He can no longer walk, talk, or swallow, but Avi Kremer (MBA 2007) won’t let that slow down his pursuit of a cure for ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease. As founder of Prize4Life, the nonprofit he launched in 2006 with HBS classmates and professors, Kremer has raised awareness, infused millions of dollars into research, and removed critical barriers to the development of treatments.
“Our focus was to get drug companies to invest money in ALS,” says Kremer, who was diagnosed in 2004, just weeks into his first year at HBS. “We studied the process of drug development and realized if we could convince them that ALS is a good investment, market forces will do more than all the ALS foundations worldwide can do.”
In 2011 and 2012, Prize4Life awarded million-dollar prizes for tests that measure the disease’s progression rate, and dozens of teams are currently competing for a new $1M prize to identify a treatment that leads to a 25 percent extension in survival rates. “After eight years, in which we have raised over $10 million,” says Kremer, who lives in his native Israel and communicates via Skype and adaptive technologies, “most of the big drug companies are setting up ALS research programs and the number of ALS research publications is skyrocketing.”