BOSTON & SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Akili Interactive Labs, Inc. ("Akili") today announced the appointment of former Cubist Pharmaceuticals CEO, Robert J. Perez, as Executive Chairman. Mr. Perez has been a commercial advisor with the company for the past year and will now be joining in the more official leadership role as the company continues its growth. Additionally, the company has added former DreamWorks Interactive CEO, Glenn Entis, and former Chief Game Designer at Google, Noah Falstein, as Executive Advisors. These three biotech and game industry veterans will bring their cross-disciplinary expertise to the Akili team as the company advances its diverse product portfolio and prepares for the potential commercialization of Akili’s lead product, Project:EVOTM. The Project:EVOTM platform is currently being evaluated in a pivotal, registration-enabling trial in patients with pediatric ADHD, which is expected to read out in the second half of 2017.
“We’re extremely excited to have Rob join us as Executive Chairman. He brings experience in developing disruptive business models and a strategic leadership approach that will be critical to the growth of our company,” said Eddie Martucci, PhD, Akili’s President and CEO. “Along with Glenn and Noah’s experience and passion for building leading creative businesses, we’re continuing to bring onboard top leaders to help make therapeutically-active digital medicine a reality for many patients.”
Rob Perez joins Akili as Executive Chairman and will work directly with Dr. Martucci and the Akili management team and Board of Directors on business strategy, commercial approach, and healthy company growth as the company continues its leadership footprint in the budding digital medicine industry. Prior to this, Mr. Perez was CEO of Cubist Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Merck for $9.5 billion. Prior to joining Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Mr. Perez served as Vice President of Biogen, Inc.'s CNS Business Unit where he was responsible for leading the U.S. neurology franchise. Mr. Perez is also Founder and Chairman at Life Science Cares, a collective effort of the Life Science Industry to eliminate the impact of poverty in the greater Boston area.
“I couldn’t be more excited to join the terrific team at Akili in a more formal role,” said Mr. Perez. “I believe this technology platform not only has the ability to significantly benefit numerous patients, but also provides the opportunity to develop a more effective and efficient business model for our industry and connect with patients in an entirely new way.”
Also joining the team as Executive Advisors are Glenn Entis and Noah Falstein, who will work with Akili’s management and product design teams to further advance the level of quality and engagement that is a hallmark of Akili’s products.
Glenn Entis is an Academy Award-winning animation pioneer and games industry veteran. As the CEO of DreamWorks Interactive, Mr. Entis worked with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg on a number of video games including the first title in the successful Medal of Honor series. In 2000, when DreamWorks was acquired by Electronic Arts (EA), Mr. Entis joined the gaming giant and went on to become their Chief Visual and Technology Officer. Prior to joining DreamWorks, Mr. Entis co-founded Pacific Data Images (PDI), where he co-wrote PDI's first animation system, earning him a Scientific and Technical Award from the Academy of Motion Pictures and Arts. Mr. Entis is also a co-founder and Senior Advisor with Vanedge Capital, a venture capital fund focused on investments in interactive entertainment and digital media businesses.
“The promise of Akili is simple but profound - combine great creative game design with cutting edge research to deliver a new kind of treatment,” said Mr. Entis. “After a long career in entertainment, I am thrilled to work with this amazing team and to put everything I've learned into products that will potentially improve people's lives."
Noah Falstein, the first elected chairman of the Computer Game Developers Association (CGDA), most recently served as Chief Game Designer at Google. Mr. Falstein became a professional game developer in 1980 and has worked on a wide range of games, from the arcade hit Sinistar, to award winning titles such as Battlehawks 1942, and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. One of the first ten employees at companies including Lucasfilm Games (LucasArts), 3DO, and DreamWorks Interactive, Mr. Falstein is on the advisory boards of the Games for Health Conference and Serious Games Summit. He is an acclaimed and frequent industry speaker on game innovation, and he writes the design column for Game Developer Magazine.
"I’m very pleased to be bringing my video game design experience to Akili,” said Mr. Falstein. “There are few companies in the world who can match their expertise and depth of experience in both neuroscience research and software development, and as a result their product portfolio has the potential to engage people in a completely new way."
About Akili’s Products
Akili's technologies are based on a proprietary neuroscience approach developed to target specific neurological systems through sensory and digital mechanics. The company's lead, patent-pending technology platform is based on cognitive science exclusively licensed from the lab of Dr. Adam Gazzaley at the University of California, San Francisco, and proprietary adaptive algorithms developed at Akili, all built into action video game interfaces. The platform powers both assessment (screens and monitors) and treatment products, which deploy real-time, adaptive cognitive challenges and interventions, respectively. Both products target the brain's interference processing system (an individual's core ability to process multiple streams of information), a key function underlying cognitive control.
Akili is currently conducting multiple clinical trials of its leading digital medicine platform across a variety of patient populations, including pediatric ADHD, autism spectrum disorder (in collaboration with Autism Speaks), depression, Alzheimer’s disease and traumatic brain injury.
About Akili Interactive Labs, Inc.
Akili is building clinically-validated cognitive treatments and assessments that are delivered in an action video game interface. Leveraging medical-grade science and consumer-grade software technology, the company is seeking to produce a new type of medical product that can offer safe and effective scalable treatment and better monitoring for patients across a range of mental health and neurological conditions. The company was founded by and is a subsidiary of PureTech Health (PRTC.L), together with leading neuroscientists and game designers. Akili’s lead product candidate, Project: EVOTM, is currently being evaluated in a pivotal trial in patients with pediatric ADHD that may serve as the basis of the company’s submission to the FDA for clearance as a medical device treatment for the pediatric disorder. Akili has garnered investment from Shire PLC, Amgen Ventures and Merck Ventures BV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany (known as M Ventures in the United States and Canada), and it has strategic partnerships with Pfizer Inc. and Autism Speaks.
Forward Looking Statement
This press release contains statements that are or may be forward-looking statements, including statements that relate to the company's future prospects, developments and strategies. The forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance and achievements to differ materially from current expectations, including, but not limited to, those risks and uncertainties described in the risk factors included in the regulatory filings for PureTech Health plc. These forward-looking statements are based on assumptions regarding the present and future business strategies of the company and the environment in which it will operate in the future. Each forward-looking statement speaks only as at the date of this press release. Except as required by law and regulatory requirements, neither the company nor any other party intends to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.