Tal Medical is a clinical stage medical device company pioneering the development of a novel, non-contact, neuromodulation device, for the treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders. Tal has exclusively licensed a portfolio of issued and pending patents for Low Field Magnetic Stimulation (LFMS), a technology pioneered at McLean Hospital. Tal Medical is initially focusing on the development of LFMS for the treatment of major depressive disorder and bipolar depression.
LFMS has the potential to be a breakthrough treatment for depression and has demonstrated a rapid (within minutes) antidepressant effect in two sham-controlled clinical trials in major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder patients. Both indications represent large unmet clinical needs in which the current standard of care require weeks to months of treatment before clinically meaningful efficacy is observed, if patients respond at all. Large scale clinical trials indicate that about one third or less of patients will have a satisfactory respond to a given treatment course with existing antidepressant medications.
Tal Medical is based in Boston and was founded in 2010 by PureTech in conjunction with a leading group of neuroscientists and clinicians.
Tal Medical is pursuing the development of a Low Field Magnetic Stimulation (LFMS) device. LFMS is a novel, non-invasive, non-contact, neuromodulation technique. Both clinical and preclinical data indicate that LFMS has the potential to be a rapidly-acting antidepressant treatment with therapeutic onset within minutes of treatment.
LFMS uses an electromagnetic coil external to the body to apply a time-varying magnetic field which induces a time-varying electric field in the brain. The electric field associated with LFMS is significantly different than the electric field of currently marketed neuromodulation techniques such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). In both ECT and rTMS, neurons are directly depolarized by the electric field - the applied electric field is directly causing neuronal firing. In LFMS, the electric field strength is below the threshold required for neuronal firing. A sham-controlled neuroimaging study with LFMS indicated an immediate physiological response to LFMS treatment in the form of decreased glucose utilization. This result is in contrast to published studies with rTMS and ECT, which indicate these techniques lead to increased glucose utilization.
Patients treated with LFMS report no physical sensation associated with treatment. Importantly, this technique allows for robust double-blind clinical trials since neither patients nor device operators have an indication of the treatment status.
Caution - The Tal Medical LFMS device is an investigation device and is limited by United States Federal law to investigational use.
our team & advisors
Jan Skvarka, PhD
President & CEO, Board Member
Dr. Skvarka joined Tal Medical in 2014, with the goal of accelerating Tal’s path toward pivotal trials and commercialization. Prior to Tal, he spent 14 years with Bain and Company, Boston, most recently as a leading partner in the firm’s Healthcare Practice. In his role, he advised senior executives of medical device and pharmaceutical clients on issues related to strategy, performance improvement and corporate development. In the more recent years, his focus was increasingly on entering and building new businesses in life sciences, including assessing new opportunities, developing business plans, and supporting scale-up and implementation. Prior to Bain, Dr. Skvarka worked with Price Waterhouse Corporate Finance in London and Vienna, focusing on M&A and capital raising.
Dr. Skvarka authored multiple publications on healthcare and financing topics, and speaks at industry conferences as an expert on life sciences businesses.
Dr. Skvarka received an MBA from Harvard Business School, Boston, a PhD in economics from University of Economics, Slovakia, and is a Certified Accountant in Austria.
Eric Elenko, PhD
Co-Founder, Board Member
Dr. Elenko is a Partner at PureTech Health. Prior to joining PureTech, Dr. Elenko was a consultant with McKinsey & Company where he advised senior executives of both Fortune 500 and specialty pharmaceutical companies on a range of issues such as product licensing, mergers and acquisitions, R&D strategy, and marketing. Some of his projects at McKinsey included working on a multi-billion dollar merger, crafting a brand strategy for a blockbuster drug, and recommending both pre-clinical and approved products for licensing.
Dr. Elenko did graduate work in molecular pharmacology and cell biology that resulted in several peer reviewed papers and was the recipient of NIH training grants.
While a graduate student, Dr. Elenko started and served as President of the Technology Evaluation Group, LLC which performed technical due diligence for angel investors in early stage life science companies.
Dr. Elenko received his BA in Biology from Swarthmore College and his PhD in Biomedical Sciences from University of California, San Diego.
Maurizio Fava, MD
Dr. Fava is a world leader in psychopharmacology and clinical research in mood disorders. Currently, Dr. Fava is the Executive Vice Chair for the MGH Department of Psychiatry; Executive Director, MGH Clinical Trials Network and Institute (CTNI); Director, MGH Depression Clinical and Research Program (DCRP) and Slater Family Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Fava has authored or co-authored more than 600 original articles published in medical journals with international circulation, and was a co-Principal Investigator on the STAR*D study, the seminal study of the effectiveness of current generation antidepressant interventions. He has also edited eight books, and published more than 50 chapters and 500 abstracts. Dr. Fava is also a well-known national and international speaker, having given more than 250 presentations at national and international meetings. He serves as an advisor through the MGH CTNI.
Mark George, MD
Dr. Mark George is a world expert in brain stimulation and depression. Currently, Dr. George is Layton McCurdy Endowed Chair, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, Radiology and Neuroscience, and Director of the Brain Stimulation Laboratory at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. George is the editor-in-chief of Brain Stimulation: Basic, Translation and Clinical Research in Neuromodulation.
In 2009 US News and World Report named him one of 14 ‘medical pioneers who are not holding back’. He is on several editorial review boards and NIH study sections, has published over 400 scientific articles or book chapters, and has written or edited 6 books. He has been awarded numerious internation awards including the NARSAD Klerman Award (2000), NARSAD Falcone Award (2008) and the Lifetime Achievement Award (2007) given by the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP). Dr. George was an early pioneer in neuromodulation.
Andrew Miller, PhD
Dr. Miller is a co-founder and COO of Tal Medical. Dr. Miller is also Principal and Vice President at PureTech and a co-founder and Board Member of Karuna Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Miller has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from MIT where his work focused on polymer biomaterials and he was awarded the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship. Dr. Miller received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Steve Paul, MD
Co-Founder, Chairman, Scientific Advisor
Dr. Paul is a world renowned psychiatrist, neuroscientist and drug developer. Steve is the former president of the Lilly Research Laboratories of Eli Lilly and Company. During Steve’s 17 year tenure at Eli Lilly, he held several key leadership position and in his most recent role, he was responsible for the company's overall research and development efforts - helping to expand Lilly's R&D efforts in oncology and biotechnology - resulting in a pipeline of approximately 70 new molecular entities. During Steve time at Lilly, Lilly launched some of the most successful psychiatric drugs of all time including the current market leading antidepressant, Cymbalta, which was developed under Steve direction. Prior to Lilly, Steve served as Scientific Director of the National Institute of Mental Health. He has also served as Medical Director in the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service. Steve is currently the Director of the Helen & Robert Appel Institute for Alzheimer's Research at Weill Cornell Medical College and a Venture Partner at Third Rock Ventures.
Steve has been the recipient of many awards and honors and has served on numerous committees and advisory boards. He has also authored or co-authored over 500 papers and book chapters has recently been appointed to the Science Board of the FDA. Steve is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Steve board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
Robert Post, MD
Dr. Post is a Professor of Psychiatry at George Washington University School of Medicine and Head of the Bipolar Collaborative Network in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Post was Chief of the Biological Psychiatry Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health for many of his 36 years at the NIMH. Dr. Post serves on the editorial boards of over ten journals and has published more than 975 scientific manuscripts. His group was the first in the US to document the antimanic effects of the anticonvulsant carbamazepine and the effects of high versus low frequency rTMS in depression.
Dr. Post wrote: “Treatment of Bipolar Illness: A Casebook for Clinicians and Patients”, and is the editor of the newsletter: www.bipolarnews.org.
Ben Shapiro, MD
Co-Founder, Board Member
Dr. Shapiro is a Senior Partner and Chairman of the Board at PureTech Health. He was previously Executive Vice President, Worldwide Licensing and External Research for Merck. He joined Merck Research Laboratories in 1990 as Executive Vice President, Basic Research. In this position he was responsible for all basic and preclinical research activities at Merck worldwide. Dr. Shapiro led the research program that resulted in FDA registration of approximately 25 drugs and vaccines. From 1999-2003 Shapiro oversaw all in-licensing activities for Merck. Previously, he was Professor and Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Washington.
He is the author of over 120 papers on the molecular regulation of cellular behavior and the biochemical events that integrate the cascade of cellular activations at fertilization. He has served on many institutional advisory boards and scientific review panels, and is currently a member of the board of various life science companies, including VBL, Celera, Momenta, Elixir, Satori, and Ikaria. He also sits on the boards of the Drugs for Neglected Disease Initiative and the Mind and Life Institute. Dr. Shapiro received his MD from Jefferson Medical College.
Co-Founder, Board Member
Daphne Zohar is the founder and managing partner of PureTech, a technology development company tackling tomorrow’s biggest healthcare challenges.
Ms. Zohar was recognized by Fierce Biotech as one of the “Top 10 Women in Biotech,” BioWorld as one of 28 leaders predicted to be the “movers and shakers” of the biotechnology industry over the next twenty years, and by the Boston Globe as one of the “Top 15 Innovators.”
A successful entrepreneur, Ms. Zohar created PureTech and assembled a leading team to help implement her vision for the firm. She sits on the Boards of Directors of PureTech, Enlight (a cross disciplinary consortium of leading healthcare and pharma companies), Follica Inc., Akili Interactive Labs, Vedanta Bioscience, Mandara Sciences, Karuna Pharmaceuticals, and Tal Medical.
She also sits on the Technology Development Fund Advisory Board at Children’s Hospital Boston and is an Editorial Advisor to Xconomy, a national technology news blog.
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