2017 Fall Symposium: Spotlight on Alzheimer's Clinical Trials

Friday, October 27, 2017
10:30 am

The 2017 Fall Symposium features a panel of entrepreneurs and academics, who are developing some of the most innovative treatments in clinical trials for Alzheimer's disease. The Symposium is part of our annual Fall Luncheon.



Howard Fillit, MD, is an internationally recognized geriatrician, neuroscientist, and expert in Alzheimer's disease. He is the Founding Executive Director and Chief Science Officer of the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation. Dr. Fillit has had a distinguished academic medicine career and is currently a clinical professor of geriatric medicine and palliative care, medicine and neurosciences at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He is also a physician at The Rockefeller University Hospital. Throughout his career, Dr. Fillit has maintained a limited private practice in consultative geriatric medicine with a focus on Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Fillit has received numerous awards, including the Alzheimer's Association's Rita Hayworth Award. He is a fellow of the American Geriatrics Society, the American College of Physicians, the Gerontological Society of America, and the New York Academy of Medicine. He is the author or co-author of more than 300 scientific articles, abstracts and books, including the Brocklehurst’s Textbook of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology.


Mark Gurney

Mark Gurney, PhD, founded Tetra Discovery Partners in 2011 to develop drugs for diseases affecting the central nervous system. With ADDF support, Tetra has brought BPN14770, a potential new Alzheimer's therapeutic, into human clinical trials. BPN14770 uniquely targets the biology of the brain's synapses to improve learning and memory and possibly slow Alzheimer’s disease progression.

Dr. Gurney has a long history in drug discovery and development in both biotechnology and academia. He has served as Senior Vice President at deCODE genetics, Inc.; Director Genomics, Pharmacia Corporation; Associate Professor, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine; and Assistant Professor, University of Chicago Medical School. Dr. Gurney has authored 117 peer-reviewed papers that have been cited over 21,000 times and holds 36 issued patents. He earned a doctorate in neuroscience from the California Institute of Technology and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

Leen Kawas

Leen Kawas, PhD, President and CEO of M3 Biotechnology, has led the business and financial growth of M3 from early proof-of-concept stage toward human trials planned for this year. It anticipates starting phase 1 clinical trials of its lead drug NDX-1017 this year thanks in part to $1.4M in support from the ADDF.

Dr. Kawas won the Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Association of Washington Business, was selected as one of EY’s Winning Women Entrepreneur, won the 40 under 40 award from the Puget Sound Business Journal, was an Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist for EY and a Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist for GeekWire. She was named one of Seattle's Most Influential People by Seattle Magazine and one of the Women to Watch in Life Sciences by the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association. Dr. Kawas earned a doctorate in molecular pharmacology from Washington State University and a Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Jordan. She also completed the Executive Business Training Program at the Foster School of Business, University of Washington.

Jerri Rook

Jerri M. Rook, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery at Vanderbilt University. Her research focuses on the mechanisms underlying the progression of neurodegeneration and the discovery of novel therapeutic strategies for Alzheimer's disease. With support from the ADDF, she is preparing for a phase 1 trial of the drug VU0467319.

Dr. Rook has received multiple awards for her scientific contributions, including the Butler-Williams Scholars Award from the National Institute on Aging, the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation and Harrington Discovery Institute Scholar Award, and the Vanderbilt Faculty Research Scholar Award. She received her doctorate in Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutics at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Read about the event.

Watch the Symposium on YouTube.