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Program Overview

The 2015 Autism Investment Conference (AIC) addresses the most relevant and urgent needs across the autism community. The program is structured into (8) individual sessions, each focusing on a different area of product or business development that is poised to address the unmet needs across the autism community.

Each session is organized into the following structure 1) introduction of product/business area by a member of the Autism Speaks staff, 2) company showcase highlighting 3-4 examples of companies working in that market segment, and 3) a panel of experts who discuss and break down issues and challenges associated with development in that segment.

  • Keynote -  David Berry, Partner, Flagship Ventures
  • Keynote - Eddie Martucci, Co-Founder & COO, Akili Interactive Labs

Therapeutics   - Bringing new treatments for autism to market is an on-going challenge.  This session will address many of these challenges and associated risks, including empirical support of approaches, regulatory pathways, clinical endpoints and patient heterogeneity.  Discussion will include the diversity of treatment modalities and associated development opportunities.

  • Moderator – Paul Wang, Autism Speaks
  • Showcase Presenters: Larry Glass, Neuren Pharmaceuticals; Hao Chen, DRI Bioscience; Chad Beyer, Promentis Pharmaceuticals; Emily Levy, CIPAC Therapeutics
  • Panelists: Paulo Fontoura, Roche; Alex Nichols, Flagship Ventures

Diagnosis & Risk Assessment - This session will focus on commercial products and/or businesses involved in the clinical diagnosis or assessment of risk for developing autism. Topics will range from the challenges of diagnosis to the diversified approaches to screening and include exciting new technologies as biomarkers for clinical research or symptom detection.

  • Moderator – Dan Smith, DELSIA
  • Showcase Presenters: Jan D’Alvise, Pediatric Bioscience; Rem Fox, NODANow; Bernard Courtieu, IntegraGen; Beth Donley, Stemina Biomarker Discovery
  • Panelists: Stan Lapidus, SynapDx; Brent Vaughan, Cognoa; Larry Yost, IntegraGen

Assistive Technology (Apps, software, devices) – This session will focus on one of the fastest growing segments within autism.  This segment until now has been largely dominated by an array of apps for tablets and phones.  Discussion will include key issues surrounding app development and the refereeing of unsupported marketing claims of apps, necessity of regulatory paths, economics of app stores as well as a look at the rapidly expanding world of wearable technology and hardware.

  • Moderator: Lisa Goring, Autism Speaks
  • Showcase Presenters: Tami Salter, Que Innovations; Alex Mark, Truthly; Eron Howard and Daniel Openden, Novacoast; Marianne Hoffman, PABAsoft

Residential Supports & Housing – This session will discuss the challenges facing adults with autism to live as independently as possible.  The discussion will include the latest in innovative, supportive solutions to help people with autism live independently and safe.

  • Moderator – Lisa Goring, Autism Speaks
  • Showcase Presenter: Holly Mero, Vivint

Employment – This session will focus on business models and other for-profit enterprises that capitalize on the strengths of employing individuals with ASD.  Hear first-hand from businesses that not only increased productivity but gained a competitive edge in their market.

  • Moderator – Leslie Long, Autism Speaks
  • Showcase Presenters: Rajesh Anandan, ULTRA  Testing; Dave Friedman, AutonomyWorks; James Emmett, James Emmett Consulting; Gerry Maurer, Birch Family Services

Services - With the growing prevalence of autism, there is an increasing need to provide services to aid individuals with autism and their families. This session will highlight businesses and service providers that provide autism specific services that enhance the service delivery or quality of life for those with autism and their families.

  • Moderator – Dave Kearon, Autism Speaks
  • Showcase Presenter:  Aaron Rakow, College Steps

Legislative Landscape Incentives

 Gaming-Driven Platforms – This new session will focus on the emerging use of games in a variety of different applications from product development in therapeutic games alternative methods for diagnosis and outcome measurement.  Games are an innovative approach to understanding the strengths of those with autism and utilizing those strengths to find and maintain employment, post-secondary educational opportunities, and further learning in a fun and rewarding way.

  • Showcase Presenters: Cuong Do, Identifor; Katie Hench, Infiniteach; Rita Dunn, ImagiRation


The Google-Autism Speaks ‘Pitch Playground’   - Join us for a fun and challenging ½ day event, sponsored by Google and Autism Speaks.   Select companies will be chosen to pitch their business ideas for autism apps for tablet/phone platforms and wearable technology. The event will be hosted at the Google Cambridge Campus. Cash prizes will be awarded by DELSIA.  Click here for the submission form.