Management Team

Martin Tolar AlzheonPrior to founding Alzheon in June 2013, 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 led the development of human genome interpretation systems and services for academic, pharmaceutical and clinical clients, as President & CEO at NormOxys, Inc., where he built the business for novel cancer therapeutics, and as Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Business Officer at CoMentis, Inc., where he developed the first clinical-stage beta secretase inhibitor platform for Alzheimer’s disease and negotiated a collaboration with a potential value of $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, 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 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, 2018 and 2019.

We believe that Dr. Tolar is qualified to serve on our board of directors because of his scientific expertise and extensive experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Susan Abushakra AlzheonDr. Abushakra has served as our Chief Medical Officer since July 2015 and brings 15 years of neurological drug development expertise to Alzheon. Dr. Abushakra is also a co-founder of Bonti, Inc., a biotechnology company, where she has served as Chief Medical Officer since September 2015. 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.

John Hey AlzheonDr. 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 culminated in the first clinically tested beta secretase candidate, as well as a collaboration with a potential value of $1.1 billion 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 developed 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.

Aidan Power AlzheonDr. Power has served as our Vice President of Program and Portfolio Management since June 2015 and brings over 20 years of drug development experience to Alzheon. 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 the Yale/Pfizer Bioimaging Alliance and Pfizer/NIH/NCATS’ New Therapeutic Uses Initiative, and his group developed and delivered collaborations with major academic institutions including the University of Cambridge, the Karolinska Institutet, University College London, and Washington University in St. Louis. During more than 20 years at Pfizer in both the UK and US, Dr. Power developed and led the implementation of strategic organizational changes for technology groups.

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 served on the board of the Personalized Medicine Coalition. Earlier in his 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.

Peter Laivins

In joining ALZHEON, Peter brings unparalleled depth of expertise in shaping the Alzheimer’s Commercial landscape over his 20+ year career in both large Pharma (Pfizer Inc.), and rising Biotech (Elan, Merrimack, Tesaro). At Pfizer, with their partners Eisai Inc., he launched ARICEPT©- the first meaningful treatment for AD, to achieve peak sales exceeding $ 3B. Subsequently, at Elan as VP Strategic Brand Management, he led commercial development of the first anti-amyloid antibody – bapineuzumab.

As Group Leader, Pfizer US Oncology Marketing, Peter oversaw the launch of SUTENT© – a breakthrough drug for Renal Cell Carcinoma and GIST.  At Merrimack, as SVP, Head of Late-stage Development he led Phase 3 and successful FDA approval of ONIVYDE© – the first new therapy for metastatic Pancreatic cancer in 20 years, and supported a $1B Sale transaction of the asset.

Prior to ALZHEON, Peter served as SVP, Strategic Development Program Management & Portfolio Assessment at Tesaro, as well as managing R&D Leadership, Governance, and Decision processes.

A graduate of McGill University (Montreal) with a Bsc in Microbiology and Immunology, and MBA in Marketing and Corporate Policy, Peter is originally from Montreal Canada, and now resides with his wife and children in Scituate Mass., south of Boston.

Peter strongly believes that winning Commercial development strategy is grounded in deep competitive and customer insights, coupled with agile, fit-for-purpose execution. Through integrity, independence of thought, and diversity of experience, he brings a powerful combination of qualities so important to rising biotechs such as ALZHEON.

Ken Mace Alzheon

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.