2018 Neurotech Leaders Forum

October 15-16, 2018

Embassy Suites San Francisco Airport Waterfront

Keynote Speakers

Hunter Peckham, Ph.D., Founder, Institute for Functional Restoration

P. Hunter Peckham is the Donnell Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Orthopaedics, at Case Western Reserve University and the founder of the Institute for Functional Restoration. He is a celebrated scholar in the university community and known around the world for his research. Peckham focuses on the use of functional electrical stimulation to restore hand and arm control in paralyzed individuals. He was instrumental in the creation of the Cleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Center, which studies the application of electrical currents to generate or suppress nerve activity. As the center's executive director, Peckham built a model of successful research collaboration among scientists, engineers and clinicians from the Cleveland Veteran's Administration Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University and MetroHealth Medical Center. He is a member of the Department of Veterans Affairs National Research Advisory Council and the NIH National Institute of Bioimaging and Bioengineering National Advisory Council.Peckham holds eight patents, has authored hundreds of articles and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2002.

Frank Fischer, CEO, NeuroPace Inc.

Frank Fischer has more than 30 years of senior management experience in the medical device industry. He has served on the NeuroPace Board of Directors since 1998 and joined the company as its Chief Executive Officer in January 2000. Prior to joining NeuroPace, Mr. Fischer was President and Chief Executive Officer of Heartport, Inc., a cardiac surgery company, from May 1998 until September 1999 and served on Heartport’s Board of Directors. Mr. Fischer was President and Chief Executive Officer and a director of Ventritex, Inc., a company that pioneered implantable cardiac defibrillators, from 1987 until the sale of the company to St. Jude Medical, Inc. in 1997. Before joining Ventritex, he held various management positions at Cordis Corporation in the cardiac and neurosurgical device areas, serving most recently as President of the Implantable Products Division. Prior to that, he spent seven years with General Electric Company in a variety of operating positions. Mr. Fischer holds B.S.M.E. and M.S. in Management degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Epilepsy Foundation, the Board of Trustees of Babson College and the boards of a number of privately held medical device companies.

Conference Moderators

James Cavuoto, Editor and Publisher, Neurotech Reports

James Cavuoto is editor and publisher of Neurotech Business Report and the founder of Neurotech Reports. He was the lead author of "The Market for Neurotechnology," a market research report published by Neurotech Reports. Cavuoto was the founder of Micro Publishing Press, Inc., a publishing company that helped pioneer the market for electronic publishing, digital imaging, and computer graphics. He holds a degree in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University, where he studied under pioneers in the field of functional electrical stimulation. He has also studied human factors engineering at University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Cavuoto spent three years as a member of the technical staff at Hughes Aircraft Company in Los Angeles, where he worked on simulation, training, and publication products produced for the U.S. Department of Defense. Cavuoto was an adjunct professor at Rochester Institute of Technology and the author of eight books on computer graphics, electronic publishing, and digital imaging. He is a member of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. He has authored a chapter in the textbook Neuromodulation (Elsevier, 2009), as well as articles in Neuromodulation, Journal of Neural Engineering, Medical Device Daily, IEEE Spectrum, MX magazine, and the International Journal of Medical Marketing. He is coauthor, with Jennifer French, of Bionic Pioneers: Brave Neurotech Users Blaze the Trail to New Therapies (Neurotech Press, 2014).

Jennifer French, Senior Editor and Associate Publisher, Neurotech Reports

Jennifer French is senior editor and associate publisher of Neurotech Reports. She is the founder of Neurotech Network, a nonprofit organization founded in Florida in 2003. Jennifer acquired her C6-7 incomplete spinal cord injury in 1998. Prior to her injury, she was recreationally active with such sports as canoeing, snowboarding/skiing, sailing, fly fishing, biking. After her injury, she still participates in all those activities. She is an active user of an FES system. Now residing in Tampa, FL, Jen is active in the community accessible sailing program, Sailing Alternatives as well as the national US Sailing, Sailors with Special Needs. French has helped launch successful divisions is such organizations as Bombardier Capital and PC Connection, Inc. With an MBA specializing in marketing & strategy, she works with for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, large and small, emerge into new markets, profile target customers and create and build systems to support sales efforts. She is the author of On My Feet Again (Neurotech Press, 2013), her personal story of rehabilitation using neurotechnology.

Jeremy Koff, Senior Contributing Editor, Neurotech Reports

Mr. Koff is senior contributing editor for Neurotech Reports and president of Colibri Partners Inc., a strategic and marketing consulting firm with a primary focus in the medical device sector. The company offers services related to market and risk analysis, clinical and technology assessments, business plan development, business/financial modeling, and market research. Mr. Koff has nearly 20 years of global experience in the medical device industry with companies including Advanced Bionics Corp., Boston Scientific, MiniMed Inc., Bioness Inc, and many others. His business plans have attracted tens of millions in start-up capital. Mr. Koff holds a Bachelor's degree in biology from Middlebury College, a Masters of Public Affairs from Indiana University, and an MBA from UCLA. He is an active classically-trained musician, supporter of the arts, and is a board member of the Fender Music Foundation.

Panelists and Presenters

Stephanie Fertig, Director, NINDS Small Business Programs, NIH

Stephanie Fertig is the Director, NINDS Small Business Programs in the Office of Translational Research at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Ms. Fertig manages both the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs, which are congressionally mandated set-aside programs specifically for small business concerns. In addition, she also manages two translational device programs at NINDS: the Cooperative Research to Enable and Advance Translational Enterprises program for therapeutic devices and the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative Public-Private Partnership Program. Prior to her position in the Office of Translational Research, she was a member of the Repair and Plasticity group in the NINDS Division of Extramural Research. Before coming to NINDS, Ms. Fertig worked as a researcher in the Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. Ms. Fertig has a B.S. degree in chemistry with a major in physics from the University of Virginia and an M.B.A. from the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Faz Bashi, M.D., Director, Angel Capital Association

Faz K. Bashi, M.D. has a research background in immunology and virology from UCSF. He is the Chair of the Medical Device Screening Committee of Life Science Angels, and the Chair of the Angel Capital Association's Life Sciences Syndication group. He is also active in the LSA screening committee for Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals. He is a member of the Berkeley Angel Network, and a founding member of HealthTech Capital where he served two years on the Board of Directors. Dr. Bashi has been active as a mentor with Pacific Community Ventures, which creates jobs and economic opportunity by increasing investment in local businesses. He served on the Board of Directors of Vascular Cures, serves as a volunteer instructor with the Peninsula Bridge educational program for underserved kids in East Palo Alto. He is an adjunct professor in the Integrative Health Studies program at California Institute of Integral Studies, and an active advisor to the UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Previously he worked at San Mateo Medical Center to develop and implement special clinical projects to help the under served, including TeleDermatology, Diabetic Retinopathy Screening, and advancements in electronic medical records.

Nick Langhals, Ph.D., Program Director, Neural Engineering, National Institutes of Health

Nick Langhals serves as program director for neural engineering within the Repair and Plasticity Cluster at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. He is heavily involved in both the BRAIN Initiative as well as the NIH SPARC program. Dr. Langhals received his B.S. in Engineering from Arizona State University. He received both an M.S. in Engineering as well as a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan. Dr. Langhals has worked as a senior research engineer within the Center for Neural Communication Technology and also served as a consultant for Neuronexus Technologies, Biotectix, and Michigan State University. He was also a co-founder of Rhythm Solutions, a University of Michigan startup company focused on the development and commercialization of automated algorithms and technologies for the diagnosis and monitoring of atrial fibrillation. Prior to arriving at the NIH in 2015, Dr. Langhals served as a research assistant professor in the plastic surgery section of the department of surgery and assistant research scientist of biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan. Dr. Langhals served as co-director of the Neuromuscular Laboratory, which has developed a regenerative peripheral nerve interface to extract prosthetic control signals and restore lost sensation to amputees for the control of replacement upper and lower extremity prostheses. His previous research activities have spanned: neural engineering, muscle/nerve physiology, regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, muscle and nerve grafts and regeneration, tissue histology/immunohistochemistry, neuroprosthetics, neuromodulation, sensory restoration, cardiac electrophysiology, electrode design/fabrication, advanced materials, electrode modification using conductive polymers, signal processing and noise reduction, neural decoding algorithms, brain-computer interfaces, and drug delivery in the brain.

Manuel López-Figueroa, Ph.D., Vice President, Bay City Capital

Manuel López-Figueroa is a Vice President at Bay City Capital and has been with the firm since July 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.

Andy Jane, Managing Director, Life Sciences, Talu Ventures

Andy is one of the three founders of Talu Ventures. Andy joined CM Capital in August 2003 and assumed the role of head of the Life Sciences Practice at CM in 2006. Prior to his venture investment roles, Andy has 15 years of experience in biomedical R&D project management, marketing and business development. His primary expertise is in the commercialization and globalization of technology-based products and brings to Talu an extensive network of industry contacts within the biotechnology, high technology, and pharmaceutical industries. Andy has active Board roles across the Life Sciences portfolio and adds to those companies the benefit of his international experience in business development, contractual negotiation, strategic relationship building, and licensing. Andy spent five years at AGEN, where he was responsible for the management of the company’s instrumentation and biosensor program and latterly for the primary business planning and management of the Thromboview Project. More recently he spent four years at Lake Technology as Director of Business Development & Licensing, where he was instrumental in the worldwide business development and marketing of Dolby Headphone and Dolby Virtual Speaker technologies which have since been adopted by leading brand consumer electronics companies, airlines and PC companies.

Bashar Badran, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, University of New Mexico

Dr. Bashar Badran works in undergraduate studies at University of Southern California in biology and biotechnology. He earned his Ph.D. at the Medical University of South Carolina in the Brain Stimulation Lab under the mentorship of Dr. Mark S. George. He did Post-Doc training at Brain Stimulation Lab and the U.S. Army Research Lab. He is currently a Research Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico.

Mark Lindon, Managing Attorney, Lindon Law Corp.

Mr. Lindon has over 30 years of corporate, finance, and business experience from both law firm and in-house positions. He has handled numerous corporate, finance, mergers & acquisitions, technology, licensing, intellectual property, development, and distribution deals. He regularly advises companies, investors, and entrepreneurs on transactional and operational matters, and frequently handles the purchase and sale of businesses, financings, distribution agreements, and a wide variety of other contracts. Mr. Lindon has been general counsel for Bioness since 2006, a medical device company founded and majority-owned by Alfred Mann, the legendary medical device billionaire entrepreneur. (Mr. Lindon was in-house from 2006-2009 and has been a consultant and outside general counsel since 2009.) Mr. Lindon also represented Mr. Mann in a wide variety of other matters unrelated to Bioness (including mergers & acquisitions, financings, joint ventures and litigation management) from 2009 until Mr. Mann’s death in 2016, and Mr. Lindon continues to represent the Mann Trust. Mr. Lindon was appointed to the Bioness Board of Directors in 2016 to fill Mr. Mann’s seat, and was appointed chairman in 2017. Mr. Lindon received his A.B. degree from Georgetown University (economics, government, and philosophy) and his J.D. degree from the UCLA School of Law, and spent the first eight years of his legal career as a corporate lawyer at a large New York law firm.

Tom Hughes, Senior Principal Advisor, RCRI

Thomas Hughes is a senior level executive and attorney with nearly 20 years of experience in the medicial technology industry, specializing in the area of medical device reimbursement. Tom has helped advise and provide leadership for startup and national medical device companies by using a keen eye for strategic planning blended with the unique expertise in developing and executing reimbursement strategies and payer relations initiatives with payers, provider groups, government agencies and other key decision makers. He has built reimbursement teams for medical device companies, negotiated national payer contracts, lobbied federal and state decision makers, advised senior management as well as sales and marketing teams on reimbursement, government regulations, and business development approaches for health economics and reimbursement. Prior to his work in the medical technology industry, Thomas practiced healthcare law with a major Minneapolis law firm where he represented physicians, hospitals and other providers. Tom holds a BA in political science from the University of Minnesota and a JD from the William Mitchell College of Law and is a member in good standing with the Minnesota State Bar Association. He continues active engagement as a member of the Executive Council Member of Health Law Commitee and the FDA Regulatory Committee. Tom is also active in both the Medical Industry Leadership Institute at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and the Neurostimulation Device Alliance.

Andrew Cornwell, Ph.D., Director for Industrial and Strategic Collaborations, Cleveland FES Center

Andy Cornwell is the Director for Industrial and Strategic Collaborations at the Cleveland FES Center, the leading academic neurotech research alliance in the world. He completed his Ph.D. at Case Western Reserve University under Dr. Robert Kirsch, studying ways for individuals to provide commands to an arm through patterns of joint synergies. This method could allow individuals to command complex devices, such as a prosthesis, robotic arm, or paralyzed arm re-animated by FES, using a small number of commands. After some time as the project manager for the Cleveland BrainGate clinical trial, he was hired by the FES Center to facilitate partnerships between Center investigators and outside groups, including industry and other research centers. The FES Center believes that these industrial partnerships, combining the vast research capabilities and facilities of the FES Center with strategic goals and development expertise in the medical device industry, represent the most efficient way to translate research ideas into effective patient care.

Imran Eba, Partner, Action Potential Venture Capital

Imran is a partner at Action Potential Venture Capital in Cambridge, MA and invests in companies that are pioneering bioelectronic medicines and technologies. He represents Action Potential as a Board Member or Observer on the boards of Axon Therapies and SetPoint Medical. Before joining Action Potential, Imran was in the Worldwide Business Development group of GlaxoSmithKline working in a variety of business development and investing roles. Most recently, Imran led the establishment of and headed up the Investment Management practice at GlaxoSmithKline. The group was tasked with accessing technology and innovation external to GSK by making and managing investments in life science venture capital funds as limited partners and direct investments in biotechs made as part of GSK’s R&D collaborations. During his tenure the group led GSK’s commitments in excess of $200 million in a number of venture capital groups as well as participated in a number of biotech IPOs. Imran received his bachelor’s degree in finance from Concordia University in Montreal and has trained as a Canadian Chartered Accountant.

Edward Chang, M.D., Co-Director, Center for Neural Engineering, UC Berkeley and San Francisco

Edward Chang is Professor of Neurological Surgery at UCSF. Dr. Chang’s clinical expertise is surgical therapies for intractable epilepsy, trigeminal neuralgiapain, hemifacial spasm, and adult brain tumors. He specializes in advanced neurophysiologic brain mapping methods, including awake speech and motor mapping, to safely perform neurosurgical procedures in eloquent areas of the brain. He also specializes in laser thermal ablation to treat epilepsy. Dr. Chang is a New York Stem Cell Foundation - Robertson Investigator. Dr. Chang was awarded the 2015 Blavatnik National Laureate in Life Sciences in 2015. His groundbreaking work has been featured by the US News and World Report ("Secrets of Your Brain" special issue), San Francisco Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

Jim Miller, President & CEO, Neuro Assessments Systems

Mr. Miller has extensive experience in the medical device and life science industries. Since 2001, he has held leadership positions in the cochlear implant industry. He was the president of Cochlear Americas, with responsibility for developing and commercializing cochlear implants and related hearing technology. During his tenure at Cochlear Americas sales exceeded $90 million. He then joined Boston Scientific (Advanced Bionics) as president of the auditory division. He was responsible for development and commercialization of cochlear implants and related hearing technology with management responsibility for an organization of 450 people. During his tenure sales grew to $95 million. In 2012, he co-founded Neuro Assessment Systems. NAS is an early stage neurotechnology company that has developed advanced brain recording technology to transform CNS assessment. The company's proprietary NeuroScreen system uses advanced analysis algorithms to assess changes in central nervous system function, providing an objective and brain-based view of multiple brain health issues that were previously undetectable. These changes are associated with concussion, traumatic brain injury, events associated with aging (strokes, Alzheimer’s disease), and the effectiveness of pharmaceutical agents.

Philip Starr, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Neurological Surgery, UC San Francisco

Dr. Starr's particular specialty interests lie in the area of movement disorders, including Parkinson's disease, tremor, and dystonia. He has fellowship training in microelectrode-guided surgery of movement disorders, which he completed at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Starr's research interests include physiology of the basal ganglia, clinical trials of novel surgical therapeutics in movement disorders, and the use of interventional magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI) for functional neurosurgery. His primary focus is on research related to the neurophysiology and therapy of movement disorders. Working together with William Marks MD and Jill Ostrem MD in Neurology in a joint UCSF-San Francisco Veterans Affairs Hospital Medical Center study, Dr. Starr is an investigator for the largest formal clinical trial of deep brain stimulation (DBS) currently taking place in North America: "A Randomized Trial of Best Medical Therapy versus Deep Brain Stimulation of the Globus Pallidus or Subthalamic Nucleus for Parkinson's Disease." This is a 6-center trial jointly funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Institutes of Health. The technical approach involves magnetic resonance-based stereotaxy and microelectrode recordings to map the borders of the surgical target area. Dr. Starr is also surgical investigator on several Phase I clinical trials of gene transfer approaches for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Dr. Starr is one of the most experienced surgeons in North America in the surgical treatment of dystonia using DBS. He conducts NIH-funded research on pallidal physiology in patients with dystonia.

Christpher Czura, Ph.D., Vice-President, Scientific Affairs, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Christopher J. Czura is Vice President of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, executive publisher of the Feinstein Institute Press’ international, peer-reviewed journals Molecular Medicine and Bioelectronic Medicine, executive producer of the Merinoff Conference Series, and Chief Financial Officer for the Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine. Dr. Czura provides oversight of the Institute’s daily operations and $95 million annual budget. He collaborates with the president to develop and execute strategic plans for the Institute, and is committed to building successful programs that nurture the collaborative and interactive environment of the Feinstein Institute. He leads project teams in the design and oversight of construction of new laboratory facilities and renovation projects. A molecular biologist by training, Dr. Czura’s research interests focus on autonomic neural regulation of hemostasis and inflammation. He received his B.S. in biotechnology from William Paterson University in 1996 and a doctoral degree in molecular microbiology from Stony Brook University in 2009. He is author or co-author of approximately 80 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, and meeting abstracts, and co-inventor on a patent that describes vagus nerve stimulation to control hemorrhage. Dr. Czura began his research career in the laboratory of Dr. Kevin Tracey, studying the mechanisms of pathological inflammation. Dr. Czura has also studied the inflammatory reflex, a neural mechanism through which the central nervous system detects and regulates immune responses to infection and injury. More recently, Dr. Czura and his colleagues Dr. Tracey and Dr. Jared Huston have made discoveries in the field of bioelectronic medicine. His primary work in this field led to the discovery of the “neural tourniquet,” a field of technology that uses electrical nerve stimulation to control traumatic hemorrhage.


Entrepreneur Presenters

Dan Rizzuto, Ph.D., CEO, Nia Therapeutics

Dan Rizzuto, Ph.D., leads strategic neurotechnology initiatives and large-scale R&D collaborations. Dr. Rizzuto is currently developing brain stimulation therapies for patients with memory impairment as part of the DARPA Restoring Active Memory project at the University of Pennsylvania and as CEO of Nia Therapeutics. He previously managed brain imaging projects at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, led the clinical research program at Swedish Neuroscience Institute, and developed an implantable brain stimulator for patients with major depression with Northstar Neuroscience. Dan completed his doctorate in systems neuroscience and human memory at Brandeis University; completed his postdoctoral training in brain-machine interfaces at Caltech; and was the recipient of the 2015 Neurotechnology Researcher of the Year award from Neurotech Reports.


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