ALS Therapy Development Institute Adds Two Board Members  
5/2/2013 7:50:58 AM

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 2, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) announced today that it has added two members to its board of directors: Robert Sepucha Jr. and Michael M. Smith. The Institute's board grows to include 14 members with deep ties to the ALS community, academic research, philanthropy and pharmaceutical development.


Robert Sepucha Jr. is senior vice president, policy and business development for Fresenius Medical Care North America. Prior to joining Fresenius, Sepucha served as general counsel for the Massachusetts Life Science Center, as well as chief of staff and senior policy advisor to Congressman Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN), where he was the Congressman's primary advisor on legislative strategy, political activities, media strategy and legal issues.

Sepucha has been involved with ALS TDI since 2009, following his father's ALS diagnosis. He has been active in a number of fundraising programs, most recently servicing as host committee member of ALS TDI's "A White Coat Affair."

"We are thrilled to have Bobby join our board. He brings with him important experiences and insights that will help us accelerate our research programs in meaningful ways. He shares our passion for seeing ALS eradicated," says Steve Perrin, Ph.D., CEO and CSO of ALS TDI.

Michael M. Smith is president of B.T. Loftus Ranches, Inc., a family-owned farming and orchard operation in Washington's Yakima Valley. He is also founder, director and former president of Yakima Chief, Inc., an international hops sales organization.

Smith and his wife, Cheryl Hanses Smith, have been supporters of ALS-focused organizations for many years, funding both patient services and research efforts. The Hanses family has the inherited form of ALS, and there are three family members currently battling the disease. Recently, they worked with ALS TDI to develop the "Ales for ALS" program, a unique craft brewery-based fundraising initiative created to fund drug development at ALS TDI.

"Mike and his family are completely devoted to seeing an end to ALS. Having the Smiths on our board adds new depth and will help us continue to find new ways to more important drug development efforts forward for patients today," says Perrin.

Additional biographical information is available online:

About ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI)
The mission of the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) is to develop effective therapeutics that slow or stop amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease) as soon as possible for patients today. Focused on meeting this urgent unmet medical need, ALS TDI executes a robust target discovery program, while simultaneously operating the world's largest efforts to preclinically determine the efficacy of potential therapeutics; including a pipeline of dozens of small molecules, protein biologics, gene therapies and cell-based constructs. The world's first nonprofit biotech institute, ALS TDI employs 30 professional scientists and evaluates dozens of potential therapeutics each year and is currently executing a Phase 2A clinical trial of TDI-132 (Novartis' Gilenya®) in ALS patients. Built by and for patients, the Cambridge, Massachusetts based research institute collaborates with leaders in both academia and industry to accelerate ALS therapeutic development, including Biogen Idec, UCB, the Gladstone Institutes, MDA and RGK Foundation. For more information, please visit us online at

Media Contact: Mari Sullivan, ALS TDI,, 617-441-7220

SOURCE ALS Therapy Development Institute

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