Episode 1 - Pill 2.0: A Future With Neuromodulation Therapies When Drugs Fall Short

Apr 14, 2021 | 12:00 - 2:00 pm EST

The Neurotech Investing & Partnering Conference is the premier business investment conference for commercial neuroscience including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics and neurosoftware. While COVID-19 has forced us to postpone this year’s in-person event, we didn’t want the compelling stories that drive our community forward to stop. Until we can meet in person, we’re launching the Neurotech Spotlight Series. Like the conference, this series will feature keynotes, investor panels, and cutting-edge company presentations on a comprehensive selection of neurotech topics for innovators and business leaders.

This first episode will focus on neuromodulation and feature three exclusive components:

  • Neuromodulation market overview
  • Startup company presentation showcase
  • Panel featuring leading neuromodulation investors, entrepreneurs, and executives to share their perspectives on the role of neuromodulation in classic drug markets.



Private Market Overview:
Presented by: Bill Sideris, Vice President, Healthcare & Life Sciences, SVB Financial Group

Public Market Overview:
J.P. Peltier, Global Group Head for Healthcare Investment Banking, Piper Sandler

Leaders from 5 intriguing startup companies will give 7-minute presentations on their company’s technology, stage of development, clinical results, leadership team, and fund-raising status. Speakers include:

  • Renee Ryan, CEO, Cala Health
  • Murthy Simhambhatla, CEO, SetPoint Medical
  • Chris Richardson, Chairman, Neurolief
  • Jim Schuermann, CEO, Saluda Medical
  • Brian Pepin, CEO, Rune Labs

The age-old assumption is the cure for every ailment lies in the form of a pill. In truth, while drug therapies continue to make strides in tackling human disease, many pharmaceuticals have become increasingly complex, risky, and expensive. Electrical stimulation or neuromodulation has been a viable option for patients suffering from chronic pain, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s for over half a century, but neuromodulation has usually been considered a last resort. Since the beginning of this century, riding new physiological insights and technological advances, new pioneers are advancing the case for novel, miniaturized or wearable neuromodulation devices – also called bioelectronic medicines – that are not just targeting classic neuromodulation markets but are starting to offer better solutions in classic drug markets. This panel will feature leaders from some of these pioneering companies that will speak to the promise as well as the challenges that lie ahead.

Juan-Pablo Mas, MBA, Partner, Action Potential Venture Capital
Imran Eba, Partner, Action Potential Venture Capital

Jordi Parramon, PhD, President, Medical Devices, Verily
Paul Peter Tak, MD, PhD, President & CEO, Candel Therapeutics
Kate Rosenbluth, PhD, Founder & CSO, Cala Health
Michael Ackermann, PhD, CEO, Presidio Medical



Imran Eba, Partner, Action Potential Venture Capital

Imran Eba
Partner, Action Potential Venture Capital

Imran is a founding partner at Action Potential Venture Capital, GSK’s corporate venture capital fund focused on investing in companies that pioneer bioelectronic medicines and other whitespace non-drug therapies. Imran represents Action Potential as a board member in NeuSpera Medical, SetPoint Medical, Axon Therapies and Alpheus Medical. Imran is also a founding member and program advisor to the Harvard Healthtech Fellowship which aims to bring together innovators from the fields of engineering, technology and medicine to discover and develop novel non-drug therapies with the vision of making Boston a powerhouse in this field as it has been in biotech. Imran is based in Cambridge, MA.

Juan-Pablo Mas, MBA, Partner, Action Potential Venture Capital

Juan-Pablo Mas, MBA
Partner, Action Potential Venture Capital

Juan-Pablo Mas is a Partner at Action Potential VC, a bioelectronic medicine fund founded by GlaxoSmithKline, and is based in Santa Cruz, CA. He represents APVC on the Boards of Cala Health, CVRx, Exo Imaging, Neuspera Medical, Presidio Medical, Saluda Medical, and SetPoint Medical. He was previously an investor at Lightstone Ventures and Morgenthaler Ventures, where he was a Board observer at Ardian, Twelve, Nuvaira, Cabochon, and Miramar Labs. Prior to investing, Juan-Pablo led R&D and Strategy teams in Medtronic’s CardioVascular Division and was a member of the Global Brand Strategy team at Eli Lilly. Juan-Pablo earned an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business as a Bonini Fellow, an MS in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, and a BS in EE from the University of Massachusetts. He now serves on the Oversight Committee for Stanford’s Wu Tsai Neuroscience Institute, the Advisory Board for UCSF’s Rosenman Institute, and is a co-founder of LatinxVC which is dedicated to increasing diversity within venture capital.

Juan-Pablo Mas, MBA, Partner, Action Potential Venture Capital

Jordi Parramon, PhD
President, Medical Devices, Verily

Jordi leads Verily's medical devices business, combining hardware with software and machine learning to create differentiated product solutions that support Verily's research and health platforms, as well as external partnerships and joint ventures. Areas of interest include wearable monitoring sensors, diagnostics, surgical robotics, bioelectronics, ophthalmology and drug delivery devices. Jordi has more than 20 years of experience in the Medical Devices industry including a 12-year tenure at Boston Scientific before joining Verily. Jordi has authored more than 60 distinct patent families with 200+ granted patents worldwide. He holds a BS degree in Physics from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and BS, MS and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering from the National Center for Microelectronics of Spain at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

Paul Peter Tak, MD, PhD, President & CEO, Candel Therapeutics

Paul Peter Tak, MD, PhD
President & CEO, Candel Therapeutics

Paul Peter Tak is currently President & CEO of Candel Therapeutics. He received his medical degree cum laude from the Free University in Amsterdam and was trained as an internist, rheumatologist and immunologist at Leiden University Medical Center, where he also received his PhD. He served as Professor of Medicine and founding Chair of the Department of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology at the Academic Medical Centre/University of Amsterdam (AMC). His scientific work in academia includes the discovery of the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway (inflammatory reflex) in chronic inflammation, and pioneered vagus nerve stimulation in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Paul has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals (>570 publications, H-index 131, >75,000 citations). He received the Medal of Honour from the Netherlands Society for Rheumatology, was elected ‘Best Rheumatologist’ in the Netherlands, was awarded Honorary Membership by EULAR and has been elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in the U.K. Before becoming President & CEO of Candel Therapeutics, he had previously been a business leader at GlaxoSmithKline and Flagship Pioneering as well as board director of various companies including Galvani Bioelectronics.

Kate Rosenbluth, PhD, Founder & CSO, Cala Health

Kate Rosenbluth, PhD
Founder & CSO, Cala Health

Kate Rosenbluth is the Founder of Cala Health, a bioelectronic medicines company transforming the standard of care for chronic disease. The company's wearable neuromodulation therapies merge innovations in neuroscience and technology. Prior to spinning Cala out from the Stanford Biodesign fellowship, she developed cutting-edge neurotherapies with Brainlab, Autonomic Technologies, and Genentech, and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at UCSF in Neurosurgery following her PhD in Bioengineering at UC Berkeley and UCSF. Kate has authored more than 60 patents and peer-reviewed publications. She is a perpetual student and committed educator in innovation leadership and healthcare. Kate currently serves on the McKinsey Women’s Executive Roundtable and the Strategy Group of the Center for Healthcare Innovation.

Michael Ackermann, PhD, CEO, Presidio Medical

Michael Ackermann, PhD
CEO, Presidio Medical

Michael is CEO of neuromodulation company Presidio Medical. Michael also serves as Chairman of Tarsus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: TARS). He was previously Chairman of Oyster Point Pharma, Inc. (NASDAQ: OYST), and Vice President, Neurostimulation for Allergan, plc after serving as CEO of Oculeve, Inc., which was acquired by Allergan. He received a BE degree in biomedical engineering from Vanderbilt University, MS and PhD degrees in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University, is a graduate of the Stanford University Biodesign Fellowship and Vision Research Fellowship at Stanford University. He has numerous patents and peer-reviewed publications.


Benjamin Lakin, PhD 
Series Producer
Cambridge Healthtech Institute  
Phone: 781-972-5454
Email: blakin@cambridgeinnovationinstitute.com

Rod Eymael  
Manager, Business Development
Phone: 781-247-6286
Email: reymael@healthtech.com