Acumen discovers and develops targeted therapies for the safe and effective treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related neurodegenerative diseases. Our founders pioneered seminal discoveries and methods to understand the role of toxic amyloid-beta oligomers (Aβo) in synaptic dysfunction and neurodegeneration. These early insights have fostered decades of research on the biology of Aβo at Acumen and throughout the field. We are now on the on cusp of realizing the therapeutic potential of Aβo targeted drugs.

ACU193 Lead Candidate

Acumen and Merck & Co., through an eight-year research collaboration, produced our lead drug candidate, ACU193, for which Acumen holds exclusive rights. Extensive pre-clinical research demonstrates ACU193 selectively targets Aβo with a favorable safety profile and efficacy. We expect to initiate clinical trials for ACU193 in 2020 as the first monoclonal antibody therapeutic that selectively targets Aβo in Alzheimer’s patients.

Venture and NIH Backing

Acumen has recently closed on a $15 million Series A-1 round from PBM Capital Group, Sands Capital Ventures and private investors. The funding will allow us to complete ACU193 CMC and GLP safety testing requirements and obtain an Investigational New Drug Application (IND). The preclinical and early clinical development of ACU193 is also funded through a $3.6 million U01 grant from the National Institute of Aging.


Team


Acumen is led by a highly experienced team of Alzheimer’s therapy developers, neuroscientists and industry professionals, including former senior members of Eli Lilly’s Global Alzheimer’s Platform.

Daniel O’Connell, Chief Executive Officer

Dan O’Connell has over 20 years of venture creation, venture investment and start-up operations experience with a focus on Neurosciences. He has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Acumen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. since December 2014. Mr. O’Connell previously co-founded and served as CEO of Functional NeuroModulation Ltd. (FNM), a company developing deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapies for Alzheimer’s. At FNM, he led company formation, secured funding of $13.4 million, established a strategic partnership, and recruited an experienced clinical operations team. Under his leadership, FNM initiated and completed enrollment for the ADvance Study, a randomized Phase 2 study of DBS in early AD. Mr. O’Connell is a founding member and managing partner of NeuroVentures, a firm he helped establish in 2001. He earned a BA from Brown University and MBA from the University of Virginia.

Daniel O'Connell

Chief Executive Officer

Eric Siemers, Chief Medical Officer

Eric Siemers, MD, has more than 25 years experience overseeing clinical trials of neurodegenerative disease and joined Acumen as Chief Medical Officer in 2018. He joined Eli Lilly and Company in 1998 and was responsible for several clinical trials for Alzheimer’s compounds, including five phase III studies as well as phase I and II studies. Prior to Lilly, Dr. Siemers founded the Indiana University Movement Disorder Clinic, where his research included Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease. Dr. Siemers served on the NIA/Alzheimer’s Association working group that proposed new research nomenclature for Alzheimer’s disease utilizing biomarkers and clinical symptoms. He was a founding member of the Alzheimer’s Association Research Roundtable and was on the steering committee for the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Dr. Siemers earned his MD from the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Eric Siemers

Chief Medical Officer

Russell Barton, IND & Clinical Operations Leader

Russell Barton joined Acumen in early 2019, after having served as COO of Eli Lilly and Company’s Global Alzheimer’s Disease Platform Team for 10 years. Mr. Barton has extensive operational experience in Alzheimer’s drug development. With almost 40 years at Lilly, Mr. Barton moved from chemist in discovery research to more than 25 years in operations leadership roles, primarily in neuroscience, resulting in multiple New Molecular Entity, New Indication, and Line Extension registration submissions. He was an active participant in the design and startup of the Global Alzheimer’s Platform (GAP), which was developed through a collaboration between the Global CEO initiative on Alzheimer’s disease and the New York Academy of Sciences. Mr. Barton received a BS in chemistry from Illinois State University and an MS in chemistry from Purdue University.

Russell Barton

IND & Clinical Operations Leader

Kent Iverson, CMC Leader

Kent Iverson has more than 30 years of experience in biopharmaceutical analytical development, process development, and manufacturing. He has served as the CMC leader for Acumen since 2013. Prior to becoming a biologics CMC consultant in 2001, Mr. Iverson was vice president of process development at Corixa Corporation and vice president of manufacturing at Coulter Pharmaceutical, Inc., while supporting the commercialization of Bexxar™. Earlier in his career he participated in the development of Genentech’s Protropin™ and Activase™, and Immunex’s Leukine™ and Enbrel™. As an independent consultant Mr. Iverson has supported CMC development from preclinical stage to post-registration stage for clients in the North America, the EU, and the Asia/Pacific regions. He holds a BS in fermentation science from the University of California at Davis.

Kent Iverson

CMC Leader

Robert A Dean, PhD, MD, IND Team Leader, Director of Clinical Operations

Robert A. Dean, PhD, MD, served 21 years as a clinical research pathologist and director of diagnostics and experimental medicine at Eli Lilly and Company. He supported clinical drug development through the use of biomarkers for safety assessment and to explore target engagement, pharmacology, pathophysiology and therapeutic tailoring. His work supported numerous drug development programs for cardiovascular, endocrine, oncological, psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders with emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease. Prior to joining Lilly, Dr. Dean served as director of chemical pathology at Indiana University School of Medicine. He completed a doctorate in toxicology/pharmacology at Indiana and medical training at Indiana University, University of Vermont and the Mayo Clinic.

Robert A Dean, PhD, MD

Sr. Technical Advisor, Biomarkers and Analytical Methods

Jasna Jerecic, PhD, Director Analytical Methods

Jasna Jerecic, PhD, is an expert in technology transfer required for analytical development and validation for all CMC, toxicology and pharmacokinetic studies. Dr. Jerecic joined Acumen in 2003, where in collaboration with the Merck & Co. team, she developed neuronal screening assays that were critical to the identification and characterization of several highly efficacious anti-oligomer antibodies for Acumen’s drug discovery. She manages preclinical efficacy efforts and academic research collaborations for the advancement of ACU193. In addition, Dr Jerecic has successfully transferred and developed analytical assays for the characterization and quality control of monoclonal antibodies to industry partners. She received her PhD in molecular biology at the Max- Planck Institute for Medical Research and BA in biology and English from the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

Jasna Jerecic, PhD

Director Analytical Methods

Janice Hitchcock, PhD,Head of Regulatory Affairs

Janice Hitchcock, PhD, has extensive experience in regulatory affairs and drug development, with over 25 years in the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Hitchcock joined Acumen in 2018 to lead regulatory strategy for ACU193. She was previously at Eli Lilly and Company for 17 years, where she was regulatory affairs director responsible for drug development programs and supported several public-private collaborations in Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Hitchcock received two Lilly Research President’s Awards: one for establishing regulatory recommendations for development of biologics, and the other for engaging external stakeholders on Alzheimer’s regulatory policy. She was also named one of Lilly’s top 100 Innovators for her contributions to the first clinical trial in preclinical Alzheimer’s. She received her PhD in Psychology from Yale University, and headed a behavioral pharmacology laboratory for 10 years at Hoechst Marion Roussel/Aventis. Dr. Hitchcock is also co-author of several patents.

Janice Hitchcock, PhD

Head of Regulatory Affairs

Kathlene Powell, Head of Quality Systems

Kathlene Powell has 30 years of experience in quality assurance and quality control management. She has held related management positions at Genentech, Covance Biotechnology Services, Inc. and Raptor Pharmaceutical, Inc. As chief quality officer at Raptor, she led the quality team in developing and implementing systems to support the development and global commercialization of a drug product therapy for an orphan disease. In a consulting capacity, Ms. Powell has served as the acting head of quality functions in numerous organizations covering development through commercial manufacturing operations. She holds a BA degree in chemistry from Doane College and a MS degree in biochemistry from University of Missouri.

Kathlene Powell

Head of Quality Systems

Jerry Moore, Nonclinical Development Leader

Jerry has more than 35 years of experience in biotechnology product development. He cofounded Pacific BioDevelopment in 1996 and serves as the vice president of pharmacology and pharmacokinetics. Mr. Moore has contributed to more than ten approved products and has helped move several others into late stage development by performing pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic modeling and nonclinical program design. Prior to consulting, he spent four years at Celtix Pharmaceuticals and eleven years at Genentech following seven years in academic research at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories and Stanford University. Mr. Moore holds a BS in Microbiology and an MS in Neurobiology from Purdue University.

Jerry Moore

Nonclinical Development Leader

 

Board of Directors


Joe Andrasko is managing partner and chief investment officer of Fry’s Path Capital, a private investment partnership that makes direct investments in private operating businesses and allocates capital to third-party investment managers across a broad range of asset classes. Prior to Fry’s Path, Mr. Andrasko served as director of investments for Murray Enterprises LLC, a single family office, where he oversaw the firm’s portfolio of outside investment funds and led direct investments in healthcare, technology, and real estate opportunities. Previously he was a management consultant in Deloitte’s strategy and operations practice and a founding member of Sustainable Development Capital, an investment partnership focused on early-stage private equity investments in sub-Saharan Africa. Joe received an AB in economics and Spanish from Bowdoin College and an MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He is an adjunct professor at Darden teaching decision analysis and applied security analysis.

Joseph Andrasko

Jeffrey L. Ives, PhD, is a partner with New Leaf Venture Partners and an entrepreneur and CEO with over 30 years of experience building successful research organizations and delivering important new clinical candidates and products. He serves as an independent director on several biotechnology companies and consults with industry, reviewing ongoing internal programs, identifying new research programs and external collaborations, and performing scientific due diligences for clients in medicinal chemistry, drug metabolism and preclinical development.

From 2008 until 2013, Dr. Ives served as the CEO of Satori Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a company focused on Alzheimer’s disease. Prior to Satori, he served as senior vice president at Pfizer, leading the neurodegenerative diseases, psychiatry and pain research areas. Dr. Ives received his doctorate and master degrees from Yale University and received his BA from Colgate University.

Jeffrey L. Ives, PhD

Grant Krafft, PhD, is a co-founder of Acumen and currently serves as chief scientific adviser. Prior to forming Acumen, Dr. Krafft was research professor of molecular pharmacology and biological chemistry at Northwestern University Medical School, where he and his colleagues discovered Amyloid-beta Derived Dementing Ligands (ADDLs). Dr. Krafft also served as director of research development for the ENH Research Institute. Previously, Dr. Krafft was chief technical officer of Tibotec-Virco, a HIV therapeutics and pharmacogenomics company, and a Volwiler Research Fellow at Abbott Laboratories in its diagnostics and pharmaceutical products divisions.

Dr. Krafft holds a BS in chemistry from Valparaiso University, and a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is an author on more than 75 scientific papers and a co-inventor on more than 20 issued and pending patents.

Grant Krafft, PhD

Dan O’Connell has over 20 years of venture creation, venture investment and start-up operations experience with a focus on Neurosciences. He has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Acumen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. since December 2014. Mr. O’Connell previously co-founded and served as CEO of Functional NeuroModulation Ltd. (FNM), a company developing deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapies for Alzheimer’s. At FNM, he led company formation, secured funding of $13.4 million, established a strategic partnership, and recruited an experienced clinical operations team. Under his leadership, FNM initiated and completed enrollment for the ADvance Study, a randomized Phase 2 study of DBS in early AD. Mr. O’Connell is a founding member and managing partner of NeuroVentures, a firm he helped establish in 2001. He earned a BA from Brown University and MBA from the University of Virginia.

Daniel O'Connell

Jeffrey Sevigny, MD, brings more than 15 years of industry neuroscience clinical research experience to Acumen. He is currently chief medical officer of Prevail Therapeutics, developing a pipeline of gene therapies for Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative disorders, and was recently Chairman of the Alzheimer’s Association Research Roundtable. Dr. Sevigny joined Prevail from F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, where he was Vice President and Global Head of Translational Medicine Neuroscience. Prior to Roche, he was Senior Director of Clinical Development at Biogen, where he led the development of the company’s early and late stage neurodegeneration portfolio. Before that, he held positions at Novartis AG and Merck & Co. Earlier in his career, Dr. Sevigny held academic appointments as Assistant Professor of Neurology at Albert Einstein School of Medicine and Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Dr. Sevigny earned his MD from Tufts University School of Medicine and an AB in biochemistry from Bowdoin College. He completed a neurology residency at the Neurological Institute of New York at Columbia University Medical Center and a fellowship in Aging & Dementia and Neuro-Epidemiology at Sergievsky Center at Columbia University and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

Jeffrey Sevigny, MD

Sean Stalfort is president of the PBM Capital Group where he sources and structures new investment opportunities, oversees many of the healthcare portfolio companies and serves on the board of directors for Dova Pharmaceuticals, Verrica Pharmaceuticals, Xalud Therapeutics, and Quantapore, Inc. Prior to joining PBM Capital, he was the executive vice president for new business development/M&A for PBM Products where he managed new growth opportunities internationally as well as various capital market activities through the sale of the company to Perrigo Corporation for over $800 million. Mr. Stalfort is also a founding partner of Octagon Partners and Octagon Finance. Previously, he was a founding principal and senior vice president of capital markets with Enterprise Mortgage, a vice president in Greenwich Capital’s Asset-Backed Finance Group where he structured over $2 billion in various securitized transactions. Mr. Stalfort graduated from Brown University with a BA in business economics and political science.

Sean Stalfort

Stephen Zachary, PhD, is a principal at Sands Capital, where he identifies, assesses, and monitors investments in the life sciences sector. He serves on the boards of Day Zero Diagnostics, DiCE Molecues, Mitra Biotech and nanoView Diagnostics. He also is a Kauffman Fellow, class of 2023. Prior to joining Sands Capital, he received his PhD in neuroscience from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Zachary was awarded an NIH Fellowship and completed an externship in biotech equity research with T. Rowe Price. He attended Columbia University for his postbaccalaureate studies and received a BA in philosophy from Washington & Lee University.

Stephen Zachary, PhD


Clinical & Scientific Advisors


Jeffery Cummings, MD

Cleveland Clinic

Steven DeKosky, MD

University of Florida

William Klein, PhD

Northwestern University
Co-Founder, Acumen

Stephen Salloway, MD, MS 

Brown University, Butler 

Jeffrey Sevigny, MD

Prevail Therapeutics, Inc