About Us

Accera is a clinical development company focused on pioneering novel therapeutic approaches to treat neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, where metabolic dysfunction is a pathophysiological hallmark of the disease. Our executive management team includes globally recognized specialists in central nervous system diseases who together leverage the latest scientific knowledge and understanding of neurological disorders.

Accera has developed a marketed product for Alzheimer’s disease and is currently developing a pipeline of innovative products targeting neurodegenerative conditions. AC-1204, is being studied in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

Leadership Team

Charles Stacey, MD

President & CEO
Dr. Stacey has over 15 years of experience in healthcare; working as a healthcare provider, executive, entrepreneur and investor. Prior to joining Accera, he was with Inventages, a global healthcare venture capital and private equity group. Dr. Stacey received his medical degree from King’s College London and practiced as a reconstructive surgeon. His undergraduate degree and basic research were in the neurosciences at University College London. Dr. Stacey also completed an MBA at the London Business School and the Wharton School.

Evan Ballantyne

Chief Financial Officer
Prior to Accera, Mr. Ballantyne was the Chief Financial Officer for Agenus, Inc. where he was responsible for all aspects of finance, accounting, investor relations and corporate communications. Prior to that, he held the Chief Financial Officer role at Synthetic Biologics, Inc. and before that, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Clinical Data, Inc., a bio-pharmaceutical company focused on CNS diseases that was acquired by Forest Labs for $1.3 billion. Mr. Ballantyne has also held the position of Chief Financial Officer at several medical technology companies including Avedro, Inc. and ZymeQuest, Inc. Earlier in his career, he served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer at the ACNielsen Corporation. He also held held various financial positions at IMS Health and the Dun & Bradstreet Corporation. Mr. Ballantyne holds a BA from the University of Western Ontario and a post-graduate degree in honors business administration from the University of Windsor.

Judy Walker, MD FRCPC

Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Walker brings to Accera over 20 years of experience in the global biopharmaceutical industry, her wealth of expertise in neurology drug development is invaluable. Prior to joining Accera, she was with QuintilesIMS where she held the position of Vice President of Product Development Advisory Services, providing leadership for the global clinical development of drugs in the areas of neurology and pain. Prior to QuintilesIMS, Dr. Walker served as Senior Director of Medical Affairs at Teva Neuroscience, a division of Teva Pharmaceuticals. Before Teva Neuroscience, Dr. Walker held leadership roles in global product and global clinical development in neurology at Serono International (Merck KGaA). Dr. Walker continues to serve on the boards of Great Lakes Neuroscience and the pharmaceutical advisory board of the non-profit Accelerated Cure Project. A Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Dr. Walker received her medical degree from the University of Montréal and completed her residency in neurology at the University of Western Ontario.

Samuel Henderson, PhD

VP, Research & Development
Dr. Henderson brings more than 15 years of experience in neurodegenerative disease research. Previously, he investigated the genetics of aging at University of Colorado and was the Lead Scientist at GenoPlex, Inc. researching anti-aging technologies. Dr. Henderson received his PhD in molecular genetics and cell biology from the University of Chicago, and his BA in biology from Washington University.

Bruce Morimoto, PhD

VP, Drug Development
Dr. Morimoto is the Executive Director of Applied Translational Medicine at Celerion. Dr. Morimoto has over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries including experience with contract research organizations (CRO). Prior to joining Celerion, he was Vice President of Drug Development at Allon Therapeutics, where his focus was managing Allon’s neurodegeneration and dementia therapeutic programs including preclinical, manufacturing and clinical development. Dr. Morimoto also held positions at MDS Pharma Services, a full service CRO; Neuromed Technologies, a biotech company developing novel pain therapeutics; Phoenix International Life Sciences, a global CRO; and Amur Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company focused on diabetes and drug delivery research.

Ernest Wong, PhD

VP, Corporate Development
Dr. Wong has over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries including 15+ years in various business development and licensing functions. Dr. Wong was the Vice President, Head of Business Development and Licensing at Piramal Imaging where he successfully completed a number of high value strategic transactions involving the commercial launch of Neuraceq, an amyloid plaque PET imaging agent. He also led the in licensing of a tau PET imaging program into Piramal Imaging. Prior to Piramal Imaging, he led the Corporate Development function at YM BioSciences where he executed a partnering campaign for a Phase 2/3 JAK inhibitor that resulted in the acquisition of the company by Gilead for over $510M USD. His business development experiences also include executing transactions and managing partnerships at OSI Pharmaceuticals and AnorMED Inc. Dr. Wong holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of British Columbia and an MBA from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Jerris Knaisch

VP, Finance
Ms. Knaisch has over 20 years of experience in corporate finance; in small to mid-sized growth companies, across multiple industries, including biotech, software, and sustainable development. Ms. Knaisch oversees financial management for Accera, and provides leadership in strategic business planning, accounting and budgeting models. Jerris holds an MBA and a BS in accounting.

Taryn Boivin, PhD

VP, CMC
Dr. Boivin is the owner and Principal of Level10 Consulting, a specialist CMC consultancy. Dr. Boivin has over 25 years of experience in multi-national and start-up pharmaceutical operations and has held key positions in all stages of drug development and commercial supply. Previous positions include Vice President, Pharma Sciences & Manufacturing, Cardiome, Senior Vice President, Scientific Affairs & Operations, Vida Therapeutics, Director, Product Development, GSK, Vice President, Pharma Development, Oncogenex. Dr. Boivin holds a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Alberta.

Alzheimer’s disease

  • Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an age-associated, neurodegenerative disease characterized by a progressive decline in memory and language and pathologically, by accumulation of senile plaques and neurofibrillar tangles in the brain. Despite significant advances in AD research, there exists a tremendous need for new AD therapies. Most developed countries will experience a dramatic demographic shift toward an older population in the next 50 years, which is anticipated to greatly increase the prevalence of AD. The rise in the number of AD patients will place a tremendous social and economic burden on the developed world.

     

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  • Despite being identified over 100 years ago, the cause of Alzheimer's disease is still not well understood. Unfortunately, drug development for AD has proven to be very difficult, with few successes and many failures. Currently, only 5 drugs are approved for the treatment of AD including 4 cholinesterase inhibitors (tacrine, donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine) and an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist (memantine). No new compounds have been approved for AD since 2003. Tacrine was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993, donepezil in 1996, rivastigmine in 1998, galantamine in 2001, and memantine in 2003. Many failures in AD drug development have occurred, with both small molecules and immunotherapies failing to show a statistically significant difference or having unacceptable toxicity. As a result, there is a tremendous need for innovative AD therapies .

  • The lack of new treatments and the repeated failure of pipeline drugs have significantly impacted not only the lives of patients and associated family members, but also the economy at the national level. In 2013, it was calculated that the total cost for dementia care (largely AD) in the US was $215 billion. Further calculations demonstrated that the increasing prevalence of dementia, due to the aging of the US population will result in an increase of nearly 80% in total societal costs by 2040, with total care costs of approximately $511 billion. Therefore, the development of new treatments that delay onset or progression of the disease are desperately needed.1

    1. Hurd, M. D., P. Martorell, et al. (2013). "Monetary costs of dementia in the United States." N Engl J Med 368(14): 1326-34.

Innovation

Alzheimer’s disease in Numbers

Million People

worldwide living with dementia

Billion Dollar

world cost in 2015

Leading Cause

of death in the U.S.

Approved Compounds

since 2003

Board of Directors

Claude H. Nash, PhD

Chairman

Dr. Nash brings more than 25 years of executive management experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries to Accera. Dr. Nash has served as the CEO of Bloodstone Ventures, Chairman of SelectX and a Director of Adolor Pharmaceuticals. Previously, he was the Founder, CEO, and Chairman of ViroPharma Inc. where he oversaw the development of several antiviral drugs. Prior to founding ViroPharma, Dr. Nash was Vice President of infectious disease and cancer research at the Schering-Plough Research Institute. Dr. Nash earned his PhD in microbial genetics and biochemistry from Colorado State University.

Greg Behar

Director

Mr. Behar is CEO and President of Nestlé Health Science. Prior to his current role, he was CEO and President of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals in the United States. Over the past 20 years, Mr. Behar has held numerous senior management positions in the pharmaceutical and FMCG industries. Throughout this time, he has developed a record for being a dynamic entrepreneurial leader who is focused on operational excellence. He holds a BS from University of California, Los Angeles in engineering and a MS in mechanical engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. He also has an MBA from INSEAD.

Wolfgang Reichenberger

Director

Mr. Reichenberger joined Inventages as general partner in 2005. At Inventages, he invests in innovative start-up and buy-out companies in the fields of prevention, nutrition, pharmaceutical and wellness. He was formerly the Chief Financial Officer of Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage company, where he had a successful 30 year career. He grew through international management positions in different countries, culminating in 5 years as global Chief Financial Officer, 2001-2005.

Advisory Board

Dr. Bruno Vellas

Professor Vellas (MD, PhD) is currently Chairman of the Toulouse Gerontopole,  Chief of the Department of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at the Toulouse University Hospital, and Chief of Alzheimer's Disease Clinical Research Centre, University of Toulouse and member of INSERM (National Institute of Medical Research) 1027 Unit on Aging. He is also Past-President of the IAGG (International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics). Professor Vellas obtained his medical degree (MD) and PhD from the University Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, and for more than 20 years now he has been involved in large trial on  Alzheimer's disease and on Frailty. Professor Vellas has published over 637 articles in the field and specialy on Alzheimer's and disease modifying treatment, Frailty, Sarcopenia Research. B Vellas is the founder of the E.A.D.C. (European Alzheimer's Disease Consortium)

Dr. Jeffrey Cummings

Jeffrey L. Cummings, MD, ScD, is Director, Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Nevada and Cleveland, Ohio.  He is the Camille and Larry Ruvo Chair of the Neurological Institute of Cleveland Clinic and Professor of Medicine (Neurology), Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Cummings is Principal Investigator/Director of the NIH/NIGMS-funded Center for Neurodegeneration and Translational Neuroscience. Dr. Cummings was formerly Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at UCLA, director of the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA, and director of the Deane F. Johnson Center for Neurotherapeutics at UCLA. Dr. Cummings has authored or edited 39 books and published over 700 peer-reviewed papers. Dr. Cummings is interested in clinical trials, developing new therapies for brain diseases, and the interface of neuroscience and society.

Dr. Martin Farlow

Dr. Farlow is Professor and Vice Chairman of Research, Department of Neurology at Indiana Alzheimer Disease Center. Dr. Farlow has been involved in research and clinical care of patients with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer disease (AD) and other dementing conditions, for almost 30 years. Dr. Farlow has published in both clinical and basic science areas of AD and related dementias with emphasis on investigational drug trials, molecular genetics, and biological markers for AD. He has been the Clinical Core Leader of the Indiana ADC since its inception in 1991 and prior to that time he was Director of the Center for Alzheimer's disease and related Disorders. Dr. Farlow serves as Vice Chairman for Research in the Department of Neurology. He is a member of the Indiana Governor's Task Force on AD and a frequent lecturer locally and nationally. Dr. Farlow is the Principal Investigator of the Indiana site of the AD Cooperative Study Unit investigating novel treatments of AD and the Alzheimer Disease Neuroimaging Initiative.

Dr. Michael Weiner

Dr. Weiner has been doing research for over 40 years and is the Principal Investigator of the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, a 10-year, national, longitudinal study of over 1500 subjects which is aimed at validating biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease. He has also launched BrainHealthRegistry.org which is an internet-based registry with the overall goal of accelerating development of effective treatments for brain diseases. This website registry recruits, screens, and longitudinally monitors brain function on thousands of subjects all over the United States. His overall research goals are to participate in the development of effective treatments and methods for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders. In 1980, Dr. Weiner was one of the first investigators to use nuclear magnetic resonance to investigate the metabolism of organs inside a living animal. This technique subsequently became magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). In 1988, his group used MRS to show that the amino acid, N-acetylaspartate (NAA), a marker of healthy nerve cells, is reduced in the epileptic focus in the brain. This marker is now used to help identify the epileptic focus prior to surgery in epilepsy patients. In 2004, Dr. Weiner’s group reported that reduced NAA predicts development of Alzheimer’s disease in mildly impaired elderly subjects. They have also demonstrated that brain blood flow is reduced in Alzheimer’s disease and in patients with mild impairment. Dr. Weiner has over 700 published articles. In 2006, Dr. Weiner received the William S. Middleton Award, the highest scientific honor bestowed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2010, he was named one of the “Rock Stars of Science”. He also received the Gold Medal of Paul Sabatier University and the City of Toulouse, France. In 2011, he received the Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Award from the Alzheimer’s Association. In 2012, he received the Potamkin Award from the American Academy of Neurology and the American Brain Foundation.

Partners

  • Alzheimer’s Association
  • Cornell Weill School of Medicine
  • David Geffen School of Medicine
  • INC Research
  • Inventages
  • Mount Sinai Hospital
  • MS Society
  • Nestlé Health Science
  • Nestlé Purina Corporate
  • POSCO
  • PsychoGenics
  • Rettsyndrome.org
  • University of Miami

Latest News

04
May

Accera Appoints Dr. Judith Walker as Chief Medical Officer

– Dr. Walker takes the clinical leadership role in Accera’s Phase 3 Alzheimer’s disease program – BOULDER, Colo., May...
28
Feb

Accera Announces Results of its First Phase 3 Study in Mild-to-Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease

-Bioavailability of the drug was suboptimal- -New drug formulation addressing bioavailability has been developed and Accera is now finalizing...
30
Nov

Beyond the Failed Beta Amyloid Hypothesis

Accera’s Senior Medical Advisor, Michael Gold, M.D., to Moderate with Presentations by Russell Swerdlow, M.D., and Eugenia Trushina, Ph.D....
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