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Daniel J. Abrams, M.D., CEO

Dr. Abrams is the Chief Executive Officer and a Member of the Board of Directors of Cerebral Therapeutics™.  Prior to founding Cerebral Therapeutics™, Dr. Abrams founded Sierra Neuropharmaceuticals, Inc.; raising $21.5 million in Series A venture capital.  Dr. Abrams has practiced as a neurosurgeon and a psychiatrist and served as head of the Department of Neurosurgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Denver.  Dr. Abrams’ expertise with implantable CNS infusion pumps, experience in cerebrospinal fluid drug delivery and in the use and development of CNS pharmaceutics makes him well suited to lead Cerebral Therapeutics™ development of implantable infusion systemic medications for patients with severe medically refractory epilepsy.


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John Foster, President and Chief Operating Officer

John Foster brings to his role as Cerebral Therapeutics President and Chief Operating Officer more than 30 years of executive management experience developing and leading to market specialty pharmaceuticals and drug-device combination products. Mr. Foster was previously founder and CEO of CNS Therapeutics (sold to Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals in 2012), a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing and marketing intrathecal drugs for neurological disorders and pain. He has also served in key management positions at Restore Medical (which held an IPO in 2006 and was acquired by Medtronic in 2008), Advanced Respiratory, Medtronic’s Neuromodulation business, and Genentech. Currently, he serves as Chairman of Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare and serves on the Board of Directors for both SpineThera and NTF Therapeutics.


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Lisa Shafer Ph.D., Chief Science Officer

Dr Lisa Shafer is the Chief Scientific Officer of Cerebral Therapeutics™. Dr. Shafer’s technical and leadership experience in R&D, strategy, and business development spans medical device, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Prior to joining Cerebral Therapeutics™, Dr. Shafer served in R&D leadership positions at start-up, mid-size and large global pharmaceutical companies. Prior to joining the pharmaceutical side, Dr. Shafer spent over 10 years in the medical device industry. While at Medtronic Dr. Shafer held various roles in new ventures, drug-device combination product development, neuromodulation research, and management. Dr Shafer’s foundational research and leadership resulted in seminal publications regarding mechanistic, proof of concept and clinical evidence for a portfolio of translational and clinical research programs to advance brain targeted drug delivery. Dr. Shafer began her career at 3M in the Pharmaceutical and Drug Delivery Division and holds a B.S in Genetics and Cell Biology and a PhD in Neuroimmunology. 


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Eric Distad, Vice President of Clinical Development

Mr. Distad comes to Cerebral Therapeutics™ as Vice President of Clinical Development with over 24 years’ experience in medical device and combination product clinical development. Mr. Distad has been responsible for the development and management of over forty (40) IDE studies from protocol development through final submission to regulatory authorities.  He has focused on Class III devices and drug-device combination products in the therapeutic areas of movement disorders and epilepsy.  Prior to joining Cerebral Therapeutics™, Mr. Distad’s experience included Global Program Management at Medtronic in the Cardiac Rhythm Management and Neuromodulation Divisions, start-up and early commercial orthopedic companies, as well as leadership roles at two large Clinical Research Organizations within their Global Medical Device and Combination Product Divisions. In addition, Mr. Distad has served as in advisory positions for Medical Technology Angel Funding groups, International Medical Device and Combination Product Regulatory Panels and Therapeutic Advisory Panels.