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Shaping the Future of Alzheimer’s Care: Interview with Sinaptica CEO Ken Mariash

Researchers have been looking for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease for decades, with little success. Traditionally, the arsenal we’ve been using is largely reliant upon drugs. But could a device, not a pharmaceutical, be the key to Alzheimer’s treatment? This is a possibility that Ken Mariash and his team are solving for at Sinaptica.

Ken is a veteran in the medical device space. He started his career in consulting, where he honed his skills in valuation and pricing. He then transitioned within the industry to roles at CSL and Baxter, delving into marketing and gaining exposure to portfolio management, strategy, and mergers and acquisitions (M&A). His tenure at Boston Scientific was an important chapter in his career, where Ken not only founded the strategy group in the neuromodulation division but also led the global commercial group of a major franchise. This breadth of experience that includes being on both sides of a business — the buy-side and the build-side — positions Ken as an asset in navigating the complexities of business strategy and development, which is what he’s doing as the CEO of Sinaptica.

Sinaptica, under his leadership, is developing a non-invasive, personalized neuromodulation treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. By stimulating the Default Mode Network (DMN), Sinaptica aims to restore balance and function to the Alzheimer’s-affected brain. It’s a promising shift from the usual amyloid-based drugs and a new direction in tackling Alzheimer’s along with potentially other neurological conditions.

Sinaptica is the brainchild of two Italian scientists specializing in non-invasive brain modulation and neurodegenerative disorders. Recognizing the potential in their groundbreaking work, Rich Macary, who now serves as the company’s president, brought them together under the banner of Sinaptica. A tribute to their origin, and the company’s non-invasive methodology, Sinaptica’s name is coined from the Italian words ‘sin’ and ‘aptica,’ translating to ‘without touch’.

Sinaptica uses repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) therapy by specifically employing non-invasive magnetic fields to induce electrical currents in the brain. This is not a completely novel approach to the disease, but there are three main aspects that set Sinaptica apart from the rest.

First of all, Sinaptica primarily focuses on neuromodulation of the Default Mode Network (DMN), a brain network that is responsible for episodic memory and introspection. Secondly, their neuronavigation is enhanced with TMS-EEG for better precision of the therapy. And thirdly, they personalize the treatment through advanced algorithms based on the MRI data of each patient.

Thanks to these improvements, Sinaptica was able to demonstrate extraordinary phase 2 data in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s, showing an unprecedented 82% – 84% slowing of cognitive decline, exceeding the 27% – 29% achieved by the latest amyloid-based drugs. The results of the study were published in Oxford’s prestigious Journal, Brain. In a nutshell, this non-invasive treatment, which requires an initial induction phase followed by weekly sessions, offers a comfortable experience to patients as well as promising results.

Thanks to their groundbreaking findings, Sinaptica has earned the prestigious FDA Breakthrough Device Designation, which recognizes the therapy’s potential to revolutionize Alzheimer’s treatment.

Sinaptica is currently gearing up for a pivotal phase 3 clinical trial, aiming to replicate their remarkable results on a larger scale. This crucial study, scheduled to launch in the back half of 2024, will define the potential of Sinaptica’s therapy to become a game-changer in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

Key Learnings From Ken’s Experience
Incremental, manageable steps toward your goals is a safer and saner approach. Consider which variables will add more value to your company’s current position and be maniacally focused on achieving those efficiently.

An early-stage company will inevitably have some gaps, and it’s not easy to make a compelling M&A case when you have a lot of white space. If you’re aiming for an exit, be targeted. Identify a champion who will actively align your company’s unique value propositions against your target buyer’s needs.

For successful commercialization, you need reimbursement, a flawless value proposition, a pitch that clearly shows the superiority of your data, and thorough market research.

When raising funds, be simple enough so that your investors understand and can articulate your plan after you leave the room.

Incremental Value Creation
Ken will tell you that unless you’re Elon Musk, you likely have limited capital to work with when you first start a company. While some entrepreneurs like doing it all at once, Ken is all for creating incremental value in a sequential fashion.

In Ken’s view, overreaching with limited people and resources or attempting to secure a massive round of Series A funding and trying to do too much with it is overly ambitious. Instead, he recommends being “maniacally focused on what’s going to move the ball forward in the most productive way.”

While successful capital raising is undeniably useful, money doesn’t solve everything. Ken says, “I try to get a 10x return on every dollar I spend.” The real challenge lies in identifying incremental steps that enable significant achievements with relatively modest investments, whether it’s a proof-of-concept study, securing intellectual property rights, partnering up with hardware manufacturers, or recruiting key team members. Focusing on small, well-thought-out steps often leads to success without overwhelming the mission.

Clinical studies are the perfect field to apply this mindset. Medtech startups often grapple with designing clinical studies that maximize returns on multiple fronts. Ken likens this to solving a multivariate algebra equation, balancing regulatory requirements, reimbursement strategies, physician marketing, health economics, patient needs, along with other factors.

“It’s all about balancing what’s achievable versus what would be nice to have,” Ken says. Ticking off multiple boxes with one study is lucrative, but it’s unrealistic to expect to cover all bases in a single stride. Moreover, trying to do so — unless you have real leverage that works across multiple fields — almost certainly makes the study very complex and too expensive.

Ken’s strategy redefines success not as a grand, singular achievement but as stepping stones leading to smaller victories. He prioritizes achievable, realistic goals over grand ambitions, focusing on generating substantial value with each step. This proven strategy is as realistic as it is pragmatic.

Conversations with Strategics
“I looked at hundreds and hundreds of deals at Boston Scientific, and I was privileged to see some of those go through and see a lot of them not go through,” says Ken, who has experienced firsthand what makes a transaction succeed and what causes it to falter.

In the early stages, it’s natural to have some gaps in your operation. However, “Selling a concept that has a lot of white space is challenging,” shares Ken. To navigate this, it’s crucial to align with your target acquirer’s needs, leveraging your strengths accordingly.

For that, Ken recommends finding an internal champion who can effectively leverage your unique value proposition, whether it’s commercial call points, specialized expertise in a therapeutic area, or technical product knowledge. The key is to focus on something that complements the existing strategy of your target company and aligns well with your existing strengths.

Surprisingly, the best champion for this often doesn’t come from the business development (BD) department. The BD team may assess and negotiate the deal, but you need someone whose job will be actively selling it from the strategic’s division. This could be a marketing professional or even a product manager, someone who believes in your product’s fit with their existing portfolio and is convinced they can commercialize it. Ken reiterates, “Obviously, you have to have a great story and a great pitch, but having an internal champion is what a lot of people miss.”

Ken also offers practical advice on the timing of M&A deals. Convincing a healthcare giant to invest R&D dollars into your project is quite a challenge. These companies generally aim to steer clear of ventures that might dilute their profit and loss (P&L) statements. If your company is too early in its development and requires heavy R&D investment, making a compelling case for it can be difficult. Ken suggests that the most strategic time to approach is when you’re on the brink of pivotal data, thereby minimizing the burden of R&D.

And lastly, Ken recommends engaging with multiple potential buyers at once to create a competitive environment or a “bake-off”.

While Ken’s insights are invaluable for navigating the complexities of M&A transactions, finding a champion for your venture, and striking at the right time, it’s also important to remain flexible and open to other avenues. As Ken points out, certain scenarios require a reassessment of your end goal. In some situations, companies grow too quickly and become too expensive for acquisition. So, if a company is growing exceptionally fast and has the potential for an IPO (Initial Public Offering), an exit via M&A might not be the best decision.

The Four Pillars of Effective Commercialization
When it comes to commercializing a product, Ken breaks it down into four actionable steps.

Firstly, reimbursement is crucial. Understand who will pay for your product and map out the route to secure coding, coverage, and payment. “Being able to do finger-painting exercises for investors to show the pathway to coding coverage and payment is absolutely critical,” says Ken.

Secondly, you need a flawless value proposition. You should be able to explain why someone should buy your product in one compelling sentence. “If you can’t answer that question in one line succinctly and powerfully, it’s not a good value proposition,“ Ken warns.

The third piece of advice is about how you position data. Medical devices are developed in relation to data — whether it’s from clinical studies, patient information from an implantable device or a wearable, or other patient reports. Ken says, “The data is always the enamoring thing about these new products, and yet if the insights aren’t actionable, it’s actually more of a distraction.” Therefore, it’s essential to not only collect data but also clearly define how the data supports your go-forward plans.

Fourthly, and perhaps less obviously, relates to the role of market research. While traditional market research has its place, Ken suggests a more direct approach: talking to sales reps. Engage with salespeople who have sold to your customer and patient segment and learn how they would position your product, how they would market it to physicians and staff, and ultimately, how it would be presented to patients. This real-world feedback is often more valuable than extensive market research. “Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a research project, you can just talk to five really good sales reps and probably get more value out of that deliverable,“ Ken adds.

Simplifying Fundraising
When it comes to fundraising, Ken emphasizes the need for a plan that’s not only great but is also simple enough to be easily understood and remembered, even over a casual dinner conversation. “Investors should be able to articulate your plan effortlessly to their partners at home. It’s all about making it simple and digestible,” he explains.

Ken also underlines the importance of answering the question: why now? In the world of investment, there’s often a tendency to wait and see. To counter this, you must create a sense of urgency and movement. Ken recalls a lesson from a mentor, “We chase what moves.” It’s about convincing investors that the ground is shifting beneath their feet, that a megatrend is passing by and they have to decide right now whether to join or miss out. “That’s crucial for gaining traction with your fundraising efforts,” he advises.

While it’s important to delve deep into data, especially in healthcare, Ken emphasizes the necessity of bringing investors back to the core, intuitive idea. After analyzing the data, remind your investors of the simple, key concept of why you’re doing this. This is about hot cognition, where a straightforward idea resonates and draws people in, as opposed to cold cognition, which is getting lost in the data. “Coming back to that, it will stick in their mind, like a key that opens a lock,” says Ken.

In essence, if you can strike the right balance between detailed data and a compelling, simple narrative that sticks in the mind — while creating a sense of urgency and movement that compels action — you’ll set yourself up for a lot of interested investors.

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Giovanni Frisoni, MD

Giovanni Frisoni, MD, is a clinical neurologist, Full Professor of Clinical Neuroscience at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and Director of the Memory Clinic at Geneva University Hospital where he is leading a team of 40 clinicians and scientists. Formerly the Director at the National Alzheimer’s Centre in Bresca, Italy, Prof. Frisoni is author of about 700 scientific papers listed in PubMed, imaging editor for Neurobiology of Aging, and founding editorial board member of The Lancet Neurology.

He has led national and international projects funded by the European Commission, the Alzheimer’s Association, Italian and Swiss Ministries of Health, and industry. He is currently a leading figure worldwide in microbiota studies in dementia, has taken active part in the IWG initiative for the definition of global diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer’s disease, and is leading a European working group of experts tasked with developing protocols and procedures for the memory clinics of the future (brain health services for dementia prevention). Dr. Frisoni is an honorary member of the Austrian Neurological Society and the French Society of Neurology, and he received the Investigator Award Winner from the European Academy of Neurology in 2016.

Simone Rossi, MD, PhD

Simone Rossi MD, PhD is a Professor of Human Physiology. He is also a Neurologist and Neurophysiologist, currently leading the Brain Investigation & Neuromodulation Lab (Si-BIN Lab) at the Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neuroscience, Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology Unit, University of Siena, where he also leads the Parkinson’s disease clinical activity.

Dr. Rossi is an international leader in the field of noninvasive brain stimulation, where his contributions include: technical developments (one patent for a new sham coil for TMS); use and developments of noninvasive brain stimulation techniques (TMS, tDCS, tACS) as neuroimaging procedures in cognitive neuroscience, with a focus on memory, therapeutic neuromodulatory tools in neuropsychiatry, and neuroehnancement (including ethical issues); individuation of neurophysiological markers of psychiatric diseases; noninvasive investigation of neural plasticity mechanisms and brain connectivity, studied with EEG, TMS-EEG combination and rsFMRI. He also helps in the development of wearable robotic devices (in collaboration with Prof. Domenico Prattichizzo) to improve human health, for stroke people, Parkinson’s disease patients and tinnitus sufferers (three patents).

Dr. Rossi has authored 183 full text publications on peer-reviewed scientific journals indexed by Current Contents-Life Science (and 11 chapters in books), with an overall Impact Factor of about 804 (mean per publication: 4.2), H-index: 58. He has more than 17900 citations.

Dr. Rossi received his M.D. in 1987 at the University of Firenze, his specialization in Neurophysiopathlogy in 1990 at the University of Genova, and a second specialization in Neurology in 1999 at the University of Siena; in 1996, he obtained the PhD in “Pathophysiology of Nervous Functions”. He has been trained in neurology and neurophysiology in Siena, in Roma, under the supervision of Prof. Paolo Rossini and in Germany (Ulm, Freiburg).

He is or has been a member of the Editorial Boards of Behavioural Neurology, Brain Stimulation, ISNR Neurology, and Clinical Neurophysiology and is past President of the Italian Society of Psychophysiology & Cognitive Neuroscience. Currently, he is secretary of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology. He is also an occasional reviewer of 98 international scientific journals in neurology, neurophysiology, psychiatry and neuroscience areas (including Nature Reviews Neurology, Lancet Neurology, Neurology, Annals of Neurology, Journal of Neuroscience, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Current Biology, Biological Psychiatry, American Journal of Psychiatry, Elife, etc.).

Dr. Rossi is Referee for the European Research Council, for the Medical Research Council (MRC) UK, for The French National Research Agency (ANR), for the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, for the Israeli Scientific Foundation, for the Weston Brain Institute. He is a reviewer of the Italian Ministry of Research for the evaluation of scientific production of Italian Universities.
Dr. Rossi is or has been granted as Unit Leader in many Italian research projects and is responsible for the local neuroscientifc aspects in two European granted projects in Robotics.
Dr. Rossi is a Consultant for EBNeuro and for Neurocare Group Italy.

Lorenzo Di Gioacchino

Board Member

At F2i since 2008, he is a Partner and Head of the Legal Area. He provides assistance in the investment and divestment of the equity investments held by the Funds managed by F2i, in the legal aspects of the new Funds’ fund-raising activity, and provides general support to the company’s various departments.

Prior to joining F2i, he worked for four years at the Grande Stevens law firm, where he dealt with corporate, commercial and financial market law matters, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions. Previously he worked at the law firm Pavia and Ansaldo, also in the field of commercial and corporate law and he has been visiting lawyer at the London offices of law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges and at London-based law firm Herbert Smith.

He serves on the Board of Directors of EI Towers and Sagat.

He graduated in Law from La Sapienza University, Rome.

Dinesh Moorjani

Board Observer

Dinesh Moorjani is a serial tech founder & CEO, venture capital investor, and adjunct professor. Dinesh was the Founder and CEO of Hatch Labs Inc., where he cofounded numerous software companies from ground up, including Tinder (NASDAQ: MTCH). Dinesh started several other software businesses, including Saffronart – a global eCommerce marketplace for Indian fine art and collectibles, backed by Sequoia Capital. He cofounded Kleverbeast, a no-code SaaS application development platform, and Monet Analytics, an AI SaaS business that decodes human emotion.

Dinesh served in numerous executive leadership roles at multinational corporations, including as Managing Director at Comcast Ventures, Sr. Vice President and Group Head of Mobility at IAC/InterActive Corp, and in various leadership roles at Samsung Electronics in the US and Asia. He built his early career in the Global Energy Practice at AD Little, Goldman Sachs, and as an early employee at Mainspring (IPO 2000, acquired by IBM 2001). Dinesh served as an independent board director at Alight (NYSE: ALIT) and on the advisory boards of Fortune 500 companies including American Express, Assurant, and Cox Automotive. He held the board observer seat at Zoox (acquired by Amazon), a leader in autonomous vehicles. Dinesh served as an advisor to Warburg Pincus, the global private equity firm, where he was previously an EIR sitting on company boards and co-investing alongside the firm.

Dinesh is a faculty advisor and senior lecturer at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, and guest lectures at Harvard, Stanford, and MIT. He serves on the Harvard Business School California Research Center Advisory Board. Dinesh supports disenfranchised youth and education through his non-profit work as a board director at the United Friends of the Children and the Organization for Social Media Safety. He also serves as a board trustee at the University of California, Merced. Dinesh earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University and MBA from Harvard. He is currently a Stanford University engineering doctoral student focused on climate innovation and sustainable finance.


Scientific Advisor

Dr. Ana Pereira completed her neurology residency at Harvard University, with sub-specialty trainings in Cognitive Neurology at Columbia University, Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at Columbia University and Translational and Clinical Investigation at Rockefeller University in New York City where she was an Assistant Professor of Clinical Investigation before moving to Mount Sinai. Clinically, Dr. Pereira evaluates patients at the Barbara and Maurice Deane Center for Wellness and Cognitive Health at The Mount Sinai Hospital, having expertise in diagnosing and treating neurodegenerative disorders and other cognitive syndromes.     Dr. Pereira’s research focuses on furthering knowledge of the neurobiology of aging and Alzheimer’s disease, taking into account the selective vulnerability of glutamatergic neural circuits to synaptic changes in aging and neuronal loss in Alzheimer’s disease. She seeks to explore mechanisms underlying these susceptibilities along with effective therapeutic interventions. 

Ana Pereira, MD

Ana Pereira completed her neurology residency at Harvard University, with sub-specialty trainings in Cognitive Neurology at Columbia University, Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at Columbia University and Translational and Clinical Investigation at Rockefeller University in New York City where she was an Assistant Professor of Clinical Investigation before moving to Mount Sinai. Clinically, Dr. Pereira evaluates patients at the Barbara and Maurice Deane Center for Wellness and Cognitive Health at The Mount Sinai Hospital, having expertise in diagnosing and treating neurodegenerative disorders and other cognitive syndromes. Dr. Pereira’s research focuses on furthering knowledge of the neurobiology of aging and Alzheimer’s disease, taking into account the selective vulnerability of glutamatergic neural circuits to synaptic changes in aging and neuronal loss in Alzheimer’s disease. She seeks to explore mechanisms underlying these susceptibilities along with effective therapeutic interventions.

Lisa Fosdick

Acting VP of Clinical

Lisa brings a decade of experience in neuromodulation for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) guiding Functional Neuromodulation (deep brain stimulation of the fornix for AD) through two FDA trials and obtaining CE mark.  Prior to that her medical device experience spanned 7 years as Director of Data Management with NAMSA and Director of Clinical and Biostatistics at CVRx.  Earlier work included driving the creation of an HIV trials network spanning 23 countries with 4 regional coordinating centers to conduct several pharma-driven trials. Lisa has a Masters of Science in Biostatistics from the University of Minnesota. 

Casey Lynch, MS

Casey Lynch has more than 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive and director with a focus on development of treatments for neurological disorders. She is currently the CEO of Lighthouse Pharmaceuticals and Managing Partner of Sonoma Bioventures, an investment and advisory firm. She has been a member of the board of directors of Longboard Pharmaceuticals (LBPH), a public company developing the next wave of neuropharmaceuticals, since February 2021 and a member of the review board of the Alzheimer’s Drug Development Foundation since September 2022. She previously co-founded and served as President and Chief Executive Officer and member of the board of directors of Cortexyme, Inc., a public biotechnology company, from July 2014 through January 2022, and as Chairman of Cortexyme’s Board of Directors from November 2018 through January 2022. She was a member of the board of directors of the California Life Science Association, a trade association representing California’s life science industry, from 2019 to 2021. Prior to co-founding Cortexyme, Ms. Lynch co-founded various companies and organizations in the biotechnology industry including Aspira Biosystems, an artificial antibody platform and NeuroInsights, an information, event and advisory firm focused on the intersection of neuropharma, neurodevices and neurodiagnostics. Ms. Lynch holds a B.S. in Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an M.S. in Neuroscience from the University of California, San Francisco.

Anthony Arnold

Anthony Arnold, Strategic Advisor, is the President & CEO of Sensydia Corporation; a leader in the field of artificial intelligence based, non-invasive cardiac assessment. Anthony is also CEO & Founder of the boutique medtech consulting firm, Precys. Before being named CEO for Sensydia, Anthony spent eight years leading SetPoint Medical; a pioneer in the field of bioelectronic medicine dedicated to treating patients with debilitating inflammatory diseases. Arnold led the company and built a world-class team that delivered a revolutionary micro-implantable platform, novel therapeutic pathway and successful human trials in Europe and the US.

Anthony brings more than 20 years of experience in the development and commercialization of high-technology medical devices. Prior to SetPoint, Anthony served as Vice President of Marketing for Boston Scientific. Anthony was also Director of Marketing at Medtronic, responsible for the launch and explosive growth of the StealthStation navigation system. Prior to Medtronic, Anthony held a variety of positions of increasing responsibility in marketing and R&D with Smith+Nephew.

Jeffrey L. Cummings, MD ScD (HC)

Jeffrey L. Cummings joined the UNLV School of Integrated Health Sciences in 2019 as research professor within the department of brain health. Dr. Cummings is the Joy Chambers-Grundy Professor of Brain Science, an endowed professorship. He is the Director of the Chambers-Grundy Center for Transformative Neuroscience, a center devoted to using the tools of neuroscience and neurologic drug development to transform people’s lives.

Prior to UNLV, Dr. Cummings served as founding director of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, and as director of the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, and director of the Deane F. Johnson Center for Neurotherapeutics, both at UCLA.

A world-renowned Alzheimer’s researcher and leader of clinical trials, Dr. Cummings has been recognized for his scientific and leadership contributions with the American Geriatrics Society’s Henderson Award (2006), the national Alzheimer’s Association’s Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Award (2008), and the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry’s Distinguished Scientist Award (2010). Dr. Cummings’ interests embrace clinical trials, developing new therapies for brain diseases, and the interface of neuroscience and society. Dr. Cummings has published nearly 800 articles and 44 books devoted to neuroscience, Alzheimer’s disease, and clinical trials.

Dr. Cummings received the Society for Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2017), the International Society of CNS Drug Development’s Leadership and Achievement Award and the national Alzheimer’s Association’s Bengt Winblad Lifetime Achievement Award (2018). Additionally, he was featured in Gentleman’s Quarterly (June 2009) as a “Rock Star of Science.™”

Henry Peck

Henry Peck, Digital Biomarker Advisor, is the Vice President of Growth & Strategy at LSI (Life Science Intelligence™), an ecosystem of software, services, and events that enables thousands of medtech leaders around the world access the intelligence and relationships needed to build breakthrough businesses. Henry’s role spans both the company’s global partnering events, who’s emerging company alumni raised over $1.45 Billion in capital in 2022, and its Medtech Market Intelligence business, which is a trusted partner for syndicated and custom research and data solutions to the largest Medtech, Life Science, and Professional Services organizations, from Medtronic to McKinsey & Co.

Prior to his current role, Henry was the Director of Strategy and Marketing at Altoida, a precision neurology company pioneering novel digital cognitive assessment and diagnostics with augmented reality and machine learning. As one of the first team members beyond the founding scientific team, Henry was integral in winning FDA Breakthrough Device Designation for the technology’s prognostic and diagnostic application in Alzheimer’s disease, establishing partnerships and multi-million dollar commercial deals with global pharmaceutical companies and digital therapeutics providers, and securing bridge financing from new and existing investors including Whitecap Venture Partners, M Ventures (Merck KGaA), Hikma Ventures, HonorHealth, and more.
Henry began his career in robotics, primarily with Auris Health (Johnson & Johnson) where he supported upstream strategic marketing and portfolio management for a novel suite of robotically-driven stapling and advanced energy devices leveraging Ethicon’s portfolio of laparoscopic surgical devices (ECHELON™, ENSEAL™, HARMONIC). An engineer by trade, Henry holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and has conducted research in upper-limb extremity prosthesis and human performance augmentation via CMU’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute and Robotics Institute.

Alessio Travaglia

Alessio Travaglia is a neuroscientist with over 15 years of experience in basic and translational neuroscience, in academia, non-profit, management consulting, and venture philanthropy.

Currently, he works as the Director, Neuroscience at the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH). In this role, he leads the Neuroscience programs, facilitate the advancement and execution of innovative Public-Private Partnerships, engage international participation from government, industry, academia, patient-advocacy and private sector organizations.

Jim Schwoebel

Jim Schwoebel, SW/ML Advisor, is an Engineering Manager @ Verily building out Verily Workbench (formerly Terra), a scalable, secure research platform to help biomedical researchers accelerate scientific discoveries. He has over 10 years of experience building startups and R&D partnerships in the areas of machine learning, digital health, and software engineering. Prior to joining Verily, Jim was the CEO of NeuroLex Laboratories, a company focused on using voice as a marker for early diagnosis of psychiatric and neurological diseases. Before being acquired by Sonde Health, NeuroLex had key partnerships in biopharma, grew its data bank to over 500,000 voice files and expanded its core SurveyLex product to thousands of users. Jim received his BS in Biomedical Engineering from Georgia Tech.

Emiliano Santarnecchi PhD, PhD

Scientific Co-Founder

Emiliano Santarnecchi is an Associate Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School (HMS), and the director of the Precision Neuroscience & Neuromodulation program (PNN) and the Network Control Laboratory at the Gordon Center for Medical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

Dr. Santarnecchi’s program focuses on combining multimodal neuroimaging (e.g., MRI, fMRI, DTI, PET) and electrophysiology (e.g., EEG, EMG, MEG) methods for the identification of novel biomarkers and the development of therapeutic approaches for patients with neurological and psychiatric conditions.

In particular, Dr. Santarnecchi’s research is centered around the development of personalized, network-based Noninvasive Brain Stimulation (NiBS) approaches to modulate brain plasticity, guide connectome rewiring and enhance cognitive function, with the ultimate goal of promoting Brain Health and healthy Aging. His team is currently working on machine learning and AI-based solutions for perturbation-based brain connectivity analysis (TMS-EEG, fMRI), NIBS approaches to modulate sleep and memory, high-frequency transcranial electrical stimulation interventions for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and Frontotemporal dementia, and novel fMRI markers of disease progression in patients with brain tumors.

Giacomo Koch MD, PhD

Scientific Co-Founder

Giacomo Koch, MD. PHD is a neurologist and neuroscientist. He is Full Professor of Human Physiology at University of Ferrara and leads the non-invasive cortical stimulation lab at Santa Lucia Foundation in Rome, Italy.

Prof. Koch has a world-class experience in the field of clinical neurophysiology. His main expertise is in the application of non-invasive brain stimulation techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), mainly used in combination with structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and with electroencephalography (EEG).

The main goals of his research are to understand the mechanisms underlying cortical plasticity and cortical connectivity in the healthy human brain, to develop novel therapeutic approaches to promote recovery of neurological functions trough methods of non-invasive brain stimulation. He pioneered novel research based on multifocal TMS to investigate in real-time the activation of cortical circuits and to study the mechanisms of cortico-cortical plasticity. Prof. Koch performed several clinical trials evaluating the therapeutic efficacy of rTMS in neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and stroke.

The main current focus of his research is on the field of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and dementia. Prof. Koch conducted a series of clinical studies that led to the first clinical evidence that therapy with dopaminergic agonists such as rotigotine, may slow cognitive decline and preserve functional activities in patients with AD.  The translational approach of his research has been directed in the past 10 years to find novel therapies for AD that are based on personalized non-invasive brain stimulation therapies.

He is the author of >320 peer-reviewed publications and several book chapters. H index: 65 (Scopus).

Greg Harper

Acting VP of R&D

Mr. Harper has a proven track record in program management and leading global teams across all phases of the product development lifecycle -    from ideation & feasibility, through design & development, production ramp-up, installed base maintenance, and end-of-life.   

He has held leadership roles in Neuronetics, Philips Medical Imaging, GE Appliances, GE Medical, and GE Aerospace. Mr. Harper has directed global teams in the US, France, Israel, India, and China with a focus on talent development, and creating a culture of innovation, functional excellence, and process controls.    Mr. Harper holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Valparaiso University, and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin.

Chris Thatcher

Chris Thatcher is a senior life sciences executive experienced as a board member, CEO and Divisional President in the commercialization of Class I, II, and III medical devices, for public or privately owned companies, with capital equipment, disposables, implantable or service agreements utilized in the operating room or office based, domestically and internationally. He has expertise in enterprises ranging from $20M to $425M in annual revenues, converting debt, venture funding or Initial Public Offering proceeds into successful turnarounds by accelerate revenue growth, margin expansion, operating leverage and ultimately EBITDA for their respective enterprises.

Ken Mariash


As CEO of Sinaptica, Ken is leading the team to advance the company’s personalized precision neuromodulation therapy for Alzheimer’s.

Prior to Sinaptica, Ken has 20+ years leading and growing new business ventures on both the ‘Buy Side’ and the ‘Build Side.’

He started his career in management consulting at Charles River Associates, then jumped to industry at CSL, then Baxter BioScience (now Takeda), and Boston Scientific, with leadership roles in marketing, strategy, and corporate development. At Boston Scientific’s nearly $1B Neuromodulation division, he was the global commercial lead for the highly successful Cosman RF ablation business he helped acquire.

He also built the division’s Strategy function, providing leadership in areas including strategic planning, BD assessment, R&D portfolio management, digital strategy, and investments in next-gen platforms & new indications. In 2019 he joined EBT Medical, a venture-backed, clinical-stage startup developing a disruptive neuromodulation device for overactive bladder, where he oversaw all commercial aspects.

Rich Macary


Rich Macary is the President of Sinaptica Therapeutics, a clinical-stage electromagnetic therapeutics company developing a novel, noninvasive closed loop neuromodulation approach for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.  As one of the company’s co-founders, Rich helped drive product development and partnering efforts as well as securing FDA Breakthrough Device Designation for the company’s proprietary SinaptiStimTM- AD System.  Prior to his current role, Rich was a consultant, strategic advisor and a senior executive at Sarepta Therapeutics, a global biotechnology company and leader in RNA based therapeutics and genetic medicines targeting rare diseases. In his role as Vice President of Business Development, Rich focused on developing new opportunities and therapeutic targets for the company’s RNA technologies as well as complimentary technologies and related IP.  Prior to and post his roles at Sarepta, Rich held several senior executive roles at Delos, a wellness real estate and technology company, where he lead business development, strategic investments and overall strategy as both President of Delos Ventures and Chief Strategy Officer.  In his roles at Delos, Rich achieved a number of key accomplishments including conceiving, developing and launching the Well Living Lab, a Delos and Mayo Clinic collaboration to study the impact of indoor environments on the health and well-being of building occupants. Rich spent the prior 15  years as a corporate consultant, advisor and analyst to both institutional and high-net-worth investors as well as a consultant, advisor, investor and board member to several public and private early to mid-stage companies operating in a diverse range of industries including biotechnology, medical devices, software, fintech and consumer products among others. Rich currently holds several board positions and remains a managing partner of Macary Advisors, a biotech/medtech consulting and advisory firm currently engaged with several promising companies within the fields of diagnostics, therapeutics, medical devices and digital health.  His research and opinions have appeared in many media outlets including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, CNN, Barron’s, Reuters and Bloomberg.