Honoree Headshot

Maria Maccecchini

Founder, President, CEO and Executive Board Member
Annovis Bio, Inc.

Location: Berwyn, PA
Founded: 2008
Industry: Life Sciences

Maria Maccecchini grew up during a time when most people, including her parents, never expected much from women, her team said. Despite these limited or nonexistent expectations, Maccecchini pushed forward with her interest in science, built a name for herself and became an entrepreneur.

Today she is founder, president, CEO and executive board member for Annovis Bio, Inc., a clinical-stage company in the neurodegeneration field. The company’s mission is to address key neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and improve the lives of people affected by them.

“As of today, there is no disease-modifying treatment for either Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, but only drugs to help manage symptoms are available,” Maccecchini’s team said. “Maria is trying to make history and give patients a real chance. A chance that her mother, who died from Alzheimer’s disease, didn’t have.”

The company said its top asset is buntanetap, a small oral molecule under clinical evaluation in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Buntanetap has shown in Phase 2 trials to improve memory and cognition in Alzheimer’s patients, as measured by two independent psychometric tests. In Parkinson’s patients, it improved movement and well-being in two independent tests.

“One should never be satisfied with what has been achieved so far,” Maccecchini said. “The world is rapidly changing and the life sciences are changing even faster. Every day there is a new discovery that challenges the way we saw things before. Therefore, it is crucial to stay up to date, actively seek reliable sources, work with academia, attend conferences and learn from young scientists at the forefront of research.”

Since 2016, Maccecchini has been a lecturer at the Wharton Business School, where she teaches entrepreneurship and innovation to undergraduate and graduate students. She serves on several boards of biotechnology companies and mentors new companies in startup strategy, management and finance. She is also vice chair of the Executive Committee and director of the Board of the Salvation Army.

Since the 1990s, she has been involved in women investor and entrepreneur organizations, such as Women’s Investment Network, established to help and inspire women to successfully identify and achieve their personal financial goals, and the Association of Women Entrepreneurs, an association that serves women founders who are actively scaling their businesses and are classified as high-growth companies.

“I always lead by example and always treat people as I would like them to treat me,” Maccecchini said. “I encourage every employee in my company to see me as a team member. I push everybody to think outside the box, to act differently than the others, to undertake unusual and undiscovered paths, to brainstorm, and seek ideas in every corner of the company and the world.”

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Honoree fun fact

Maria climbed three of the five Holy Peaks in Mongolia: Malchin 4,050 m, Nairamdal 4,180 m and Khuiten Uul 4,374 m (the highest mountain in Mongolia). While in Mongolia, Maria also had an eagle standing on her arm. Maria also attempted Mt Everest; she made it to the South Col at 26,000 feet (Everest top is 29,000). She knitted a sweater all the way up.

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