Alan Nelson, PhD, is the founder, Chairman and CEO of VisionGate, Inc., founder and Chairman of Nortis, Inc., founder and President of the Predictive Health Analytics Institute (PHAIT), and the former Executive Director of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University where he also served as full professor of Bioengineering and of Physics. He holds an appointment as an Associate Member of the Arizona Cancer Center with the University of Arizona.
In 2001, he founded VisionGate to develop groundbreaking technology for lung cancer screening using a non-invasive sputum test analyzed on a new device called the Cell-CT, the world’s first isotropic-resolution 3D microscope, addressing the world’s number one cancer killer. The Cell-CT test for lung cancer is now in clinical studies; thus far demonstrating sensitivity in excess of 92% at a corresponding specificity of 99.98%. This breakthrough technology has the potential to save tens of millions of lives after being globalized.
Previously, Dr. Nelson was the founder, President and CEO of NeoPath, Inc., a company dedicated to eradicating cervical cancer by inventing and developing the FocalPoint. This product received landmark FDA Class III PMA approval and remains the only FDA approved device for automated diagnosis of cancer without a human. NeoPath went public in 1996, and was later sold to Becton Dickinson to globalize the technology that is now standard of care throughout the world and is credited with saving over 100,000 women’s lives.
Dr. Nelson was on the tenured faculty at UW where he directed the graduate Medical Imaging Program. Before joining UW, he was an associate professor appointed jointly at MIT and Harvard where he held the W.M. Keck Foundation endowed chair and directed the graduate Radiological Sciences Program.
Dr. Nelson’s background reflects parallel corporate and academic paths, with the push from university towards technology commercialization and the pull from industry for business success. He has decades of senior executive experience in the leadership, management and accountability of large complex programs, using professional project management, and he is certified in quality systems regulations, including ISO-9001 and FDA QSRs and GMP. He brings an in-depth knowledge and experience in translational work and clinical trials for FDA 510(k) and Class III PMA clearances. He is trained in financial accounting, and his companies have passed rigorous government audits with high marks. Furthermore, in the States of Washington and Arizona, Dr. Nelson changed the State Ethics Law and re-wrote the State Intellectual Property Policy, respectively, to facilitate more streamlined and successful technology transfer.
Dr. Nelson has a long track record of bringing university-based discoveries to market as well as leading research, managing development, securing significant funding, inventing, and clinical translation within academia. He is both a seasoned entrepreneur, having created four companies, and tenured full professor. This dual experience career path has allowed Dr. Nelson to gain a uniquely broad perspective and deep experience on issues affecting commercialization and economic development.
Dr. Nelson holds 145 issued patents and has published 120 peer-reviewed papers in the field of biomedical imaging. He received his PhD in Physics/Biophysics from the University of California, Berkeley. He is driven to have impact.