Alzheon Board of Directors 2017-09-21T16:46:09+00:00

Board of Directors

Jean-Pierre Garnier AlzheonChairman of Idorsia
Former Chairman of Actelion
Former CEO of GlaxoSmithKline

In addition to his role as Chairman of the Board of Alzheon, Dr. Garnier serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Swiss biopharmaceutical company Idorsia, a spinout from Actelion. Dr. Garnier chaired Actelion leading its acquisition by Johnson & Johnson in 2017 for $30 billion. Dr. Garnier is a director of United Technologies Corporation and an Operating Partner at Advent International, a private equity firm. He is a member of the board of trustees of Newman’s Own Foundation and a trustee of The Max Planck Institute.

From 2000 to 2008, Dr. Garnier was the first Chief Executive Officer of GlaxoSmithKline, assuming this role upon the merger of SmithKline Beecham and Glaxo Wellcome. Previously, he served as Chief Executive Officer of SmithKline Beecham having joined the company in 1990 as President of Pharmaceuticals for North America. Prior to SmithKline Beecham, Dr. Garnier served as President of Schering-Plough (US). Following his retirement from GlaxoSmithKline, Dr. Garnier was Chief Executive Officer of Pierre Fabre Laboratories and Chairman of Cerenis, a biotechnology company.

Dr. Garnier’s accomplishments have been recognized with many prestigious appointments and awards. He is a Knight Commander of the British Empire, as well as Officier de Légion d’Honneur (French knighthood). Dr. Garnier holds a PhD in pharmacology from Louis Pasteur University in France, and as a Fulbright Scholar, he earned an MBA at Stanford University.

Franz Hefti AlzheonChief Operating Officer, Proclara Biosciences

Dr. Hefti currently serves as Chief Operating Officer at Proclara Biosciences, Inc., a biotechnology company developing medicines for neurodegenerative diseases, amyloidosis and other protein misfolding diseases. Prior to joining Proclara (formerly known as NeuroPhage Pharmaceuticals), Dr. Hefti was Chief Scientific Officer at Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, Inc., a company that developed an amyloid imaging diagnostic Amyvid® for Alzheimer’s disease, which was acquired by Eli Lilly in 2010 for $800 million with $300 million upfront payment. Dr. Hefti was also Executive Vice President of Drug Development at Rinat Neuroscience, a company with antibody programs for Alzheimer’s disease and pain indications, which was acquired by Pfizer in 2006 for $500 million. Prior to his contributions to biotechnology companies, Dr. Hefti held senior management positions at Merck & Co. and Genentech, and was Professor at the University of Southern California and Associate Professor at the University of Miami, where he carried out seminal research on therapeutic applications of neurotrophic factors.

Dr. Hefti has contributed to more than 250 publications on neurotrophic factors and topics in neuropharmacology. Dr. Hefti received his PhD from the University of Zurich, and conducted postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at the Max Planck Institute in Munich.

Dennis Langer AlzheonClinical Professor, Georgetown University School of Medicine
Former Senior Vice President of Research and Development at GlaxoSmithKline

Dennis H. Langer, MD, JD has served as a Director of several biotechnology, specialty pharmaceutical, and diagnostic companies, and has been CEO and/or co-founder of several health care companies. Dr. Langer is currently a Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine, and he also serves as a Director of Myriad Genetics, Inc., Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Delcath Systems, Inc., and several private companies. From 2005 to 2010, Dr. Langer served as a Managing Partner of Phoenix IP Ventures, a private equity/venture capital firm specializing in life sciences. Previously, he was President, North America, of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Limited. From September 1994 until January 2004, Dr. Langer held several executive-level positions at GlaxoSmithKline plc, and its predecessor, SmithKline Beecham, including most recently as a Senior Vice President of Research and Development. Prior to SmithKline Beecham, Dr. Langer was President and CEO of Neose Technologies, Inc., and before that held R&D and marketing positions at Eli Lilly, Abbott and Searle. At the beginning of his career, he was a Chief Resident at Yale University School of Medicine, and held clinical fellowships at Harvard Medical School and the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Langer received a JD from Harvard Law School, an MD from Georgetown University School of Medicine, and a BA in Biology from Columbia University.

Scott Minick AlzheonVenture Partner, ARCH Venture Partners

Mr. Minick is Venture Partner at ARCH Venture Partners, a venture capital firm, and was instrumental in the startup, development and financing of numerous ARCH portfolio companies, including BIND Therapeutics. From 2009 to 2014, Mr. Minick served as the President and CEO of BIND Therapeutics, Inc., where he built a broad cancer clinical pipeline and completed a successful IPO in 2013. From 1995 to 1998, Mr. Minick was Director, President and Chief Operating Officer of SEQUUS Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing cancer therapeutics Doxil® and Amphotec® that was acquired by ALZA Corporation in 1999 for $580 million.

Mr. Minick received his postgraduate training in neurobiology at the Salk Institute, an MBA from Northwestern University and a BA from the University of California at San Diego.

David Nikodem AlzheonAlly Bridge Group

As a senior representative of Ally Bridge Group (“ABG”), Dr. Nikodem plays an important role in ABG’s biopharmaceutical investments and serves on the boards of several of ABG’s U.S.-based biopharmaceutical companies. Dr. Nikodem has more than 13 years of experience in capital markets and financial analysis of biotechnology and healthcare companies. Prior to joining ABG in 2013, Dr. Nikodem served as Portfolio Manager at Exane Asset Management where he managed a global healthcare fund. He also managed a U.S.-focused healthcare fund as a Director at BNP Paribas in New York on the long/short proprietary trading desk. During his seven years as a Portfolio Manager in the healthcare industry, Dr. Nikodem covered a diversified range of healthcare subsectors for public equities and was involved with numerous private deals. Dr. Nikodem began his Wall Street career as a biotechnology analyst at Orbitex Asset Management in 2001, followed by analyst roles at Acacia Research Investment Corporation and Blumberg Capital Management.

From 1991 to 1999, Dr. Nikodem conducted basic science research at the National Institutes of Health as well as at Georgetown University, where he earned his PhD in molecular biology. From 1999 to 2001, Dr. Nikodem was a patent examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C. Dr. Nikodem holds undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and English Language and Literature from the University of Virginia.

Martin Tolar AlzheonFounder, President & Chief Executive Officer, Alzheon, Inc.

Prior to founding Alzheon, Dr. Tolar has held executive positions in life sciences companies, where he has successfully established and grown new companies, business areas and product opportunities. Dr. Tolar 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 first clinical 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. Dr. Tolar 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 many 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 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.