As Altoida prepares to launch a clinical study that will hopefully make a strong case for FDA clearance for its Alzheimer’s disease-predicting technology, the company has tapped a new chief executive to lead the way.
Taking the helm is Marc Jones, who will also join Altoida’s board of directors, the tech developer announced this week. He’s replacing Antonella Santuccione Chadha, M.D.—Altoida’s first-ever chief medical officer—who’d served as interim CEO since previous leader Travis Bond’s tenure ended at the start of this year.
“We are thrilled that Marc is joining Altoida as CEO, as the company transitions from clinical proof-of-concept to its commercial expansion phase,” William Moffitt, chairman of Altoida’s board, said in the announcement. “Marc is a visionary executive with a proven track record of successfully guiding healthcare companies through important commercial milestones. He brings invaluable diagnostic industry experience and an extensive history of operational success.”
Jones’ two-decade-long career includes several stints as a chief financial officer, including at the now Twitter-owned Crashlytics, infusion system maker Ivenix, which was acquired by Fresenius Kabi last year, and diagnostics developer T2 Biosystems.
More recently, he spent about two years as both CFO and chief operating officer at Good Start Genetics, a women’s health-focused testmaker that was bought by Invitae in 2017, then another four years, up until early 2022, as CFO and COO of Binx Health, which is developing on-demand PCR testing technology.
“A groundbreaking revolution is sweeping through the diagnostics industry, propelled by cutting-edge technologies driven by machine learning. These technologies have the potential to revolutionize drug development in neurological clinical trials along with treatment and care for individuals affected by neurological diseases,” Jones said in Altoida’s announcement.
“With the emergence of digital biomarkers, we can unlock previously inaccessible data and gain real-time actionable insights,” he continued. “This presents an immense opportunity to harness these innovative technology solutions for new research and clinical applications, and I look forward to leading the Altoida team through its next stage of growth.”
Altoida’s platform is aimed at catching cases of Alzheimer’s disease while it’s still in the earliest stages of development. The testing starts with a 10-minute assessment that users can complete on a smartphone or tablet. Using augmented reality technology, it asks them to conduct a series of virtual tasks, such as hiding and relocating virtual items and rehearse the process of a fire evacuation.
Throughout the testing, the platform tracks changes in the user’s gait, voice and hand and eye movements. Altoida’s machine learning algorithms then use those data to predict the likelihood that an individual’s mild cognitive impairment will escalate into Alzheimer’s within the next year—forecasts that were proven in a 2021 study to be 94% accurate.
The system has already received the FDA’s breakthrough device designation. Next up, as Chadha told Fierce Medtech for Altoida’s Fierce 15 profile earlier this year, the company is planning to launch a clinical trial of the technology, the results of which will “hopefully” earn it an FDA clearance.