Akili adds Google, Cubist vets and more digital health hires and departures

By Jonah Comstock
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PureTech Health subsidiary Akili Labs, which is working with pharma companies on health-oriented games like Project Evo, a video game for assessing and treating ADHD, has added some big names to its executive board. Former Cubist Pharmaceuticals CEO Robert J. Perez will move from advisor to executive chairman of Akili, while former DreamWorks Interactive CEO Glenn Entis, and former Chief Game Designer at Google Noah Falstein, have signed on as executive advisors.

“We’re extremely excited to have Rob join us as Executive Chairman. He brings experience in developing disruptive business models and a strategic leadership approach that will be critical to the growth of our company,” Eddie Martucci, Akili’s President and CEO, said in a statement. “Along with Glenn and Noah’s experience and passion for building leading creative businesses, we’re continuing to bring onboard top leaders to help make therapeutically-active digital medicine a reality for many patients.”

Daily Burn, the New York-based purveyor of online fitness classes, has a new CEO. Tricia Han will replace cofounder Andy Smith, who has served in the role for the past 10 years. Smith will stay on as a special advisor.

Han comes over from Dotdash, formerly About.com, where she served as Chief Product Officer. Both Daily Burn and Dotdash are operating businesses of IAC (Daily Burn was acquired in 2010).

"On demand fitness services are surging as more consumers gravitate toward boutique and personalized experiences, and Daily Burn is a clear leader in this growing market," Han said in a statement. "But the opportunity is much bigger than streaming video: in the US we spend $117 billion per year on health issues directly correlated to inactivity. With an accessible brand, fiercely loyal following and sticky product, Daily Burn has the potential to become a premiere holistic health and wellness platform that helps our customers live better lives.”

Fred Muench, the director of Northwell Health’s Digital Health Interventions in Psychiatry and a digital health researcher whose work has frequently been featured in MobiHealthNews, has been named CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, a national nonprofit that supports parents of substance abusers. He was previously involved with the nonprofit as director of research. He will replace Marcia Lee Taylor, who is stepping down for personal reasons into the role of Chief Policy Officer.

"I am so grateful and excited to be joining the Partnership team to help meet the needs of families struggling with addiction,” Muench said in a statement. "I look forward to expanding the impact and reach of our services using the latest research and science-based approaches to those in greatest need."

Solera Health, which runs a marketplace of preventative services such as diabetes prevention programs, has made two new executive appointments, hiring Brian Esterly as chief operating officer and promoting Joel Meyer to chief technology officer. Meyer was formerly Solera’s vice president product and technology.

“Both Brian and Joel have proven track records of success in their respective areas of expertise and we are thrilled to welcome them both to the Solera Health executive team,” CEO Brenda Schmidt said in a statement. “I believe their complementary backgrounds, skillsets and talents will put us in an even stronger position to deliver on our mission of transforming the chronic disease prevention and management delivery model as we know it today.”

At-home health testing platform BioIQ has hired Madhu Kota as its new chief information officer and senior vice president of technology development. Kota has a strong background in tech at companies like Fiserv, PegaSystems, and CompuCredit.

"Madhu brings a strong technology background and intense client focus to his new role," CEO Justin Bellante said in a statement. "His strong record of IT innovation and leadership experience will enable us to develop new products that create value for our clients and positively impact more lives.”

Avalon Healthcare Solutions, a Tampa-based startup focused on tech-enabled laboratory benefit management, has hired two new C-suite executives: Chief Growth Officer Barry Davis and Chief Operating Officer Shantha Diaz. Both have health insurance backgrounds — Davis was most recently at UnitedHealth Group’s OptumRx business and Diaz was COO at Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island.

"We are thrilled to welcome Barry and Shantha to the Avalon team. They are exceptional leaders with outstanding track records serving health care payers and their members and providers," Dr. Bill Kerr, Avalon's CEO, said in a statement. "Barry and Shantha are joining us at a most exciting time in our company's evolution as we experience significant growth and increasing adoption of our industry-leading approach to managing higher quality and more efficient lab testing.”

NeuroMetrix, the company developing the Quell wearable for pain management, has promoted Dr. Xuan Kong from SVP of Research and Intellectual Property to Chief Data Scientist.

"Chronic pain is a complex biopsychosocial condition that requires a customized treatment approach. Our vision is to leverage the unique data assets we are collecting in the Quell Health Cloud to deliver personalized pain relief for our customers," Dr. Shai N. Gozani, president and CEO of NeuroMetrix, said in a statement. "I am looking forward to Xuan’s leadership in executing on this vision with his deep technical and product development expertise.”Nike Benassi "Just Do It." White/Silver