Alzamend Neuro’s mission is to support innovative research and product development to treat and cure Alzheimer’s Disease, providing hope, and getting therapeutics to market at a reasonable cost as quickly as possible. The burden of this disease, which is the nation’s 6th leading cause of death, falls upon both caregivers and patients alike: Alzheimer’s impacts more than 5.8 million sufferers, plus more than 16 million unpaid caregivers, who provide an estimated $244 billion in 2019. Costs are projected to rise to over $1.1 trillion by 2050 if adequate treatments or cures are not found.
Alzamend Neuro ® is currently focused on two therapies that they believe could profoundly reduce or eliminate symptoms and other endpoints for mild to moderate stage progression. They have licensed both a patented mutant-peptide immunotherapeutic (AL002) for use as a treatment or vaccine, and a lithium-based ionic cocrystal therapy (AL001) that may greatly reduce or eliminate symptoms and other endpoints for mild to moderate stage patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Milton “Todd” Ault, III founded Alzamend Neuro, Inc., a biotechnology firm dedicated to finding the treatment, prevention, and cure for Alzheimer’s, on February 26, 2016, and has served as the Executive Chairman since November 2, 2018, and as Chairman since inception. Mr. Ault is a seasoned business professional and entrepreneur who has spent more than 27 years identifying value in various financial markets including equities, fixed income, commodities, and real estate. He is Chairman and CEO of DPW Holdings Inc; has served as Chairman of Ault & Company, a holding company, since December 2015; and is Chairman of Avalanche International dba MTIX International Inc., a publicly-traded company, since September 2014. Since January 2011, Mr. Ault has been the Vice President of Business Development for MCKEA Holdings, LLC, a family office. He has consulted for both publicly traded and privately held companies, which range from the development stage to seasoned businesses, providing each of them the benefit of his diversified experience.
Stephan Jackman was born in Guyana, on the Caribbean coast of South America. He emigrated to the United States at the age of 13, later attending college at Stevens Institute of Technology, where he acquired a Master of Science in Management, and a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering. After over two decades of experience in multiple industries, with a focus on biotech, Mr. Jackman began working for Alzamend on November 1, 2018. He has played an integral role in the development of therapeutic treatments, products, and programs from the research stage to market and commercialization. Mr. Jackman has demonstrated a dedicated dual focus of creating value for internal and external stakeholders while developing strategic alliances and cross-functional teams to meet and exceed goals. He has held positions of increasing responsibility at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, L’Oréal USA, SBM Management Services, and Family Intervention Services. Prior to joining Alzamend Neuro, Mr. Jackman was the Chief Operating Officer of Ennaid Therapeutics, an emerging biopharmaceutical company focusing on cures for mosquito-borne infectious diseases, such as Zika and Dengue viruses. Additionally, he has been an independent project and management consultant, assisting start-ups, Fortune 500 companies, and nonprofits with major strategic initiatives.
LASM: Stephan, can you tell me a little bit about your journey in the medical industry and in joining this company?
Stephan Jackman: I have over two decades of multi-industry experience, specializing in Biotech and Pharmaceutical. I was working with the CRO of a biotech company, who was also working with Alzamend, and he said, “You have to meet this guy, Todd, he’s fantastic.” He shared with me [that] Todd’s family was affected by Alzheimer’s; his wife’s mom died of it and his father has it. He pointed out to me, “It is a great cause,” and something that I could marry my skills of bringing a drug into market and my philanthropic interests. He then organized a call for us to speak. When I joined, I was overjoyed; it was exactly what I wanted to be doing, what I should be doing with my life: Alzheimer’s is a catastrophic disease that I knew I really should do something about.
LASM: How long have you been in the company to date?
Stephan Jackman: I joined at the end of 2018, and since then we have moved our products through preclinical—the first product, which is a lithium cocrystal, and the second drug is the immunotherapeutic vaccine. So the first drug, AL001, is meant for agitation for patients with Alzheimer’s, so as to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s; and the second drug, AL002, is an immunotherapeutic vaccine that can potentially be the cure for Alzheimer’s. Based on our preclinical studies, four months after one inoculation, it was still pretty active in the immune system. So, we anticipated this could potentially be a prophylactic or preventative for Alzheimer’s as well.
LASM: Can you tell us about your personal experiences with Alzheimer’s?
Todd Ault: My father has Alzheimer’s right now, he’s 72-years-old. I’m watching my father die from it, it’s really quite traumatic; and my mother-in-law lived with us when she passed away from it. My father’s sister has it right now. My grandparents died from it. Their parents died from it. It’s just pretty prevalent on my father’s side.
I had founded a company called Patient Safety Technologies, which ultimately got sold to Stryker about nine years later for about 120 million dollars. It was a class two laser that read into the sterile field to prevent sponges from being left behind in the body, and now it’s a standard of care in almost every hospital in the United States. So, I had a mild amount of credibility when I called [University of South Florida] and told [Dr. Chuanhai Cao] that I wanted to license their drug–[I saw] him on TV with Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN and I called him the next day on the phone, and that’s how it happened. I was actually sitting with my 15-year-old daughter at the time, and I told her, “I want to do something that has some meaning;” and it just dawned on me after I saw that program, talking about [how] there had been no progress in Alzheimer’s in a hundred years since it was discovered by Dr. Alzheimer. So, I just said to her, “Your dad’s going to try to cure Alzheimer’s,” which was insanity at the time.
It’s funny, if you would’ve asked me a couple years ago, I would have said, I want to run a holding company and work on Wall Street and take over other companies, which is really what I’ve done most of my career. But when your father first gets diagnosed with AD, you’re like, “Oh, you’ll be fine. It’ll take a while.” Recently, [however,] he thought I was stuck in the mirror and he was trying to go underneath the sink to get me out of the mirror. It’s a really weird experience.
So, if you’re a believer in divine intervention, I’m sure being led down the path that everywhere I go leads to trying to solve the Alzheimer’s problem. Stephan believes we’re going to solve the problem. So, I sit with Stephan for dinner every month. We have dinner with my wife and he tells me all the progress we’re making.
When I was first interviewing Stephan to become the CEO of the company, Stephan said to me, “Maybe you should be the CEO and I’ll be the president, because there’s no Black CEOs of biotech and no one’s going to fund a Black man being the CEO;” and I got really upset with him about it, and I thought it was outrageous to hear– [but] no, he was serious. And I said, “Well, we’re going to do this together. You and I, and you are going to be the CEO.” If you spend any time with him, he is the most to-the-point guy I’ve ever met. He’s able to deliver a bad message to someone in a good way; you hug the guy as he fires you.
LASM: That’s remarkable. You just focus on the facts, Stephan?
Stephan Jackman: I was speaking to a doctor in Beverly Hills and wanted to recruit him to join our board of directors; and I said, “Look, the greatest thing about what we’re doing: science is all based on facts.” I have an engineering degree, based on mechanical engineering and nuclear power plant designs. I said, “Look, I love math. I love science. Everything is based on facts. Let me send you the information on our drugs. You read it for yourself and then call me back.” So, I called him like once a week for about six weeks – he didn’t get a chance to review it. Then finally last week, I spoke to him after three months, and he said, “Oh, my God, this is amazing. I want to join your board. When can we meet? You have a Nobel-winning drug on your hands.”
LASM: Being an African American man in your position, how have you overcome adversity?
Stephan Jackman: I think, well, Todd and I had a very cerebral moment. I think it was great. I like to be honest with people, and I told him, I said, “Look, this is something that we’re going to face. I faced it before: You do the work, you’re not going to get the credit.” And I said, “In raising funds for a biotech, it’s just standard. You are going to meet people who will not give you money based on the color of your skin.” I’m going to turn 45 this year. It’s something I’ve faced my entire life in this country; and this is just something that you pretty much have to ignore and focus on the task at hand, which is to get these drugs through the clinic and to the patients who so desperately need them.
I, for one, I looked and I listened to Todd’s story, and it’s extremely emotional for me. And every time I speak to my mom on the phone, who’s turning 71, as she repeats a story, I’m like, “Oh, my God, does she have it? Will she get it?” When I speak to my dad, it’s just kind of the same thing. They’re get- ting up there in age, and I think about that; and I said, “Oh, my God, we really need to get something as soon as possible.”
When I first took on the position working with Alzamend and I met Todd’s dad last year, we sat down and had a conversation in November, 2018. And then when I saw him again in August, 2019, he didn’t recognize me. He was just walking around following his wife, Todd’s mom, around the office, and it’s like watching a little duckling. He knew that this is the person that feeds me and takes care of me. That’s all I know, so I can’t speak to strangers or anyone else. It’s just one of those things: eyes on the prize. There are going to be a lot of people who aren’t confident in my skills or who are going to judge me based on just the color of my skin. It is just something that I [have experienced] my entire existence in the United States. So you just have to brush it off and keep focusing on those who are willing to help.
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ARTICLE SPONSORED BY ALZAMEND NEURO, INC.