalo, New York. He completed his post-doctoral training in molecular biology at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas and has an MBA degree from the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, Illinois.


Atsushi-HashimotoAtsushi Hashimoto, Vice President, Business Development Department, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation

Atsushi Hashimoto joined Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma in 2005 as a research scientist in medicinal chemistry. He transitioned to the business development team in 2007 and was appointed vice president in 2019. He has a wide breath of experience in scouting, evaluation, licensing and strategic alliances with a focus in CNS and autoimmune diseases. Prior to joining Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma, Atsushi spent two years as a visiting scholar in the department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Delaware. He had been a research scientist in medicinal chemistry at Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation from 1997 until 2002. Atsushi holds a master’s degree in Pharmaceutical science from Tohoku University.


Nicole_JohnsonNicole Johnson, President, FOXG1 Research Foundation

Nicole Johnson is a co-founder of the FOXG1 Research Foundation and mother to seven-year-old Josie, who has a severe mutation of the FOXG1 gene. With more than two decades of experience in media and communications, Nicole leads our communications and marketing strategy and wears many hats as the foundation President. Nicole was a founding partner and the Director of Communications of the OTT streaming music service, Qello Concerts that was sold to publicly traded company Stingray in 2018. Prior to starting Qello in 2007, Nicole worked many years as a producer for CNN and for NBC, and then moved into corporate communications for several Fortune 500 companies. Nicole is also a member of the East lake Consulting team based in New York.


Angelique_JohnsonAngelique  Johnson, PhD, CEO and Founder, MEMStim

Angelique  Johnson  is  CEO/founder  of  MEMStim LLC, a company that  produces  implantable  electronics  to treat neurological disorders. With a doctorate in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan, her work on  microfabricated electrode  arrays  has  resulted  in  several  national  and  international  patents, funding from  the NSF  and  NIH,  and  a  feature  on  the  cover  of Hearing  Research. As  an expert in  Lean  Startup  Methodology,  Dr. Johnson has  educated several  founders on how  to  build successful  companies. She  is  an  authority  on  innovation and  entrepreneurship.  Dr.  Johnson has  delivered  a  congressional  briefing  on  Capitol  Hill, served as a speaker for the eighth district of the Federal Reserve, and delivered several international talks. She has been featured on NBC Universal, National Public Radio, The Root news site, Louisville Insider, Business First, and other media outlets. Passionate about people as well as entrepreneurship, Dr. Johnson has led numerous outreach programs to promote tech careers to underrepresented minorities and women. One such program involved her traveling to Abu Dhabi to increase opportunities in STEM for Middle Eastern and North African Women. Dr. Johnson is CEO/Founder of Vissionaireum, an organization that promotes, trains and equips underrepresented entrepreneurs.


Kim_SungyoungSunyoung Kim, DPhil, Founder and CEO, ViroMed

Sunyoung Kim, DPhil, is the founder and current CEO of ViroMed Co., Ltd. 
Dr. Kim is highly regarded as a successful entrepreneurial scientist, served on the Seoul National University faculty (1992-2018) after serving as an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School (1990-1992).


Laszlo_KissLaszlo Kiss, PhD, Executive Director, WRD and Principal at Pfizer Ventures.

Laszlo is responsible for identifying, evaluating, making and managing equity investments aligned with the future directions of Pfizer, with a current emphasis on neuroscience. He currently has responsibility for Pfizer's investments in Accelerator NYC, Aquinnah, Magnolia, System1, and Yumanity. Laszlo was previously the Global Head Neuroscience, External Science and Innovation, where he was responsible for driving the overall in-licensing objectives, strategies and tactics for growth of the company's neuroscience therapeutic area. Laszlo has over 20 years of drug discovery, development and management experience. He has a successful track record in leading CNS, CV and Rare Disease drug discovery programs from early exploratory research through clinical development. Prior to joining Pfizer, Laszlo held a variety of roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Essen Biosciences, and Merck & Co. Laszlo received his BS in Biology and PhD in Physiology and Neurobiology from the University of Connecticut.


michael_krandaMichael Kranda, Sr. Director of Business Development, Allen Institute
Michael Kranda joined the Allen Institute in 2016.  As the Senior Director of Business Development, he is responsible for developing translational and applied research initiatives. His association with the Institute dates to 2003 when he served on the initial Allen Institute for Brain Science board of directors.  
Prior to joining the Allen Institute, Kranda served in several senior roles as CEO, President, COO, and the Director of investors representative for multiple public and private biotech companies including Immuex (now Amgen), Oxford GlycoSciences, Vulcan Capital’s Life Sciences Investment Group, and PTC Therapeutics with a focus on business and corporate development, operations, manufacturing, finance, collaborations and M&A. 
A native of Seattle, Kranda holds BA and MBA degrees in finance from the University of Washington.


Emer_LeahyEmer Leahy, PhD, MBA, President and CEO, Psychogenics

Dr. Emer Leahy received her Ph.D. in Neuropharmacology from University College Dublin, Ireland, and her MBA from Columbia University. She is CEO of PsychoGenics Inc., a profitable preclinical CNS service company, CEO of PGI Drug Discovery LLC, a company engaged in psychiatric drug discovery with three partnered Phase II clinical programs and Adjunct Associate Professor of Neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Dr. Leahy has more than 25 years of experience in drug discovery, clinical develop and business development for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including extensive knowledge of technology assessment, licensing, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic planning. Prior to her appointment as CEO of PsychoGenics, she was Vice President of Business Development, a position she also held at American Biogenetic Sciences and at AMBI Inc. Dr. Leahy served on the Emerging Companies Section Governing Board for the Board of Directors of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Intensity Therapeutics, the Business Review Board for the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, and the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Rett Syndrome Foundation.


LemaTome_CarlaCarla M. Lema Tome, MBA, PhD, Senior Manager, AESARA

Carla Lema Tome is a Commercial and Medical Strategy consultant working with pharmaceutical and medical device companies focused in the CNS space to develop integrated clinical development plans, evaluating assets and markets and supporting launch planning. Previously, Carla was Director of Research at NeuroInsights, a market research and consultancy firm. She was also an Editor at Neurotech Insights, the monthly investment newsletter focused on drugs, devices, software and diagnostics for the brain and nervous system. Carla has a PhD in Neurobiology and Anatomy and an MBA, both from Wake Forest University. Carla maintains an Adjunct Assistant Professor’s appointment at Wake Forest School of Medicine where she lectures on neurotech commercialization, developmental neuroscience and regulatory affairs. She is also an advisor to Lexaria Biosciences and Arrevus Therapeutics.


Lengacher_SylvainSylvain Lengacher, PhD, Co-Founder and CEO, Gliapharm

Dr. Sylvain Lengacher is a molecular biologist and has over 20 years of experience in the field of neuroscience research, biotechnology management, and technology transfer. He is co-founder of GliaPharm where he serves as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman of the Board. Dr. Lengacher has been a research director at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland) for the past 10 years. He is also the Knowledge and Technology Transfer (KTT) officer responsible for the processing and management of intellectual property of the National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCR) program Synapsy of the Swiss National Science Foundation. Dr. Lengacher holds a PhD in molecular biology and has also graduated from EPFL in the Management of Biotech, Medtech and Pharma Ventures.


Leuchter_BruceBruce Leutcher, MD, Partner, PJT Partners

Dr. Bruce Leuchter is a Partner at PJT Partners where he provides M&A and capital markets advisory services to companies in the life science industry with a focus on the biotechnology sector. Dr. Leuchter is a physician by training and Neuropsychiatrist by specialty. He completed residency training in Neurology and Psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College and is a Dipolmate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Leuchter served as Director of Clinical Neuropsychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and maintains a faculty appointment of Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry. Dr. Leuchter’s financial services experience, prior to joining PJT Partners, includes roles in equity research and investment banking at Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse, respectively. He serves as a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Daedelus Fund for Innovation at Weill Cornell Medical College, and on the Leadership Council of the Life Science Institute at the University of Michigan.

Manuel_Lopez_FigueroaManuel Lopez-Figueroa, PhD, Managing Director, Bay City Capital

Manuel López-Figueroa, PhD, is a Managing Director at Bay City Capital and has been with the firm since 2001. He specializes in evaluating investment opportunities with an emphasis on CNS. In addition, Dr. López is the Scientific Liaison for the Pritzker Neuropsychiatric Disorders Research Consortium, a collaborative research enterprise comprised of a group of leaders in psychiatry, neuroscience, and genetics from Stanford University, University of Michigan, Cornell University, and the Universities of California at Davis and Irvine. The consortium aims to discover the neurobiological and genetic determinants of mood disorders and schizophrenia with the goal to develop novel diagnostics and therapeutics. Dr. López is responsible for planning and directing all aspects of the consortium including strategy, R&D, legal (IP & contracts) and financial, to facilitate the commercialization of discoveries to fund additional research. Dr. López has over 15 years of experience in the field of neuroscience, has won numerous awards during his academic research career, and has published extensively. He completed post-doctoral work at the University of Michigan and at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Dr. López received a PhD in Medicine and Surgery, and a MS in Molecular and Cell Biology from the Universities of Las Palmas and La Laguna, Spain, respectively.


Maiques_AnaAna Maiques, CEO, NeuroElectrics

Ana was nominated by IESE as one of the most influential entrepreneurs under 40 in Spain in 2010, she was the only woman on that list. She received the EU Prize for Women Innovators from the European Commission EC in 2014. Also in 2014, she was an award recipient of the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge. In 2015 & 2016, she was named one of most inspiring women on the Inspiring Fifty list in Europe of women technological leaders and innovators. Ana continues to break the barriers for women and entrepreneurs bringing together science and technology in an impactful way.


Zach-MalchanoZach Malchano, President, Cognito Therapeutics  

Zach Malchano is the President of Cognito Therapeutics and previously served as General Manager and Vice President of Product Development. Prior to Cognito, he was a founder and early-employee at a number of different medical device startups where he was responsible for company development, program leadership, and product development. Zach served as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Rock Health, where he analyzed opportunities in digital healthcare, performed diligence, and advised portfolio companies. Zach received his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT and his Masters degree in Biomedical Engineering from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, and he completed the Biodesign Innovation Fellowship at Stanford University. Zach also serves as an affiliate faculty member at the Center for Primary Care at Harvard Medical School.


Malik_WasimWasim Malik, PhD, Managing Partner, Iaso Ventures

Wasim Malik, PhD, is the Founder and Managing Partner at Iaso Ventures, the nation’s first venture capital fund focused exclusively on neuroscience and behavioral health. He is also the Director of the Neuromotor Signal Processing Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He previously served as the Chief Digital Strategist at Roivant Sciences, where he oversaw strategic partnerships and investments across the spectrum of digital health technologies. He sits on the board of MonARC Bionetworks, Saphetor, and Rexo, and serves as a health-tech startup mentor at Creative Destruction Lab NY and Dreamt Ventures. He is a Steering Committee Member of the IEEE Brain Initiative and the Chair of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society’s Boston Chapter. He received his doctorate in electrical engineering from Oxford and postdoctoral training in computational neuroscience from MIT.


James_MoeJames Moe, PhD, MBA, President and CEO, Oligomerix

Dr. Moe has 20+ years industrial experience having held senior management positions in product development working on international teams in both early and late stage diagnostic, biotechnology and biopharmaceutical companies including Gene-Trak/Amoco Technology Ventures/Vysis, bioMerieux, and Mosaic Technologies. Prior to founding Oligomerix, he was Director of Product Development at Pyrosequencing, Senior Molecular Biologist at Spire Biomedical, and Director of Product Development at Q-RNA, Inc. Dr. Moe received his Ph.D. degree in Molecular Biology/Molecular Biophysics from Wesleyan University, did his postdoctoral studies at Vanderbilt University in the Center for Molecular Toxicology where he was jointly appointed in the Biochemistry Department in the Medical School, and the Chemistry Department in the College of Arts and Sciences, and has an MBA degree with a concentration in entrepreneurial studies from Boston University.


Randall_MoreadithRandall W. Moreadith, MD, PhD, CEO, Serina Therapeutics

Randall joined Serina Therapeutics in September 2010 as President and Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining Serina, Dr. Moreadith, 64, was Chief Development Officer at Nektar Therapeutics where he built a clinical and drug development program that successfully moved several of the company’s PEGylated small molecule drugs into the clinic, including the launch of NKTR-102 into four clinical indications (ovarian, breast, cervical and colorectal cancer) and the out-licensing efforts for NKTR-118 (approved product now known as Movantik®, Astra Zeneca and Daiichi Sankyo). He was formerly the Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Cardium Therapeutics where he led the advancement of novel DNA-based therapeutics into Phase 2b and Phase 3 late-stage development. Before Cardium, Dr. Moreadith served as Chief Medical Officer of Renovis, Inc. where he led the Clinical, Regulatory and Quality Assurance Groups. Prior to that, Dr. Moreadith was co-Founder, President and Chief Operating Officer of ThromboGenics Ltd., a leader in the field of thrombosis drug development. During his tenure at ThromboGenics, the company advanced four biologics into mid-stage development, and one product was later approved (Ocriplasmin™). Dr. Moreadith began his career in the pharmaceutical industry as Principal Medical Officer of Quintiles, Inc., the world’s leading pharmaceutical services organization, where he led the Cardiovascular Therapeutics Group. Dr. Moreadith has published more than 50 scientific papers and multiple book chapters, is an inventor on multiple patents, and has received numerous awards for his achievements. He received his MD from Duke University and is trained clinically in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Diseases. He received his PhD from Johns Hopkins University, and following his Fellowship in Cardiology at Duke University he joined the laboratory of Professor Philip Leder where he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellow in Genetics at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Moreadith was a member of the faculty of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where he was an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association.


Pierandrea_Muglia_(1)Pierandrea Muglia, MD, VP & Head, Neurology New Patient Value Mission, UCB Pharma 

Pierandrea Muglia, M.D., is at UCB since 2012, initially as Vice President and  Head of Neurology Discovery Medicine leading the early clinical development and translational medicine strategy for the neurology portfolio. Now Heading the Neurology New Patient Value Mission shaping the neurology strategy overseeing the organic and inorganic growth for the neurology portfolio at UCB. Before joining UCB Dr. Muglia was CMO and co-founder of a CNS biotech Saniona S/A, that was a spin-off of NeuroSearch where Dr Muglia lead the clinical development activities for the CNS portfolio. Dr Muglia started his Pharma career at GSK in 2003 in the Psychiatry early development organization, designing proof of concept studies for a number of psychiatric indications. While at GSK Dr. Muglia, established large scale networks of clinical and genetics research that led to the identification of the first established genetic risk factors for bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and nicotine dependence. 

Dr. Muglia is author of over 100 publications in the area of neuropsychopharmacology, drug development, genetics and biological psychiatry. He is co-founder and board member of Italian Autism Network, a not-for-profit organization devoted to the investigation of the biological factors involved in the etiology of autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Muglia received his M.D. and specialty training in child neurology and psychiatry in Italy followed by a post-doctorate and an independent academic research as Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, in the Department of Psychiatry.


Pritchard_KirkwoodKirkwood A. Pritchard, PhD, Co-Founder and CSO, ReNeuroGen 

Dr. Pritchard is a Co-Founder, CSO, and Board Director of ReNeuroGen LLC. Dr. Pritchard is a tenured Research Professor in the Division of Pediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, at the Medical College of Wisconsin (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA). He has broad and diverse translational research interests in a number of disease indications including, stroke, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, sickle cell disease and bronchopulmonary dysplasia in premature babies. He holds a PhD from Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio, USA), and undertook a postdoctoral fellowship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine (New York, NY, USA).


Susan_RosenbaumSusan Rosenbaum, JD, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Lauren Sciences

10 years successful biotech visionary entrepreneur & strategic executive; founder (present): biotech companies (Lauren Sciences LLC/Lauren Biotech LLC; Maya Sciences LLC/Maya Biochem LLC); 20 years prior corporate finance, law, development & management; founder (past): investment banking firm (Rosenbaum & Co.), law firm (Rosenbaum, P.C.); private & public company boards of directors; national/international author & speaker


Sachdev_RavneeshRavneesh Sachdev, MBA, Vice President, Business Development, Sage Therapeutics

Ravneesh Sachdev is Vice President/Head, Business Development at Sage Therapeutics based in Cambridge. Ravneesh evaluates and transacts on partnerships in order to inorganically grow Sage’s business. Over the past 15+ years of his business development career, Ravneesh has contributed to, as well as, led the execution of more than 20 partnerships during his tenure at several other companies, namely Pfizer, Onyx Pharmaceuticals (now part of Amgen), UCB Pharma, Acorda Therapeutics and Bioverativ (now part of Sanofi). Ravneesh earned his Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Neuroscience from Claremont McKenna College, his Professional Science Masters degree from the Keck Graduate Institute and his MBA from Yale University School of Management. 


Sanderson_ThomasThomas Sanderson, PhD, Founder and Co-CSO, Mitovation

Dr. Sanderson is Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and Molecular and Integrative Physiology at the University of Michigan. He serves as a grant reviewer for the NIH, DoD, and American Heart Association (AHA), and has received numerous research excellence awards from the AHA. His research focus is in cardiac arrest and resuscitation, translation of therapeutics, and mitochondrial dysfunction.


Aaron_SandoskiAaron Sandoski, MBA, Co-founder & Managing Director, Norwich Ventures

Aaron Sandoski is Co-founder & Managing Director of Norwich Ventures, a specialized venture capital firm focused on early-stage MedTech. Aaron’s current investments include Affera, Arterys, Lexington Medical, Pelvalon, Podimetrics, ReThink Medical and Vaxess Technologies. Previous investments include Rhythmia Medical (acquired by Boston Scientific) and Intelligent Bio-systems (acquired by Qiagen). Prior to founding Norwich Ventures, Aaron worked for DEKA R&D, the engineering think tank of Dean Kamen. He has also worked in start-up operations where he helped launch a subsidiary of Express Scripts and helped launch a venture-backed payments company. Aaron began his career as a consultant at McKinsey & Company, where he advised healthcare clients ranging from leading medical device companies to a rural hospital system. Aaron is co-author of How the Wise Decide (Crown Business), a book on best practices in making tough decisions, which has been translated into 11 foreign languages. Aaron earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College with a double A.B. in Chemistry and Economics.


Nick_ScarchilliNicholas Scarchilli, MBA, Director, Business Development,  Biogen

Nick brings over 12 years of experience across Business Development, Corporate Strategy, and Finance roles.  As a Director of Business Development and Licensing at Biogen, he oversees the deal process in its entirety, from initial review to close.  His most recent signed deals were Biogen’s $877mm agreement to acquire Nightstar Therapeutics and $415mm collaboration and license agreement with C4 Therapeutics.  Prior to joining Biogen, he spent time at Huron Consulting Group as a strategy consultant and at Raytheon Company in various finance and corporate strategy roles.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.  He lives outside Boston with his wife, two kids, and three fish.


Erik_SchaefferEric Schaeffer, PhD, Senior Director Neuroscience Innovation, Johnson & Johnson Innovation

Eric Schaeffer has more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and has delivered multiple CNS drug candidates to the clinic in both large and small company environments. Eric has an extensive background in the biology and pharmacology of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. In his current role as Senior Director of Neuroscience Innovation at Johnson & Johnson, Eric is responsible for establishing and managing external partnerships with biopharma and academic groups in the Eastern United States, with a focus on mood disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. Previous roles held by Eric include Senior Director of Neuroscience Discovery at Pfizer where he was responsible for leading the preclinical pharmacology group, Director of Neuropharmacology at CHDI where he initiated and managed biotech and academic partnerships focused on Huntington’s disease, and Director of Clinical Biomarkers at Bristol-Myers Squibb where he was responsible for development and execution of the translational strategies for early clinical programs in the areas of schizophrenia, depression and neuromuscular diseases. Eric received his PhD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and did postdoctoral work at MIT and Rockefeller University prior to initiating a career in the pharmaceutical industry.


Shafer_BethBeth Shafer, PhD, Head of Neuroscience Business Development, Center for External Innovation, Takeda Pharmaceuticals

Dr. Beth Shafer is the Head of Neuroscience Business Development at Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd and is based in Cambridge, MA. Prior to joining Takeda, she was the Head of Search & Evaluation for Disease Area X and Ophthalmology at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR) in Cambridge, MA. As an integral member of the Disease Area Leadership at NIBR, she helped to bolster their portfolio and research strategies by creating and executing on external partnership solutions. Prior to her time at Novartis Dr. Shafer led global scouting, deal teams and cross-functional pharmaceutical project teams (to enable strategic decisions and licensing transactions) at F. Hoffmann-La Roche in Basel, Switzerland. In these roles, she was integral to building therapeutic area portfolios and to developing strategies for disruptive technologies, and at Roche, she played a critical role in defining the organization’s Rare Disease strategy and initiatives focused on novel therapeutic modalities. Prior to her time in Pharma, Beth completed extensive training in the Neurosciences, molecular biology and biophysics. She undertook her Masters degree at Columbia University in New York and PhD at University of California, San Diego (UCSD). She also completed her post-doctoral fellowship at UCSD, during which time, she worked as a consultant to Brain Cells Inc in San Diego.


Maria_ShepherdMaria Shepherd, MBA, Principal, Mass Medical Angels

Maria Shepherd founded Medi-Vantage in 2007. Her vision in forming Medi-Vantage was to Help Medtech Companies Maximize Global Opportunities. Maria realized through her own experience subject matter expertise is critical to navigating the multiple strategic opportunities that small start-ups and Fortune 100 companies encounter. The Medi-Vantage team is dedicated finding data that helps executive in medtech, diagnostics and digital health make decisions that reduce risk and maximize opportunity. Maria is recognized as an industry expert and has 20 years of leadership experience in medical device/life sciences marketing, sales and business development. Her industry career included Vice President of Marketing for Oridion Medical(acquired by Medtronic), Director of Marketing for Philips Medical, and senior management roles at Boston Scientific. She speaks at medical device meetings, has served on the corporate board of the Anesthesiology Patient Safety Foundation and is a member of the Aligo Investment Committee, advising technology transfer departments at McGill and other Quebec universities on medical device investments and funding. Maria has achieved exciting company turnarounds and is recognized for growing sales and profits in her work as Vice President of Marketing for Oridion Medical, where she quickly delivered impressive bottom-line results. She brought Oridion to record sales/profitability, and is known for her ability to quickly diagnose growth impediments and apply solutions supported by data. Maria received her MBA, magna cum laude, from Babson College, cited by USA Today as the top US entrepreneurial program. Her BA is in Biology is from University of Pennsylvania.


Smith_MegMeg Smith, JD, Senior Vice President, Research Management, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund

Meg Smith joined Cure Alzheimer’s Fund as Senior Advisor, Strategy and Special Projects, in 2015. Working closely with Tim Armour, President and CEO, and Dr. Rudy Tanzi, Meg manages and coordinates research opportunities and funding for Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. She received her J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and her B.S., also magna cum laude, from Duke University and has been a management consultant with McKinsey & Company.


Mike_SzulczewskiMichael Szulczewski B.S.E.E., President and Co-founder, GliaCure

Michael Szulczewski received his BSEE with a major option in integrated circuits and electron devices in 1981 from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Mike was also the President and co-Founder of Prairie Technologies, Inc. Based in Madison, Wisconsin, Prairie manufactures, sells and supports laser microscopy instruments worldwide for use in cell biology and neurobiology research. Founded in 1995 Prairie was acquired by the Bruker Corporation in September 2013. Prior to founding Prairie, Mike held various positions with large corporations in engineering, sales, product management and general business.


Taldvakar_LauraLaura Tadvalkar, PhD, Senior Associate,  MP Healthcare Venture Management


Laura is a Senior Associate at MP Healthcare Venture Management (MPH), the strategic venture capital fund of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma. MPH invests in early-stage biotech companies developing novel therapeutics and platform technologies, in areas of strategic interest for Mitsubishi Tanabe. Laura is currently a Board Observer at Ribometrix, QurAlis, and Sonde Health. Laura is also a Kauffman Fellow (Class 23). Previously, Laura was a manager at Clarion Healthcare, a boutique life sciences consulting firm based in Boston. At Clarion, she worked with emerging and established biopharmaceutical companies on commercial strategy for therapeutics and drug/device combinations in rare disease and oncology. Laura attended Yale University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry, cum laude. She then completed a PhD in chemical biology at Harvard University, where she received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Her doctoral research focused on mitochondrial physiology, disease biology, and cancer metabolism.


Teresa_TarragóTeresa Tarrago, PhD, CEO and Co-Founder, iProteos

Dr. Tarragó has a PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Barcelona. She has solid expertise in drug discovery, gained during 15 years spent conducting several research lines on proteases and protease inhibitors at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and IRB Barcelona. She has experience in managing internationally-funded research projects, as well as directing joint undertakings with biotech companies. She has published over 40 papers and two books, and she holds four patents. In addition to her scientific qualifications, she holds an Executive MBA (ESADE) and has participated in entrepreneurship programmes, including “Ignite” at Cambridge Judge Business School and “BioEmprendedor XXI” (Barcelona).  


Martin_Tolar_Picture_September_2017Martin Tolar, MD, PhD, Founder, President & CEO, Alzheon, Inc. 
Prior to founding Alzheon, Dr. Tolar held executive positions in life sciences companies, where he established and grown new companies, business areas and product opportunities. Dr. Tolar served as President & CEO of Knome, Inc., President & CEO at NormOxys, Inc., and as Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Business Officer at CoMentis, Inc., where he built the first clinical beta secretase inhibitor platform and negotiated a deal for the program for $1.1 billion with Astellas Pharma in 2008. Dr. Tolar held a variety of clinical development and business leadership positions at Pfizer, where he was instrumental in a wide range of business transactions, including acquisition of Rinat Neuroscience for $500 million in 2006, and directed programs through all stages of clinical development and FDA approval including NDA filings. During his academic career, Dr. Tolar served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Tolar was recognized as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the world of drug development and manufacture by The Medicine Maker Magazine’s Power Lists for 2016, 2017 and 2018.


Tones_MichaelMichael Tones, PhD, Head of Pharmacology, Pulse Therapeutics

Dr. Tones was educated at the Universities of Sheffield and London and spent 25 years in the pharmaceutical industry leading R&D projects to discover and develop novel therapies for cardiovascular and neurological diseases. He is the Head of Pharmacology for Pulse Therapeutics, Inc. and the Principal Investigator on an NINDS grant-funded project to develop Magnetically Enhanced Diffusion (MED) technology for the treatment of acute ischemic stroke.


Harry_TracyHarry Tracy, PhD, Founder, NI Research

Harry Tracy PhD is the founder and President of NI Research. NIR’s bimonthly publication, NeuroPerspective, is utilized by pharmaceutical companies and venture capital professionals around the world. NIR has also published  NeuroLicensing and the Private CNS Company Review. NIR  provides consulting services to pharmaceutical companies, ranging from the largest of major pharma companies to small startups, and to venture capital/private equity group assessing CNS investment opportunities.

Dr. Tracy’s background includes twenty-five years of experience as a clinician and consultant in a variety of psychiatric and neurological settings.  He received his PhD from the University of Miami, and completed his clinical training at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. He has been a Research Associate in the Dept. of Neurology at the University of California, Davis.


Susanne_WilkeSusanne Wilke, PhD, MBA, CEO, Cognoptix

Appointed CEO of Cognoptix in January 2019, Dr. Wilke is an experienced executive with over 30 years of experience in drug development and Venture Capital Financing in senior positions in Pharma, Biotech, Venture Capital and Healthcare Consulting. She has extensive pharmaceutical research and drug development, operating, investing, financing and commercial experience. Prior to joining Cognoptix, Dr. Wilke served as the CEO and a Director of Neurotrope Biosciences (NTRP), a NASDAQ - listed clinical-stage biotech company which focuses on an innovative new mechanism of action for neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's Disease. While the CEO of Neurotrope, Dr. Wilke instituted a transformative strategy and business plan that encompassed financial, clinical, operational and commercial changes. She restructured Neurotrope, raised $26m of equity, in-licensed from Stanford University the critically important synthetic route for its lead, Bryostatin, up-listed Neurotrope to NASDAQ, built out the scientific advisory board and advanced the company clinically. Prior still, Dr. Wilke was founder and Managing Partner of CrossBridge International, an internationally active healthcare Advisory Firm focused on Healthcare Strategy and Capital Formation.  Prior to that, Dr. Wilke was a Worldwide Director of Commercial Assessment and In-licensing for Forest Labs, a specialty pharmaceutical company based in New York. At Forest Labs, Dr. Wilke led cross-functional due diligence teams across a wide variety of indications, including, CNS, oncology cardiovascular and orphan diseases.  While at Forest Labs, Dr. Wilke worked extensively on reimbursement strategies.  Early in her career, Dr. Wilke was a team leader at Roche Pharma in Metabolic Disease. She also served as team leader for the planning and set-up of Amgen's research efforts in Cambridge, MA and was program manager for its Gene Therapy efforts.  Dr. Wilke  spent over five years in Venture Capital with SV Life Sciences in Boston and NGN Capital in New York, where she was involved in several winning investments like Rinat, GlycoFi and Sightline.

Dr. Wilke holds an MBA in general management and finance from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, a dual degree Ph.D.in chemistry and biochemistry with focus on drug development from University of Illinois, and a BS from Loyola University.  Dr. Wilke also served as a prestigious Kauffman Fellow.


Alice_ZhangAlice Zhang, Chief Executive Officer, Co-founder, Verge Genomics

Alice has been at the forefront of systems biology research for over seven years, at the National Cancer Institute, the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University, and UCLA. During this time, she has co-authored four peer-reviewed papers in high profile journals such as Cell and Neuron. She graduated from Princeton University magna cum laude with high honors in Molecular Biology and is a 2012 recipient of the prestigious Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. In 2010, she began training in the UCLA-Caltech MD/Ph.D. program, with a focus in neuroscience, where she spent five years investigating gene networks involved in neuro-regeneration. She was recently named as a Forbes 2017 30 Under 30 Featured Honoree. 


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