Ron Cohen, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, founded Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. in 1995. Previously he was a principal in the startup and an officer of Advanced Tissue Sciences, Inc., a biotechnology company engaged in the growth of human organ tissues for transplantation. Dr. Cohen received his B.A. with honors in Psychology from Princeton University, and his M.D. from the Columbia College of Physicians & Surgeons. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia Medical Center, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine.
Dr. Cohen previously served as Chair of the Board of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), as Chair of the Emerging Companies Section of the BIO Board, and as Director and Chair of the New York Biotechnology Association (NYBA).He currently serves on the Board of Directors of VBL Therapeutics. Dr. Cohen was awarded Columbia University’s Alumni Medal for Distinguished Service.
Dr. Cohen was named NeuroInvestment’s (now called NeuroPerspective) CEO of the Year 2010 and was recognized by PharmaVoice Magazine in 2009 as one of the 100 Most Inspirational People in the Biopharmaceutical Industry. He is a recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the New York Metropolitan Region and is an inductee of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association’s “Spinal Cord Injury Hall of Fame.” In 2010, Dr. Cohen was recognized by the New York Biotechnology Association as the NYBA “The Cure Starts Here” Business Leader of the Year and was named by MM&M/PR Week as one of the top 50 health influencers of 2017.
Burkhard Blank, M.D. has been Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at Acorda since July 2016. In January 2016, Dr. Blank was engaged by the Company to assume chief medical officer responsibilities on an interim basis.
Dr. Blank’s primary responsibilities include: setting strategy for and execution of development programs from clinical trials through regulatory filings; oversight of post-marketing studies for approved products; and management of the Company’s medical affairs, clinical operations, regulatory affairs, drug safety and biostatistics departments.
Dr. Blank has more than 25 years of industry experience, and previously served as CMO for several biopharmaceutical companies, including Boehringer Ingelheim (BI). While at BI, he oversaw the submission of five New Drug Applications (NDAs) and had direct responsibility for all aspects of presenting at two U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Advisory Committee Meetings; subsequently, all five NDAs received FDA approval.
Dr. Blank has also served as a strategic advisor to several biotechnology companies, leading the submission process for multiple Investigational Drug Applications (INDs), successfully developing protocols for clinical trial programs, and overseeing communications with regulatory agencies.
Dr. Blank received his medical degree from Universitaet Marburg, Germany. He is board-certified in Germany in internal medicine.
Andrew R. Blight, Ph.D., has been Chief Scientific Officer at Acorda since January 2004. He served as Executive Vice President, Research and Development, from 2000 to 2004, and Vice President from 1998 to 2000. Before joining Acorda, Dr. Blight spent approximately six years as Professor and Director of the Neurosurgery Research Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He held prior academic positions at Purdue University and New York University.
Dr. Blight is a leader in spinal cord injury (SCI) pathophysiology research and has made several important contributions to the field, particularly on the role of demyelination in SCI. He also pioneered the therapeutic application of 4-AP in SCI animal models and in human clinical trials.
Dr. Blight is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Neurotrauma and has served as a member of the Neurological Sciences and Disorders-A (NSDA) review committee at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He was previously Secretary, Treasurer and Vice President of the National Neurotrauma Society.
Dr. Blight received his B.S. in Zoology and his Ph.D. in Zoology/Neurobiology from the University of Bristol, U.K.
Kerry Clem has been the Chief Commercial Officer at Acorda since September 2021. He joined Acorda in January 2011 as VP of Sales, and most recently was Executive Vice President of Sales, Market Access, and Commercial Operations. Before joining Acorda, Mr. Clem was Vice President of Sales at Allos Therapeutics, Inc. where he built the organization’s inaugural sales force to launch their first commercially available product. Mr. Clem also served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Solstice Neurosciences, Inc. Mr. Clem has over 20 years of sales and marketing experience in the areas of neurology, oncology, movement disorders, cardiology, anesthesiology and pain. Over the span of his career he has been involved in the development of commercial organizations and multiple product launches. Mr. Clem holds a B.S. degree from Florida State University.
Denise Duca, Ed.M. has been Executive Vice President of Human Resources at Acorda since January 2015. She has held leadership positions of increasing responsibility in our HR department since 2002.
Ms. Duca received her B.A. in Professional Studies from Pace University, and an M.A. and Ed.M. in Psychological Counseling from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has also been a doctoral candidate in the Organization and Leadership Department at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Andrew Mayer, J.D., has been Senior Vice President since May 2019, Deputy General Counsel since November 2019, and Corporate Secretary since January 2020. Mr. Mayer is head of Acorda’s Legal department and works closely with our CEO and Board of Directors on corporate governance matters. Prior to his current role, since joining Acorda in 2010 Mr. Mayer held various positions of increasing responsibility in the Legal department, focusing on his core areas of expertise including public disclosure, corporate governance, executive compensation, strategic transactions, and corporate finance, and taking on additional responsibilities overseeing employment, real estate, information technology, manufacturing and supply and other matters.
Mr. Mayer’s legal career has spanned three decades. Prior to joining Acorda, he was a corporate lawyer for more than nine years at Applied Biosystems/Celera Genomics, an NYSE-listed company which was the leading worldwide provider of genetic analysis products and the first company to sequence a complete human genome. In this role, Mr. Mayer was responsible for public disclosure, executive compensation, mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance transactions, among other matters. Mr. Mayer also played a key role in corporate governance, leading to his appointment by the board as Assistant Secretary. Prior to that, for almost 10 years, he worked in the corporate law department at Paul Hastings, a leading international law firm, handling a wide array of M&A, joint venture, investment, finance, commercial and other transactions. During his tenure at Paul Hastings, Mr. Mayer gained additional experience during secondments to firm clients, including a position at General Electric’s headquarters handling mergers and acquisitions.
Mr. Mayer received his B.S. in Computer Science from Duke University, and his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.
Lauren Sabella has been Chief Operations Officer at Acorda since September, 2021, with responsibility for Strategic Planning, Business Operations, Technical Operations, Information Technology, and Quality. Ms. Sabella joined Acorda in 2010 as Executive Vice President of Commercial Development, with responsibility for the commercial launch of Ampyra, and became Chief Commercial Officer at Acorda in February 2015.
Before joining Acorda, Ms. Sabella was the Founder and Principal of Tugboat Consulting Group, an independent consulting practice assisting companies in the commercialization process. Ms. Sabella also served as Corporate Officer and Vice President of Commercial Development at Altus Pharmaceuticals, with responsibility for all aspects of commercialization. Prior to joining Altus, Ms. Sabella was employed by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals for 18 years in positions of increasing responsibility. In her last role, she served as Vice President of Sales, Eastern Zone, where she led the successful sales launch of Spiriva® (tiotropium bromide) and ran both Primary Care and Specialty Divisions, including Neurology, Urology and Cardio/Pulmonary. Prior to this role, she had over ten years of marketing experience where she led several product launches including Mobic® (meloxicam), an NSAID which became a $1 billion brand. Ms. Sabella holds a B.B.A. from Hofstra University.
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Acorda has acquired Biotie Therapies. We invite you to explore www.acorda.com to learn more about our company, including our continued development of BIotie clinical programs for tozadenant, SYN120 and BTT1023. Information regarding transfers of value made to healthcare professionals and healthcare organizations in connection with Biotie’s clinical development programs is also available.