Workshop: Commercializing a Novel Therapeutic Target for Alzheimer’s Disease

Saturday, July 13, 2019
1 – 5 p.m.
Intercontinental Los Angeles Downtown Hotel, Hollywood Room


Academic scientists have an important and growing role in the translation of novel targets into potential therapeutics, a vital step in the quest to develop effective therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease. This workshop will address key challenges academic scientists face when attempting to commercialize their science: from identifying when science is ready for translation to overcoming key challenges involved in becoming an entrepreneur starting a new company (NewCo). Some scientists don’t want to become entrepreneurs per se but still need to understand how to de-risk an idea to attract external investment as well as the different paths to commercialization. Considerations for licensing to an existing company versus building a NewCo will be discussed.

Much of the workshop will focus on key considerations and challenges when pursuing the path toward building a NewCo. Panelists will outline 10 important challenges facing inexperienced entrepreneurs and illustrate these challenges with concrete examples from their direct experiences as biotech venture investors.

The session will focus on: avoiding red flags that cripple entrepreneurs in the investor due diligence process; highlighting common management problems that plague first-time company founders; and identifying common reasons for failure other than negative readouts from pre-clinical or clinical trials.

The workshop will include an introduction to the relevant nomenclature associated with entrepreneurship and draw important distinctions between the roles of angel investors, professional venture capitalists, philanthropic foundations and other sources of startup funding. It will also focus on issues including: team building within a startup; the tension between management control and scientific control of a company; the meaning and implications of fiduciary duty; and the constructive or destructive role that boards of directors can play in emerging companies.

The format of the workshop will consist of a conversation between Pascal Levensohn, managing director of Dolby Family Ventures, and Stacie Weninger, president of FBRI. Deanna Belsky, an associate at Dolby Family Ventures, will moderate. The workshop will conclude with a moderated Q&A session.

Program Chairs



  1. When is your science ready to translate from academia to industry?
  2. Different approaches to commercialization: Licensing to an existing company vs. building a NewCo
  3. Challenges to consider when building a NewCo: 10 questions to answer before committing to commercialization
  4. Open Q&A moderated by Deanna Belsky


Workshops come with separate registration fees in addition to AAIC full conference registration. Workshops can also be purchased as stand-alone events. Registration for this workshop opened in February.

Call for Abstracts

Our Scientific Program Committee is accepting abstracts for poster presentations, oral sessions and featured research sessions until January 27. Need more time? Become an ISTAART member and extend your deadline until January 31.


Join the Conversation #AAIC20






> 1200px
> 992px
> 768px
< 767px