Alzheon Management Team 2017-06-21T12:30:55+00:00

Management Team

Dr. Tolar has held a number of executive positions in life sciences companies, where he has successfully established and grown new companies, business areas and product opportunities. He served as President & CEO of Knome, Inc., where he pioneered human genome interpretation systems and services for academic, pharmaceutical and clinical clients, as President & CEO at NormOxys, Inc., where he built and financed the business for novel cancer therapeutics, and as Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Business Officer at CoMentis, Inc., where he built the beta secretase inhibitor platform and negotiated a landmark 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, 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 approvals 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 from 1992 to 1997, where he focused on movement disorders. He trained in Neurology at the Boston Medical Center, received a Ph.D. in Neuroscience for his work on the role of Apolipoprotein E in Alzheimer’s disease, and published a number of scientific publications in the area of neuroscience and neurodegenerative disorders. Dr. Tolar received his M.D. from Charles University in Prague, where as a medical student he helped organize and lead the Velvet Revolution that toppled the communist regime in the former Czechoslovakia in November 1989.

Dr. Tolar serves on the Board of Directors for BELLUS Health, Inc., a public biotechnology company based in Montreal, Canada, as well as number of business and scientific boards including the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, the Alzheimer Foundation and Advance Healthcare Management Institute.

Dr. Tolar was recognized by The Medicine Maker Magazine’s Power List 2016 and 2017 as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the world of drug development and manufacture.

Dr. Hey brings to Alzheon more than 20 years of drug discovery and development experience in both biotechnology and pharmaceutical drug development. He has held senior leadership positions in drug development at several biotechnology companies including CoMentis and NormOxys, focusing on Alzheimer’s disease and oncology, respectively. As Senior Vice President of Discovery and Preclinical Drug Development at CoMentis, Dr. Hey served as the pivotal senior leader and drug development officer responsible for the beta-secretase inhibitor drug development program for Alzheimer’s disease. In this role, he built a drug discovery and drug development team optimization facility, and led a team of over 25 scientists responsible for all key aspects of early drug development, including: PK/PD, biochemistry, in vitro and in vivo pharmacology, in vitro and in vivo ADME, bioanalytical, preclinical safety, safety pharmacology, translational medicine, medicinal chemistry and early clinical development. This work successfully culminated in the first clinically tested beta secretase candidate, as well as an industry-leading $1.1 billion transaction with Astellas Pharma in 2008.

Prior to his tenure at CoMentis, Dr. Hey spent 18 years at the Schering-Plough Research Institute leading discovery, preclinical and early clinical development teams in multiple therapeutic areas through Phase 2 development. During this time, he was also a divisional leader, managing preclinical discovery, lead optimization, early development activities, and strategic planning for over 50 scientists. Dr. Hey has a proven record of clinical development of new chemical entities (NCEs) in multiple therapeutic areas, and has been directly responsible for discovery and development of over 20 NCEs, including several that have advanced to NDA stage and approval. Dr. Hey also had additional direct experience supporting Phase 3 and Phase 4 programs for Schering-Plough’s respiratory disease franchise portfolio, including Claritin® /Clarinex®, Asmanex® and Nasonex®.

Dr. Hey holds a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and has authored more than 145 peer reviewed scientific publications.

Dr. Abushakra brings 15 years of neurological drug development expertise to Alzheon. Dr. Abushakra was most recently the Chief Medical Officer at Transition Therapeutics, and prior to that at Elan/Perrigo, where she led the development of ELND005, an amyloid targeting small molecule being developed for neuropsychiatric symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease and in Down syndrome. Previously, Dr. Abushakra was Vice President of Clinical Development at Elan Corporation and Allergan, where she led several early and late stage central nervous system and pain clinical programs, including supplemental biologics license application (sBLA) filings for Botox® in spasticity and migraine. Dr. Abushakra has extensive clinical and regulatory experience in Alzheimer’s disease drug development. As the Therapeutic Area Head at Eisai in clinical development and at Wyeth in regulatory affairs, her experience includes investigational new drug (IND) filings for novel Alzheimer’s disease candidates, as well as supplemental new drug applications (sNDAs) for Aricept® indications.

Dr. Abushakra has been a voting member of the Alzheimer’s Association Research Roundtable (AARR) for the last 10 years and has been a member of many industry working groups including the AARR, the Alzheimer’s Disease EU Task Force, the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network (DIAN), the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative (API) and the Michael J. Fox Foundation LRRK2 Working Group.

Dr. Abushakra is a board certified neurologist, having completed her residency and neuromuscular/neurophysiology specialty training at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore Maryland. She received her M.D. with distinction from the American University of Beirut Medical School, Lebanon.

Mr. Flanzraich brings to Alzheon more than 30 years of executive leadership, operations and legal experience with pharmaceutical and life sciences companies.  Mr. Flanzraich is the Executive Chairman of Cantex Pharmaceuticals Inc., a privately-owned biotech company developing drugs for cancer.   As a part time consultant, he serves as the Company’s Chief Business Officer, advising on Alzheon’s corporate activities including business strategy, business development and legal affairs.

He served as Vice Chairman and President of IVAX Corporation, an international pharmaceutical company, for over seven years, prior to its sale in 2006 to TEVA Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd. for an enterprise value of $10 billion.  Prior to his tenure at IVAX, Mr. Flanzraich served as Chairman of the Life Sciences Legal Practice Group of Heller Ehrman LLP, a law firm.  Previously Mr. Flanzraich worked at Syntex Corporation, an international pharmaceutical company, where, as the Senior Vice President, and a member of both the Corporate Operating and Corporate Executive Committees, he made major contributions to the value of the company, which was acquired by Roche in 1994 for $5.3 billion.

Mr. Flanzraich was an early investor of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE: CMG), and is currently its Lead Independent Director.  In addition, Mr. Flanzraich is an independent director of Atrium European Real Estate Limited (VSE/Euronext:ATRS).  The public companies of which Mr. Flanzraich was previously an independent director include, among others: Bellus Inc. (TSX:BLU), Continucare Corporation (NYSE: CNU), Equity One, Inc. (NYSE: EQY), and Javlin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (AMEX:JAV).  Mr. Flanzraich received an AB from Harvard College and a JD from Harvard Law School.

Mr. Mace brings to Alzheon nearly 20 years of financial and operations experience in the industry, having built, led and advised life science companies. Previously, Mr. Mace was Vice Director and Senior Project Manager, Group Planning and Special Projects, with F. Hoffman-La Roche Ltd., where he provided financial analysis in support of long range business planning. Prior to that, Mr. Mace was Vice President, Finance and Global Operations at mtm laboratories AG, an in vitro diagnostics company, which developed and commercialized a portfolio of products using its patent protected biomarkers for early detection and diagnosis of cervical cancer. In this role, he was responsible for strategic and operational planning, budgeting, business development modeling, cash management and financial reporting. Mr. Mace also held positions of increasing responsibility with life science companies ViaCell, Inc., Cytyc Corporation and Boston Scientific Corporation.

Mr. Mace earned his MBA from Babson College and BS in Accounting and Finance from Roger Williams University.

Dr. Power brings to Alzheon over twenty years of drug development. Previously, Dr. Power was Vice President and Head of PharmaTherapeutics Precision Medicine at Pfizer Global Research and Development in New London, CT, where he led a diverse group providing genomics, genetics and imaging expertise to projects across Cardiovascular, Neurosciences and Pain therapeutic areas, supporting novel target identification, biomarker development and precision medicine strategies for early stage clinical programs. Dr. Power led major external partnerships at Pfizer including Yale/Pfizer Bioimaging Alliance and Pfizer/NIH/NCATS’ New Therapeutic Uses Initiative, and his  group developed and delivered successful collaborations with major academic institutions including University of Cambridge, Karolinska Institutet, University College London, and Washington University in St. Louis. During more than twenty years at Pfizer in both the UK and US, Dr. Power developed and led the implementation of strategic organizational changes for technology groups delivering many millions of dollars of savings.

Dr. Power’s groups have been at the forefront of pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine, establishing the first large scale automated biobank in the pharmaceutical industry and developing integrated DNA sample collection from clinical trials and conducting large scale pharmacogenetics studies. He was a founding board member of the International Serious Adverse Event Consortium and on the board of the Personalized Medicine Coalition. Earlier in his pharma career Dr. Power was responsible for running Phase 3 studies in Europe for the Geodon® schizophrenia program.

Dr. Power earned his medical degree MB, BCh, BAO from University College Cork, Ireland, and an MSc in the History of Science and Medicine from University College London. He is a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

During the last three decades Dr. Kocis has been involved in the drug discovery research in cancer, immunodeficiencies, CNS and asthma, and provided drug lead discovery leadership at Hoechst-Marion-Roussell, Zeneca Pharmaceuticals and AstraZeneca, most recently as the Global Head of AstraZeneca Discovery Capabilities & Sciences, Exploratory Chemistry. At AstraZeneca, Dr. Kocis built a global organization with the remit of generating proprietary chemotypes and building blocks, which contributed to the development of several clinical candidates including templates present in Iressa®, Zactima® and other medicines. Dr. Kocis also led the development of company-wide criteria for medicinally relevant compounds and the development of AstraZeneca compound profilers for research programs, clinical candidates and the corporate compound collection. Previously, at Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, he spearheaded modern medicinal chemistry together with the development of proprietary chemical technologies and chemical libraries that were industrialized across a number of therapeutic areas. Dr. Kocis is one of the pioneers of combinatorial chemistry and of the concept of chemical libraries, especially libraries exploiting medicinally relevant chemical space. He was instrumental in building Selectide’s combinatorial chemistry and technology in Tucson, Arizona, that was acquired by Marion Merrell Dow in 1995.

Dr. Kocis is a recipient of the R&D Director’s Award for Creativity and Innovation at Zeneca Pharmaceuticals and a recipient of the Henry Christian Award for Excellence in Research by Merck. Dr. Kocis served as the founding Editor-in-Chief of Current Drug Discovery Technologies. He is on the editorial board of several journals including Drugs of the Future and on the Scientific Advisory Board of several institutions and companies including Institute of Molecular & Translational Medicine, European Infrastructure for Translational Medicine EATRIS. Dr. Kocis is the author or coauthor of numerous scientific papers, book chapters and patents. His research interest is the multidimensional challenges of drug discovery, medicinally relevant chemical space, chemical and biology space mapping, data visualization, and the study of complex systems.

Dr. Kocis earned his Ph.D. in organic and medicinal chemistry from the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, Prague. He did his postdoctoral research with Prof. Jack Baldwin at the University of Oxford, Oxford, England, and worked with the Oxford Enzyme Group.