NEW YORK, Feb. 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), a leading nonprofit solely focused on accelerating the development of drugs for Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, announced today a significant expansion of its leadership team with the hiring of Karen Bettauer Harris as chief financial officer and Dr. Mark S. Forman as senior director of drug development.
The two newly created positions reflect the ADDF's growth as it advances its mission to conquer Alzheimer's disease. Harris will report to Mark Roithmayr, chief executive officer of the ADDF, and Dr. Forman will report to Dr. Howard Fillit, founding executive director and chief science officer of the ADDF.
"Today, we support a diverse, robust portfolio of over 40 drug trials spanning all phases of clinical development. Alzheimer's research is progressing at the fastest pace ever and these new hires will help the ADDF evaluate, engage and invest in even more cutting-edge research to help find meaningful treatments and cures," said Dr. Fillit.
Dr. Forman Brings Unique Background in Biopharmaceutical Industry and Academia
A neuropathologist and neuroscientist, Dr. Mark S. Forman has a track record of leadership in both the biopharmaceutical industry and academia. Dr. Forman will provide scientific leadership and strategic direction, overseeing the ADDF's core drug development portfolio, which currently supports over 40 active preclinical and clinical research programs at leading medical institutions and biotech companies. He will also work with the Chief Science Officer to provide strategic direction and facilitate the formation of interdisciplinary drug development teams.
Dr. Forman joins the ADDF from Acadia Pharmaceuticals, where he served as Vice President and Head of Translational Medicine, contributing to the development of a treatment for hallucinations and delusions associated with dementia-related psychosis. He also spent 12 years at Merck as Executive Director and Neuroscience Lead in Translational Medicine, responsible for their neuroscience portfolio in early clinical development, including the development of more than 20 novel therapeutics.
Before his time in the biopharmaceutical industry, Dr. Forman was an Assistant Professor of Pathology at the University of Pennsylvania, where his research focused on the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disease, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). His work has earned him several awards, including the 2012 PhRMA Research and Hope Award. He received his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine and doctorate in immunology from Rockefeller University.
Harris Adds Finance and Investment Expertise
A senior finance executive, Karen Bettauer Harris brings extensive nonprofit and investment banking experience to her role as Chief Financial Officer. She will lead the ADDF's financial administration and policy, budgeting, and business planning, working closely with the Board, Treasurers and the Finance and Audit Committee. She comes to the ADDF from East Harlem Tutorial Program, where she oversaw all areas of finance, audit financial planning, and reporting. During her tenure at Merrill Lynch, she primarily focused on biotech industries and the healthcare sector. Harris received her MBA in Finance from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BA in Economics from Columbia University.
"We are thrilled to welcome Karen and Mark to the ADDF," said Roithmayr. "The creation of these new roles signals the great successes the ADDF has achieved as a result of our research investments in recent years. With the ADDF's venture philanthropy model, when drugs we have supported move into the next exciting phase of development, we get a return on our investment which we then re-invest in research to boost the next great idea. Their expertise will be a huge asset as we continue to see our investments pay off and move closer to a cure."
About the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF)
Founded in 1998 by Leonard A. and Ronald S. Lauder, the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation is dedicated to rapidly accelerating the discovery of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer's disease. The ADDF is the only public charity solely focused on funding the development of drugs for Alzheimer's, employing a venture philanthropy model to support research in academia and the biotech industry. Through the generosity of its donors, the ADDF has awarded more than $168 million to fund over 650 Alzheimer's drug discovery and biomarker programs and clinical trials in 19 countries. To learn more, please visit: http://www.alzdiscovery.org/.