BOSTON, April 10, 2014 – Tal Medical, Inc., a clinical-stage company developing breakthrough treatments for psychiatric diseases, has added two industry veterans to its leadership team. Jan Skvarka has joined as the company’s President, CEO and member of the Board of Directors, and Ben Shapiro, MD as a member of the Board of Directors.
Jan Skvarka is joining Tal after spending 14 years with Bain and Company, a leading global management consultancy. As one of Bain’s leading partners in the company’s Healthcare Practice, he advised senior executives of medical device and pharmaceutical companies on issues of strategy and operations, as well as entering and building new businesses. Prior to Bain, he worked with Price Waterhouse Corporate Finance in M&A and capital raising. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Ben Shapiro, MD is a Senior Partner and Chairman of the Board at PureTech Ventures, a leading healthcare venture creation company. Prior to PureTech, Dr. Shapiro spent 13 years with Merck, most recently as EVP, Worldwide Licensing and External Research, and prior to that as EVP, Basic Research. In his role at Merck, he led research programs resulting in FDA registration of about 25 drugs and vaccines. Previously, he was Professor and Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Washington. He received his MD from Jefferson Medical College.
Steve Paul, MD, Tal’s Chairman of the Board and previous acting CEO, is moving into an Executive Chairman role, to further play a hands-on role in the company’s management and capital raising efforts. Dr. Paul is former head of R&D at Eli Lilly, which under his direction developed some of the most successful CNS drugs/medications, incl. Zyprexa® and Cymbalta®. Previously, he served as Scientific Director of the National Institutes of Mental Health. Andrew Miller, PhD, will continue in his role as Tal’s COO. Dr. Miller is also a Principal at PureTech, where he has helped launch several innovative healthcare companies.
“We are very excited to have Mr. Skvarka and Dr. Shapiro join us at Tal” said Dr. Paul. “After recently publishing encouraging human proof-of-concept data, our low-field magnetic stimulation (LFMS) technology has also been selected by the NIMH for their RAPID treatment program evaluating novel rapidly-acting anti-depressant treatments. We are now at a point that we are ready to accelerate our path towards pivotal clinical trials and commercialization. Mr. Skvarka and Dr. Shapiro are industry visionaries, who are bringing to Tal a wealth of expertise in medical devices, neuroscience and in building new, innovative businesses with revolutionary clinical and commercial potential”, added Dr. Paul.
Last year, Tal received proof-of-concept data from a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial in patients with major depressive and bipolar disorders at the McLean hospital, a leading psychiatric research hospital. The data indicate an anti-depressant response within minutes of patients receiving a single 20-minute LFMS treatment. Given this unique, rapid effect of LFMS treatment, the NIMH has selected LFMS for a multi-site clinical trial led by Maurizio Fava, MD, Director of the Clinical Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and a world-renowned researcher in psychiatric disorders. The trial will examine the efficacy and durability of LFMS treatment over an extended period of time in patients with major depressive disorder. The need for rapidly acting treatments in depression patients is one of the key unmet clinical needs in the disorder, where anti-depressant drugs typically take 4-6 weeks until the onset of action.
About Tal Medical
Tal Medical, Inc. (www.talmedical.com) is a privately-held, Boston-based medical device company pursuing the development of low-field magnetic stimulation (LFMS) for the treatment of depression and other neuropsychiatric disorders. LFMS is a first-in-class, non-invasive, neuromodulation technology. Tal's table-top LFMS device works through a completely novel mechanism of action compared to any existing depression treatment. LFMS uses an external electromagnetic coil to apply a time-varying magnetic field to the brain, which induces a time-varying electrical field. LFMS uses electric fields that are orders of magnitude lower than those in existing neuromodulation technologies electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). Tal was founded in 2010 by PureTech (www.puretechhealth.com), in conjunction with leading scientists in the fields of depression and neuromodulation. The LFMS technology was licensed from McLean Hospital.