Alan Nelson, PhD, is the founder, Chairman and CEO of VisionGate, Inc., founder of Nortis, Inc., co-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 Physics. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.
Dr. Nelson founded VisionGate to develop technology for lung cancer interception using a non-invasive sputum liquid-biopsy analysed on the breakthrough AI-driven Cell-CT platform that he and his team invented; it is world’s first isotropic-resolution 3D microscope for single cell analysis. The Cell-CT test for lung cancer, called LuCED, has demonstrated sensitivity in excess of 92% for early stage lung cancer with corresponding high specificity. LuCED also detects the pre-cancer condition called bronchial dysplasia. The company is in clinical development with a chemoprevention drug called iloprost that prevents the advance of dysplasia to cancer, as demonstrated in a successful phase 2 clinical study. VisionGate’s technology is covered by 177 issued patents in 13 countries.
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 approvals and remains the only FDA approved device for automated diagnosis of cancer without a pathologist. NeoPath went public in 1996 and was later sold to Becton Dickinson to globalize the technology that has become 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 the University of Washington 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 research and development programs, and he is certified in quality systems regulations, including ISO-9001, FDA QSR and GMP. He brings an in-depth knowledge and experience in translational work and clinical trials for FDA 510(k) and Class III PMA for diagnostic devices and, and IND for new drugs in cancer prevention. He is experienced 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. He is both a seasoned serial 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 in the healthcare industry.
Dr. Nelson has published 100 peer-reviewed papers in the field of biomedical imaging. He received his PhD in Physics/Biophysics from the University of California, Berkeley.