WHO WE ARE
Appian Partners have added significant value to companies by successfully pioneering, launching, and growing pharmaceutical brands, medical devices, diagnostic technologies, and mHealth apps to improve disease detection and management.
Michael J. Thomas
Founder and Chairman
Michael Thomas has over 23 years of experience in the healthcare industry in various executive leadership positions. Currently, he is the President and CEO of Appian Partners, healthcare advisors focused on strategy development and implementation for medical device and healthcare services firms ranging in size from early stage startup to Fortune 50 global conglomerates. Additionally, he is CEO of Regear Life Sciences LLC, where he is working to re-invent deep heat pain management with a direct-to-consumer, wearable diathermy device.
Previously, Mr. Thomas was CEO of iSonea Limited, a Melbourne, Australia based, publicly traded (ASX:ISN) respiratory medical device firm focusing on technology and smartphone app development for home asthma monitoring. Within eighteen months, the company’s market capitalization increased 6,200% from $4MM to $245MM. He raised $25MM from new and existing investors; drafted and implemented a new, long-term mobile health strategy; reduced monthly cash burn by 40%; reduced headcount from approximately 40 FTEs to 12; and hired a new executive team with extensive medical device development and launch experience. Mr. Thomas led iSonea to launch the world’s first asthma mHealth monitoring tool and smartphone app in Australia and secured FDA 510k OTC clearance for the asthma medical device to monitor wheezing.
Formerly, he was President and CEO of Sleep Solutions Inc. (now NovaSom Inc.), a venture capital-backed medical device manufacturer and national healthcare service provider. He raised over $50MM in venture capital funding to develop and launch a new industry in the $5 billion Sleep Medicine market. He successfully lobbied the largest Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to alter their medical policy and approve reimbursement for in-home sleep apnea diagnostic testing services.
Mr. Thomas was also a member of the Board of Directors for AdvaMed, the world’s largest and most prestigious medical device association. While a BOD member for AdvaMed, he participated in the successful renegotiation with the FDA for the MEDUFMA II legislation (the FDA’s regulatory approval process for medical devices), with leaders on Capitol Hill regarding the Remote Monitoring legislation, and sat on the BOD sub-committee for International Affairs.
Earlier he was Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for National Sleep Technologies Inc. (NST). As an executive and Board member, he identified and closed 12 acquisitions representing over 80 sleep labs, which led to NST becoming the largest U.S. sleep-testing company at that time. He helped create the first national brand in the highly fragmented sleep apnea diagnostic lab testing market. He recruited and managed a sales and marketing team that achieved a sales growth rate that was 2 times greater than the industry average for four consecutive years, and helped to raise over $15MM in venture capital financing.
As the Vice President of Sales for Patient InfoSystems, Inc., (NASDAQ: PATI) a healthcare IT start-up developing disease management programs, he was instrumental in taking the company public within two years. Previously, he held various sales and marketing positions, including seven years with Merck and Glaxo Wellcome, and has earned numerous awards for sales and management achievements. Mr. Thomas graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology.
Michael Cheney, CEO
CMO – Medtech, Pharma, Biotech
Mr. Michael Cheney has over 30 years of experience as a strategic marketing ‘architect’ and leader for medical device, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology companies. He has spent a decade in neuropsychopharmacology, marketing pharmaceuticals to physicians, and has launched major market-shaping brands for Wyeth Laboratories and BASF/Knoll Pharmaceuticals. For six years, he was vice president of marketing and the international business unit at Cyberonics, Inc., a pioneer in neuro-stimulation therapy devices for CNS disorders such as epilepsy and treatment-resistant depression. He also has extensive experience in the respiratory care & sleep disordered breathing markets; he developed strategies to increase adoption of an innovative home sleep test and business model for the diagnosis of sleep apnea. Most recently, Mr. Cheney was vice president of marketing for iSonea Ltd, a pioneer in mobile health platforms for consumer monitoring and management of asthma. Mr. Cheney has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Jon Freudman, MD
Medical Director & Reimbursement
Jonathan Freudman has over twenty five years of experience in healthcare encompassing a wide range of clinical, administrative and business challenges. He established Freudman Healthcare Consulting LLC in 2002. His clients include venture capital, medical device and other biotechnology companies. Core competencies include planning and implementation of effective reimbursement strategies. Previously, Dr. Freudman managed Blue Shield of California’s Medical Policy Department. His responsibilities included new technology assessment, medical policy, disease management programs and clinical guideline development. He chaired the health plan’s Pharmacy and Therapeutics committee and served on the national Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) Medical Policy Committee. His career includes 16 years of the practice of general internal medicine at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Rafael, California. Administrative duties at this facility included Department Chief of Internal Medicine as well as the Medical Center’s Chief of Quality. He served on the Board of Directors of the Marin County Medical Society. Dr. Freudman is Board Certified in Internal Medicine with added qualification in Geriatrics. He is a Fellow in the American College of Physicians and is a graduate of the George Washington University School of Medicine He is a faculty member of University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine and a volunteer at the San Rafael RotoCare free clinic for the indigent.
Tom Hosford has over thirty years of information technology experience in a number of different industries, including over 10 years in healthcare. He began his career for Arthur Andersen Consulting in their healthcare practice and also spent another 8 years with a Mid-Atlantic consulting practice servicing healthcare as well as a number of other industries. As a corporate IT executive for a health care service provider, a health insurance organization, and a high tech manufacturer, he has built the IT function within start-ups, done strategic planning, and managed staff, projects and vendors. Functionally, his consulting experience centered on the implementation of custom and off-the-shelf applications. In more recent years as an IT executive, his experience and knowledge has expanded into infrastructure, network, and cloud computing. Tom brings a pragmatic approach to IT, understanding both the power and limitations of technology, and always looks at IT within the context of a total business solution, never forgetting business objectives, process, and people. He has B.A. and MBA degrees, plus extensive IT training and education.
J. Michael Pardo, MD
Clinical & Physician Practice Business Insight
Dr. Pardo is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He continued with his residency training at the University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore and completed his training in June, 2000. Board Certfication was obtained in 2001 from the American Board of Otolaryngology. Dr. Pardo is a native Annapolitan who maintains an academic appointment at the University of Maryland School of Medicine as a Clinical Assistant Professor in Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. Dr. Pardo is also the current Chief of Otolaryngology at the Anne Arundel Medical Center and was voted as one of the Top Docs of Annapolis by What’s Up Magazine.
Tracey A. Dodenhoff
Technology Licensing & Development
With deep experience in technology entrepreneurship, Tracey Dodenhoff brings hands-on commercialization experience to the Vanguard Technologies team. With a career encompassing manufacturing, product development, marketing and venture funding, Tracey’s acumen covers the continuum of the commercialization process. Through rigorous market analysis, she creates systems to exploit market opportunities, identifies early stage technologies that address specific market-driven needs, negotiates licenses, maps optimal product development strategies, secures funding and resources, and creates and implements business plans. She is the founder and/or co-founder of six companies in the biomedical, health and wellness, IT and green technology industries, and provides strategic direction to a portfolio of early stage start-up companies. In addition to Vanguard Technologies, Tracey provides technology licensing consulting services for yet2.com, the world’s largest technology transfer company. Tracey leads key client projects, deepens client relationships and spearheads new client acquisition. She also contributes to the strategy and management of relationships within the company’s international partner network. Before Vanguard, Tracey spearheaded the start-up and growth of the state-backed venture capital fund, the Slater Center for Design Innovation in Providence, RI. Under Tracey’s direction as Executive Director, the fund was able to invest in 12 companies in its first year, receiving a 30% increase in funding, and ultimately realizing an 11x return in portfolio valuation. Tracey’s prior positions include Product Development Manager at Butler Home Products, Marketing Program Manager at the Foxboro Company, and Commercialization Consultant at DM Creative Group. Tracey earned her MBA at Babson College, F.W. Olin Graduate Business School, her Master of Industrial Design at Pratt Institute, and her B.S. in Industrial Technology at Rhode Island College. She was the recipient of the R&D 100 in 2005, has advised and guest lectured for a variety of academic institutions including Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design, University of Rhode Island, and Boston University, and is a volunteer for the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship.
Andrew R. Lombardo, CPA, CVA
Accounting & Finance
For over 30 years Andy has been providing auditing, accounting, financial statement preparation, business valuation services, tax planning and management advisory services to business entities ranging in size from $100,000 to $100,000,000 in sales. Andy’s 12 years with Touche Ross & Co. (now Deloitte & Touche) and 11 years as Annapolis partner-in-charge of the regional firm of C.W. Amos & Company, LLC affords Lombardo Wagner Stitcher & Company, LLC clients the level and range of expertise smaller companies need and want. Andy is a Certified Valuation Analyst and a graduate of the Family Business Institute. Andy graduated from the University of Baltimore with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and has a Certificate in Accounting.
Dr. Shaila R. Aery
Public Affairs & Government Policy
Shaila Aery is a public affairs professional with thirty years of political and public policy experience. Dr. Aery specializes in providing clients with a combination of business and political campaign strategy necessary to succeed in the competitive public sector market. She serves Artemis’ energy, healthcare and technology clients in government relations, issues management and procurement strategies. Dr. Aery has well-established, bi-partisan relationships with political leaders throughout Maryland and the nation. She served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and as Maryland’s Secretary of Higher Education under former Governor William Schaefer. Dr. Aery came to Maryland after serving as Missouri Commissioner of Higher Education for two governors, current U.S. Senator Kit Bond and former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Clinical Research, Clinical & Regulatory Affairs
Valerie DePetrillo is the President of Gateway Biotech Consulting Inc. a consulting firm that specializes in Medical Device Clinical and Regulatory Affairs. Ms. DePetrillo has over 13 years of experience in the Medical Device arena with experience in Clinical Research, Regulatory and Quality affairs. Ms. DePetrillo has worked with small start-ups to medium sized medical device manufactures and brings extensive knowledge of the initiation and management of clinical trials under Good Clinical Practices, OHRP, GDP, and FDA regulatory requirements. As an Institutional Review Board non-affiliated, scientific member, she has extensive knowledge of IRBs and the protection of Human Subjects. She brings experience with the conceptualization, planning, design, and execution of clinical device trials including overall project management. Ms. DePetrillo has experience with complete management of clinical trials; development of materials; protocols, CRFs, Investigator & Institutional agreements, informed consents, site evaluations, initiations, monitoring and close-out visits. Experience with post trial writing allows assistance with publications; articles, posters, and abstracts writing for Industry and Physician sponsors.
Ms. DePetrillo has a vast understanding of Investigational Device Exemptions and experience with the preparation of IDE submissions and presentation of clinical trial objectives to FDA panels. She brings experience with domestic and international trials, both pre and post market, for international submission, CE mark and Shonin (Japan). Ms. DePetrillo has an understanding of MEDDEV requirements for literature and bridging trials. Ms. DePetrillo has trial experience in Cardivascular, Urology, Cancer, and Sleep disorders disciplines. Ms. Depetrillo holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Science and Master Degree in Business Administration.
Regulatory Affairs & Quality System Compliance
Michael Righter is a regulatory professional with extensive experience with FDA Class I and Class II medical device design and clearance in the United States and abroad. He has recently focused on clearance of mobile applications and at-home medical device solutions. He has also driven submissions for other international regulatory bodies to obtain legal marketing rights of software, systems and hardware. Mr. Righter maintains a watchful eye on corporate activities including Quality Management System compliance, and adherence to the various data privacy rules. He has a proven track record of successful interactions with FDA. Currently, Mr. Righter is Principal of Regulatory Affairs at his consulting firm, Righter Consulting Group, LLC, where he has engaged with several start-up to conglomerate sized companies to drive regulatory and quality system objectives. Previously, as Director of Regulatory Affairs at AliveCor, Inc., he stepped into a burgeoning mobile health market and overcame several hurdles facing the company, including regulatory clearance of one of the first mobile app based medical devices. He was also at the helm of Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance at iRhythm Technologies, Inc., where he led the charge for 5+ years. Mr. Righter holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Willamette School of Engineering at University of Portland with several regulatory and quality certifications.
Healthcare Communications, Operations & Public Affairs
Patricia Schiavone founded The Artemis Group, LLC in 2000 and is currently its Managing Partner. Ms. Schiavone served at the executive level in both management consulting and corporate management. She has over 25 years of experience working for and with Fortune 100 companies, as well as medium-sized businesses. As President of the Performance and Recognition Division of Jostens, Inc., a Fortune 500 company, she managed more than 800 employees at three manufacturing plants in the U.S. and Canada. Before leaving as Managing Principal of the New Jersey office of Mercer Consulting, a subsidiary of the Marsh & McLennan Companies, she had oversight of key practice areas in communication, healthcare, and pensions. She sat as part of the Sales Effectiveness Practice working on projects for global corporations. During her tenure as General Manager of Sales of Pan American Airways’ U.S. Division, Pat oversaw a major component of the response to the terrorist attack on Pan Am’s Flight 103 and sat as part of the company’s Crisis Management Team. Ms. Schiavone brings a unique perspective to her consulting work, with over a decade in public and government affairs consulting. She has a deep understanding of how the private and public sectors intersect for potential opportunities. Ms. Schiavone’s client work has included procurement, strategic counseling, and public affairs programs.
Sales & Marketing Management, Recruitment
Amy has over 20 years of healthcare experience in the pharmaceutical, biotech, molecular diagnostics, and medical services arena (Home Sleep Studies, Cardiac Monitoring, and Renal Lab Services.) She began her career with Abbott Labs in sales and then pursued smaller, start-up organizations in which she has held various Management positions in Marketing, Sales Management, Sales Training, and Sales Operations. Her most recent positions were as Director of Sleep Business Unit at Lifewatch, Inc. and Director of Sales at DaVita Labs. Amy specializes in:
- Development & Implementation of strategic & tactical sales and marketing plans
- Design, Development, and Execution of initial and advanced sales training programs
- Start-up Sales Forces and/or Sales Force Expansions
- Team Building, Coaching, and Mentoring sales representatives and sales managers
- Sales Recruitment, Hiring, and Displacement
- Market Research & Promotional Marketing
- Sales Operations to support offered services
Amy holds a B.S. in Management from Penn State University and a MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.
Consumer Retail Marketing
Ann’s background as a senior level retail executive included extensive management and merchandising experience. Ann has successfully led accelerated growth and turnaround strategies for both major corporations and premier entrepreneurs. Hofferberth’s retail background spans diverse product lines and specialty channels. She created consumer-focused new store concepts that produced significant business growth. Negotiated and managed several acquisitions and divestitures that generated substantial new revenues and profits. She has worked with many corporations including the 20,000 florists network as President of Marketplace at FTD (Florists’ Transworld Delivery) and 5,000 Hallmark Gold Crown stores as President of Specialty Retail for Hallmark.
She developed a close working relationship and understanding for the opportunities and challenges of business owners as an entrepreneur and business “Sherpa” as the CEO and founder of AnnStuff™. Ann graduated from the University of Connecticut with a B.S. in Psychology and Sociology.
Engineering, Technical Publications & Grants
Mr. Righter is an accomplished Engineering Professional with over 20 years of Bio-Medical Engineering experience innovating ambulatory monitoring products and processes. He is a private consultant for mobile health platform design, involved in every aspect from conception, invention, design, and regulatory success. Currently focused on special purpose technical analyses, he engages in legal defense of patents and other IP, clinical studies, proposal development, grant applications, and advises on best practices of phase-gate product development plans. Mr. Righter co-founded Ralin Medical in the early 1990’s, which generated a 10x return to investors when it was sold in 2006 to Matria Healthcare. He was Director of Product Development for Lifewatch when it was spun out of Ralin. As a consultant, he has designed a variety of low power mobile products and sensors for the following companies: Lifewatch, Carestats, Instromedix, SportPsych, TriggerFinger, and iRhythm. He has published more than 20 technical papers and application notes, and been awarded 8 patents on mobile health products. Mr. Righter has Bachelor of Science degrees in both Computer Information Systems and Engineering, with extensive training in Management and Med-Tech design.
Strategic Technology Development & Analysis
Matt Puglisi co-founded Netrias, LLC in 2015 and is currently its Chief Executive Officer. Matt is a seasoned leader with successful experience as a technology company executive, a leader of research and development efforts, government service, and military service. Matt served at the executive level in corporate management at Aptima, Inc. where he developed and executed corporate strategy, and designed and orchestrated a robust business development enterprise that facilitated ongoing engagement between the company’s scientists and engineers and the company’s customers. He served on expert panels convened by the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine and the Department of Veterans Affairs. As a U.S. Marine, Matt commanded a field artillery battery where he was responsible for the performance, training and welfare of 130 Marines and seven officers, and he served as an artillery forward observer in Operation Desert Storm. He holds a Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown University, and a B.A. in Political Science from Siena College. Matt is a competitive age-group triathlete and long distance runner.
Clinical Data Scientist, Cardiac & Neural Devices
Mohammed Eslami, Ph.D., co-founded Netrias, LLC in 2015 and is currently its Chief Data Scientist. Mohammed is a Ph.D. electrical engineer with success in academia, government service and commercial technology companies. Mohammed helps medical device and app companies apply advanced analytics to enable their products to prevent injuries and diagnose diseases. Mohammed helps clients rapidly extract knowledge from large sets of data through contextual reasoning, machine learning and multi-modal fusion to achieve optimal outcomes. Mohammed is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park (Ph. D 2012 – Electrical Eng., B.S 2006 – Electrical Eng. & Mathematics) where he was affiliated with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering as a graduate student. After completion of his Ph. D, Mohammed was awarded the ORISE Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to work in the Electromagnetic and Wireless Lab for the Center of Devices and Radiological Health. With a strong background from this thesis in wireless communication, his research at the FDA focused on developing a wireless-coexistence protocol for wireless medical devices to be able to effectively and efficiently communicate with one another in congested communication bands (like the 2.4 GHz ISM band that includes Wifi, Bluetooth, and Zigbee). During his year as a post-doc at the FDA, Mohammed published two journal papers on his work in the wireless coexistence area that focused on automated detection of anomalies within signals from cardiac and neural devices, as well as a compact test method for wireless coexistence tests.
Healthcare Big Data Mining & Analysis
Netrias engages with medical device, pharmaceutical and healthcare organizations to extract knowledge from large sets of data through information fusion, contextual reasoning, machine learning and causal inference. Advanced analytics is transforming medicine, and offers the potential of personalizing health profiles and predictive models to better diagnose and treat many diseases. Netrias enables the emerging transformation in medicine where devices, diseases, and therapeutics are aligned with the unique characteristics of every human.
Marketing & Creative Agency
Founded in 2012, Common Giant is an advertising agency that pushes the boundaries of imagination. With an “all hands on deck” attitude, the agency prides itself in diving head first into every project they work on. Common Giant offers services in the digital and printed media arenas, ensuring their partners success in their respective campaigns. For more information, please visit commongiant.com.