Fireside Chat: The FAST Commercial Philosophy

Quick Overview

In a fireside chat at the 2022 FAST Science Summit, Alana Newhouse, President of FAST, and Ryan Jacob, Executive Director on the FAST Board of Directors, discussed the FAST commercial philosophy and their approach to building companies in the rare disease space. They emphasized the importance of funding and translating promising science into commercialized products, while also protecting the interests of investigators and ensuring the progress of viable science. They highlighted the need for multiple pharmaceutical partners and the challenges of navigating the complex and volatile market. They also discussed the role of FAST in maintaining open communication with the community and the importance of speed, commitment, and passion in driving progress in the field.


In this fireside chat, Alana Newhouse, the President of FAST, and Ryan Jacob, the Executive Director on the FAST Board of Directors, discuss the commercial philosophy of FAST and its role in the rare disease community. They explore the importance of partnerships, protecting scientific advancements, and the challenges faced in the current market environment.


Ryan Jacob, the CEO of CAE, shares his background in finance and his journey in starting CAE, a global software and information-driven trading firm addressing the semiconductor market. He explains his role in helping companies grow and become successful over time. Alana Newhouse, the President of FAST, discusses her involvement with FAST and her commitment to finding solutions for Angelman Syndrome (AS) as a parent.

The Role of FAST in Commercialization

Alana and Ryan discuss why a patient advocacy organization like FAST is involved in building and commercializing companies. They highlight the challenges faced in the rare disease space and the need for a stable funding source to support scientific advancements. They emphasize the importance of partnerships with investigators, pharma companies, and the AS community to ensure the progress of viable science and protect it from external risks.

Balancing Communication and Commercialization

The conversation touches on the balance between open communication and the need for confidentiality in commercialization efforts. Alana explains that while FAST would love to share every development immediately, they must abide by regulations and protect the interests of the community and the companies involved. They discuss the challenges of over-communication and the potential impact on businesses and partnerships.

Navigating the Market Environment

Ryan shares his insights on the current market environment and its impact on FAST’s programs. He discusses the risks associated with financing and the need for strategic partnerships to protect programs and ensure their progression. They emphasize the importance of de-risking science and selecting the right pharma partners to drive progress in the field.

The Power of Passion and Commitment

Alana and Ryan highlight the passion and commitment of the FAST board and the AS community in driving advancements and finding solutions. They discuss the unique perspective and dedication of parents who live with AS every day, emphasizing the importance of their involvement in the commercialization process.


The fireside chat concludes with gratitude for the work done by FAST and the entire AS community. Alana expresses her appreciation for Ryan’s contributions and the inspiring dedication of everyone involved in the fight against AS.

Talk details

  • Title: Fireside Chat: The FAST Commercial Philosophy
  • Author(s): Alana Newhouse, Ryan Jacob
  • Author(s)’ affiliation: FAST
  • Publication date: 2022-12-03
  • Collection: 2022 FAST Science Summit