Akili Interactive Labs announced the appointment of former Cubist Pharmaceuticals CEO, Robert J. Perez, as executive chairman. 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, Ph.D., 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, Perez was CEO of Cubist Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Merck for $9.5 billion. Prior to joining Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Perez served as vice president of Biogen's CNS Business Unit where he was responsible for leading the U.S. neurology franchise. 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 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, 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), Entis joined the gaming giant and went on to become their chief visual and technology officer. Prior to joining DreamWorks, 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. 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 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. 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, 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 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."