Ryan Berman talks to thought leaders from around the globe in business, sports and entertainment to uncover what it means to be courageous in today's world.
Subscribe here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify

EP123 Dr Howard Berman - Founder and CEO at Coya Therapeutics, Inc.

Dr. Howard Berman – Founder and CEO at Coya Therapeutics, Inc.

What if you could slow down Alzheimer’s or ALS? That’s exactly the deeply personal journey Dr. Howard Berman, Founder and CEO at Coya Therapeutics, finds himself on. To day, Howard runs a mission-driven company that is making remarkable breakthroughs in the world of T-Cells. Driven by his father’s personal battle with Dementia, Howard has embarked on a relentless quest for a cure. Along his journey, he uncovered an extraordinary technology devised by the brilliant Dr. Stanley Appel that gave him the courage to leave his last life in pharmaceuticals.

Episode Notes

In this episode, Dr. Berman speaks on the science of fear and the negative physical effects it can have on our bodies. Howard also gives listeners an educational crash course on what dementia is and the many ways it can rear its unfortunate, ugly head. It’s Berman to Berman on this episode of the Courageous Podcast.

[00:00:00] Dr. Howard Berman: There should be nothing stopping you in your way. Fear is the greatest barrier to achieving success in life. None of the big heroes or none of, none of the people that have done anything meaningful would've gone anywhere without. Courage and without the fearless determination to move ahead.

[00:00:24] Ryan Berman: Well, for the first time in the history of the show, I have brought on another Berman. I'm excited about this Now and and to be clear, this is not like a shameless plug for the the Berman family Although we could probably figure out if we are truly related then I'm assuming I can go by Howard even though you're dr Berman, is that

[00:00:43] Dr. Howard Berman: absolutely for you for another Berman?

[00:00:46] Absolutely

[00:00:46] Ryan Berman: for a fellow Berman So yeah, if you're a listener We don't think Howard and I don't think we're related, but if we kind of went all the way back, back, back, it is possible because my squad was splintered, but all over Eastern Europe, I believe you had some Eastern Euro as well. Correct.

[00:01:05] Dr. Howard Berman: Yes, sir.

[00:01:06] Yeah. Lithuania. A lot of Lithuania. So we're, we're certainly in there. And we also have the same hairline. You and I.

[00:01:14] Ryan Berman: Now, for those of you who know, who don't have video here, which probably almost everybody, I think you're picking up what he's putting down. Correct. Howard. It's, it's great to have you on the show.

[00:01:25] It's, it's pretty fascinating what you're working on, what you have been working on. And I felt like the, the right place to start is to this job. Pick you or did you pick this job? Right? And maybe you could share a little bit of the story of how you know, your curiosities in the space took off. If you don't mind.

[00:01:48] Dr. Howard Berman: Yeah, let's let me just say you don't pick this job. It picks you because you have to be. Certifiably crazy to pick this job and I mean that with the honest truth.

[00:02:00] Ryan Berman: Well, this is a courageous podcast, right? So there's a bit of courage that goes into this, but like in some ways, you know, I always say you don't get a say on change.

[00:02:08] Change is happening whether you like it or not. When change is driving you, like a pandemic happens or something happens to a family member. I think that is an act of resilience. And I think when you're driving change and you're being proactive about it, that is an act of courage. Thank you. And I'd love to, like, start by, although I know it's crazy, like, how did you sort of...

[00:02:33] Jump into the arena you're in and then I also think Howard if you don't mind You're gonna have to laymen a lot of this stuff up for my audience

[00:02:40] Dr. Howard Berman: Yeah, no, no, if I can't describe this subject matter to my 12 year old daughter, and I'm not doing a good job She has to be able to explain it and understand it and I'm not comparing your audience to a 12 year old I'm just saying that this is it's not very complex to understand it from a high level And it's important that everyone understands what we're doing because it makes a lot of sense when I, when you, when you really fully understand it and then you can go into further details.

[00:03:11] Ryan Berman: I am around the 12th grade, 12 year old, so not even 12th grade. And if you explain it to me, I think everyone's going to get it. So, well, good. Well, good. So let's stumble in from how on earth did you get into this space? Howard is the CEO and chairman of Koya Therapeutics. Just some pretty amazing work you're doing right now.

[00:03:31] With ALS, Alzheimer's, you know, look, some of my best friends just coming off vacation and some of my best friends who are like family and you know, there's only a few people that you would put into that category, their family right now and are, there's dementia that's hitting their family and it's, it's heartbreaking for them.

[00:03:51] So I'd love to hear your story on how you stumbled into this space or like you said, how the space chose you.

[00:03:58] Dr. Howard Berman: Yeah, well, my background, just so everyone knows, I have a PhD in pharmacology from, from Cornell, and it was, and I did it in neuropharmacology, so it started with my interest in the brain and how the brain worked, and that's where I got my, my starting off point.

[00:04:15] I've worked in pharma for many years, and I've really honed the understanding of drug development. and how you interact with the FDA. So I sort of, you know, spent a lot of time understanding how these things operate in the real world. But the sort of let's call it the point by which everything came together was my father and had a progressive dementia.

[00:04:42] It started 12 years ago. He, this was a guy who was a triple board certified physician, one of the most brilliant guys you can imagine, just really had everything you can understand of being just in charge and understanding the space. And he just started, unfortunately, slowly but surely losing a little bit of this and a little bit of that and started to speed up.

[00:05:07] So. Me, who's a proactive guy, I took him to see and I pulled strings to see the best neurodegenerative expert in the world here at Houston Methodist. And his name is Stan Appel. He's, you know, been the guru in neurodegeneration. And I, Appel told me, look, he said, there's really nothing you can do for this.

[00:05:27] There's treatments that can ameliorate the side effects and, and maybe help a little bit here, help a little bit there. But there's just nothing you can do. But he said, I'm working on a few things that you got to meet me. Meet me next week, if you can. I want to show you something. So, I mean, I did this for my father.

[00:05:47] Ryan Berman: Well, hold on, Howard. So first of all, lots of questions. One, I know you said Lithuania, but you're South Africa, you're the family's from South Africa. Did your father move from, move the family from South Africa to Houston?

[00:05:59] Dr. Howard Berman: Yes. He, he was 40 years old when he moved the whole family as a physician and my mom as well.

[00:06:06] And we sent, sent, settled in Houston, Texas in the late seventies. And he started up his career here as a

[00:06:15] Ryan Berman: rheumatologist. And then Appel, when you meet with him for the first time, I mean, you seek him out as a proactive guy, but at this point, are you the son of a patient? Or is it like, because you understand the world, he's speaking the same language as

[00:06:30] Dr. Howard Berman: you?

[00:06:30] He, speaking the same language as I do, he understands my background in pharmaceutical development and he needs someone like myself who can take this therapy to the next step and help commercialize it and raise money and bring this to multitude of patients.

[00:06:47] Ryan Berman: Okay, got it. It's like a week later and now you're meeting him in a very, under a different circumstance,

[00:06:53] correct?

[00:06:53] Dr. Howard Berman: In different circumstance in his office, he's presenting the data to me on a slide presentation and he walks me through this field of medicine called regulatory T cells, which is this type of cell in the body that controls inflammation. It's the most important cell that if it's not working properly, then you get very high levels of inflammatory processes in your blood.

[00:07:18] And unfortunately, what he discovered in ALS and subsequently in Alzheimer's. And in other neurodegenerative diseases, those Tregs are not working properly and the level of inflammation is off the charts. And that contributes immensely to the disease progression.

[00:07:37] Ryan Berman: Okay. And then he's like, I'm working on a few things that you should check out.

[00:07:41] And how curious are you out of the gate?

[00:07:43] Dr. Howard Berman: Are you just like, Well, I'm curious because at the third slide he showed me mechanistically, and he showed me his early clinical data. an ALS patient in a phase one study, and what I saw blew me away. He had taken the patient's cells out of the patient and isolated their Tregs and converted their Tregs from dysfunctional to functional and put them back to the same patient.

[00:08:07] And in those same patients, he stopped, the patients completely stopped progression on a dime. They were declining, declining, and then they got infusions and they stopped. And was remarkable. I'd never seen anything like that before. And he said, look, we want to develop this further and expand this into a phase two and beyond, and expand this into other indications.

[00:08:28] And can you assist me? And can you help me? And I, and I went back home to my wife that night and I said, look, I'm wearing a very comfy job. I'm with a big pharmaceutical company. But I'm going to quit tomorrow and I want to, I want to raise money and do this. And she looked at me, uh, not, not like I was mad, but I was, but then I had a mission that my dad was ill and I needed to do something to soothe my soul, but also something that was proactive.

[00:08:54] Cause I'm a type A. So it was a decision that I made because I, I don't like sitting still and I don't like the feel to sit still.

[00:09:02] Ryan Berman: I mean, it's a tricky time for you too. I mean, like it sounds like there's a point of no return for your father, right? But yet you're curious of this, of the Tregs and the, and the research that he had done.

[00:09:14] So I'm, and by the way, how long ago was this?

[00:09:17] Dr. Howard Berman: Well, this was a number of years after he had started his decline. This was about three and a half to four years ago that I met a pill. Okay.

[00:09:28] Ryan Berman: You know, it's funny. I, I always say the courage business, like we often get brought in when somebody's stuck, when they're scared, when they're stagnant or they're safe, playing it safe, and in some ways, Koya is like courage for T regs.

[00:09:44] You're caught your courage for cells, right? Like the stuff that you're working on. When a T cell is stuck or stagnant, you're making it functional again, is pretty fascinating stuff. And, and again, your background and Appel's background, what's that dynamic like today? Are you guys still, are you partners and you're the CEO and chairman, correct?

[00:10:05] Dr. Howard Berman: Yeah, I, yeah, Stan is a, is really a living legend in the fields and he's the same age as my father was. My father, he, my father was 88 when he passed away. Stan just turned, I believe, 90 years old, still very active and treating patients and seeing patients. Remarkable, man. So, I sort of, I look at Stan as a mentor, as a father figure, if you will.

[00:10:31] I've never told him that, but. I look at him as a brilliant guy who's really innovating and leading the way. And the dynamic is superb. There's a lot of trust and respect and I can't let the guy down. I can't, I just cannot not accomplish what I'm setting out to do. So this is very mission oriented for me.

[00:10:50] I, I just, there's no, there's no room for failure.

[00:10:54] Ryan Berman: If your wife was on the call now to see how far you've come, and I'm sure you're on the journey, you're in it right now, right? I think you guys just, you IPO'd six months ago, which we'll, we'll get there in a minute. What would she say has been like? The biggest wow moment or gone from you said crazy and it's still crazy, but like you're crazy then to what is what would she say about the journey so far?

[00:11:18] Dr. Howard Berman: Well, let me tell you this. I was on vacation last December. This was the month that we went public at the end of December and. That same week that we went public, my dad, I got my, I got to call him and my dad died on the same week that this happened. So it was a terrifyingly bittersweet moment and more bitter.

[00:11:41] And my wife would say, this is a mission oriented guy, me, who is driving at a. A vision to do something that's meaningful, that brings value to shareholders. But most importantly, that soothes my soul. It settles my soul that I'm actually doing something that can. Not just relieve many other patients who are going through the same thing their families You know the disease diseases are diseases of the family the families suffer because they have to deal with their pit with the patients and You know what?

[00:12:12] We're not you and I are not getting any younger Are we so every day that goes by we the risks that we develop a neurodegenerative disease your your your listeners The older you get the higher the risk that your brain starts to atrophy and your t rex become dysfunctional So I'm working here Against the time, right?

[00:12:32] And I'm working in a difficult climate biotech climate and we're, you know what, we're overcoming all the odds to accomplish something here. So she would be very proud of me. She is proud of me. I'm proud of myself, but I just don't get mired down in any sort of accolades. I have to continue driving this company forward.

[00:12:54] Ryan Berman: I believe dementia and Alzheimer's, well, I think Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia. Am I getting this correct?

[00:13:02] Dr. Howard Berman: That's correct. Yeah, it's the most common form of a dementia related disorder, Alzheimer's, and then there's others like frontotemporal dementia. Which is another type, it's not Alzheimer's, but it's a form of dementia.

[00:13:15] There's Lewy body dementia, which is related to Parkinson's disease. So there's different types and some of, and there, but there are different disease phenomenons.

[00:13:24] Ryan Berman: Okay, and it's like, and is it just different for different people on how slippery the slope is from there?

[00:13:30] Dr. Howard Berman: Yeah, like FTD patients usually go a little faster than in Alzheimer's.

[00:13:36] Vascular dementia, patients will go sometimes a little faster than Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's, you know, they progress, you know, I mean, there's all sorts of time. People can go out many years with Alzheimer's, but yeah, I would say maybe 10 years progression on average, but the patients typically decline slowly.

[00:13:56] It's almost like they, they go down and then there's this stability. And then they go down a little more. So they, they go down this notch and there's stability, there's patients are stable. And then there's different. There's different phases of the disease phenomenon.

[00:14:12] Ryan Berman: Okay. And then Lou Gehrig's is the other, right?

[00:14:15] ALS? That's ALS. That's ALS.

[00:14:15] Dr. Howard Berman: That's a dementia. That's a, that's a neuromuscular disease. But some patients with ALS have FED, which is a type of dementia because it's driven in some cases by a common mutation called C9 North 72. But ALS, usually the patients are cognitively fine, but they're trapped in their own bodies.

[00:14:39] Thanks. But they, they can't talk properly and sometimes they're paralyzed. They can't walk. It's a terrible disease. The ALS.

[00:14:48] Ryan Berman: So did you know from the beginning that this might be able to help in both spaces or was it like you were looking at

[00:14:54] Dr. Howard Berman: dementia? We figured out, no, we figured out over time that he regs, these regulatory T cells are not working properly in.

[00:15:02] in many neurodegenerative diseases. They're driven by the same phenomenon. Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and FTD and ALS and we're learning about more diseases that are driven by this, not just neuro diseases, but autoimmune conditions as well. So the we're expanding upon the work that we've done. But we're starting with a disease where progression is so fast In ALS Lou Gehrig's disease that we can measure it relatively quickly.

[00:15:28] Ryan Berman: So again, this is a show about courage and we always say that fear and courage are kin. And so from a fear standpoint, what are you most afraid of? Like, what are you, you're on this journey, you're, it's a rocket ship. Mm hmm. What, what keep, what keeps you up at night?

[00:15:46] Dr. Howard Berman: Well, the only thing that keeps me up at night are the things that I, that are not in my control.

[00:15:52] I know that things are, that are in my control, that I'm responsible for are, is gonna get done and it's gonna get, get done efficiently. Things that are out of my control are things that, it's just like if you're on an airplane and you're not in control of flying the plane. You know, you, you, people get nervous when there's a bump or, or the plane is rocking, it's the same sort of phenomenon that I have with being a public company and in a difficult market climate where you're the odds are stacked against you, if you're a smaller company.

[00:16:24] And there's all sorts of people out there that have monetary reasons. They may want to short your stock, or they may want to just in the interest of making money, and they don't even think about your, your focus and the direction that you're going to help people. It's a very sad and unfortunate way.

[00:16:43] People want to make money off the, off the backs and the pain of others. Those are things that I'm not in control of, but I can't get mired down by what's not in my control. That's sort of a, you know, one of the things that, you know, you learn from Tony, if you listen to Tony Robbins and those, those, those folks is you learn, look, focus on what's in your control and everything that's not in your control will, you know, eventually work itself out.

[00:17:09] Ryan Berman: So six months into the IPO, you know, in the spirit of what you can control, what have you enjoyed about these last six months?

[00:17:17] Dr. Howard Berman: Well, I'm empowered by investors and by shareholders and by others to to lead a company to hire people who are very pedigreed and to chart the chart the way forward with my vision.

[00:17:34] And not, not everyone has that opportunity to take a company public and to be at the helm of a company. And I never thought I would, I never thought I would be a CEO of a public company. It's, it never even crossed my mind when I was, or when I was younger, but it's happened. And I'm very privileged to be here and to, to do things to have accomplished everything that I've accomplished so far.

[00:17:57] So I don't take any of that for granted.

[00:17:59] Ryan Berman: I mean, you mentioned this already. I mean, you, you, you basically launched one of the toughest biotech cap markets that, that I can recall is this, is this really one of those things that also still keeps you up at night? Like, are you constantly out fundraising and trying to let people know what you're doing?

[00:18:15] Or are we beyond that at this point?

[00:18:17] Dr. Howard Berman: Yeah, no, I look, I, we, when we went public. The odds were stacked against us. We all became investors in the company. I'm, I'm an investor, the board's investors, the C suite's investors. And, you know, I can tell you our lockup ended. And which means for your investors, when you go public, you know, your series A and other investors, they typically lock up for a period of time, six months, usually.

[00:18:46] And when that, when that lockup ends, you know, you always get worried that people are going to sell your stock and your stock's going to go down. So we're in a terrible market climate. We're past the lockup and you know, the stock has done reasonably well. And we've kept up, we've held up and I think we're valued.

[00:19:06] I think our value is very, I think we're very undervalued given all the things that are going on with our company, with, with our data, exciting data, with our plans to go into phase two and take this all the way through. And also the strong interest that we have with strategic. Pharma. So I'm positively optimistic.

[00:19:28] Ryan Berman: You know, you mentioned how your father, your father passed away the week you went public. Is that, is that accurate? Yes. I mean, look, I don't want to say that doctors are scientists and whatnot, but like, don't you think that the universe, don't you find that fascinating with the universe? Like the mission is now yours and the baton has been passed over.

[00:19:51] Like, are you a spiritual guy?

[00:19:53] Dr. Howard Berman: Yeah, I'm a very, I mean, I'm a spiritual guy, and I, I'm a scientist, but I'm also someone who believes that serendipity and nothing in this world is random, is that there is a, everything happens, has a place, and you just have to be able to recognize what happens. What that place is and how it relates to prior experiences.

[00:20:20] So you can call that spirituality, you can call it whatever you want, but there is certainly a higher power, if you will, or some sort of master plan where everything is coming together. But again, you have to really be cognizant of what's going on in order to recognize these trends, but I can tell you that.

[00:20:39] That was the nature screaming at me that, you know, look, look at what is happening in your life.

[00:20:46] Ryan Berman: You said you have to be able to explain this to a 12 year old or a 12th grader. We'll say we're both. So how many kids do you have?

[00:20:53] Dr. Howard Berman: I have three, an 18, a 16 and a 12.

[00:20:56] Ryan Berman: So as they watch you on this journey, there's a lot of unspoken moments, I'm sure, of them picking up what you're putting down.

[00:21:05] Like, what do you hope the lesson is for them for all this?

[00:21:09] Dr. Howard Berman: Is to have courage is to Not be afraid is to go for your dreams And don't let and if you get knocked down get right back up and and keep going at it And that's perfect this boot camp this courage boot camp is exactly the lesson of my life And it's a lesson that my dad would want to impart to me and to my kids is That there should be nothing in your stopping you in your way and that fear is the greatest barrier to achieving success in life.

[00:21:44] No, none of the big heroes or none of the people that have done anything meaningful would have gone anywhere without courage and without the fearless determination to move ahead. And I can, I can tell you, I bet you Elon Musk, someone like an Elon Musk has a lot of courage. He is not afraid of failure. He could have failed many times and he probably did fail a number of times, but he continues to get up and he continues to move forward.

[00:22:10] And every one of the pioneers, they have this level of courage and it's how they use the courage to push them forward. If my kids can. Can learn that lesson and can apply it. They will be successful in this world.

[00:22:24] Ryan Berman: You know, like you're two decades in on your, in your entrepreneurial journey, maybe even more, if you add it all up and as a neuroscience, you know, master's and PhD in that space, what, what does fear do to the brain?

[00:22:38] And I know this is a little away from your current day job, but can you give me some color on what's happening with fear in our brains?

[00:22:45] Dr. Howard Berman: Yeah. Fear. Let me just tell you, your brain is plastic. Not plastic as like a plastic container, it's plastic means that the neurons and the connections in the brain can change and can shift, and they're not set in stone.

[00:22:59] So the more fear you have, the more scared you are, those neural connections, you lay down those connections, and it becomes harder and harder to change those patterns. That's why someone who's been abused and beaten. for many, many years, it's very difficult for them to break out of it. That's why someone who has post traumatic stress, it's extremely disastrous for that patient or that, for that person to break out.

[00:23:22] It's because you've laid down those tracks and it takes a lot of years of cognitive therapy and all sorts of things to change, to make the brain more adaptable. So fear releases all sorts of neuro. Hormones and cortisol and, and very bad things that can impact your body. And it has a feedback cycle that continues to cause degeneration and probably has negative effects on directly in your brain, on your brain tissue and in brain volume.

[00:23:51] So fear leads to anxiety and leads to depression. And so the best way around, around that is to realize that you really have nothing to fear about. You really ask yourself the question, what's the worst that can happen? That's what my dad taught me. What's the worst that can happen? I mean, short of like going to rob a bank.

[00:24:10] Yes. You're going to be scared. Right? But the worst that happens is you're shot and you're going to get put in prison. You're going to hurt someone. So that's not the, that's not the kind of fear that I'm talking about. The fear is about fear of failure. The fear of you want to go and start a new business.

[00:24:26] You're a young person and you're at a nice comfy job, but you want to be on your own and you want to be independent. Well, I'm scared because then I'm, then I'm going, I'm going to fail and I'm not going to have a living and I'm not going to be able to continue doing what I'm doing. Okay. Probe that and understand, well, what's the worst that can happen.

[00:24:46] And once you do that and you can live with the worst that can happen and how you can overcome that, get a new job or do this or do that, you know what you, you learn to become less fearful. And it takes practice and sometimes you're going to fail. I tell you, Elon Musk failed. I failed the big, a lot of the big people who have been successful failed, but you have to go through that exercise if you want to, if you want to break through.

[00:25:12] Ryan Berman: You're reminding me of one of my favorite keynote speakers that I've, I've sort of met on the tour names, Michelle Polar. And she says, what's the best that could happen instead of what's the worst that can happen. And I think that's to your point. Like if the, if what's happening in my brain is I need to make.

[00:25:27] Positive connections and be, get those affirmations going in the right direction. The more I repeat myself with the positives, with, with sort of thoughts of courage, hopefully the more I'm building that muscle and the more courageous I'm going to be. Howard, as you think about operationalizing courage in the business, and I should say this as a disclosure point, I come from lawyers.

[00:25:49] So what I'm about to say, my dad's a lawyer, my brother's a lawyer, his wife's a lawyer, we're well protected. That's good. Good job, Berman's. When you're in a business like yours, sometimes lawyers, I don't want to vilify them, but they're, they're there to protect you and they are almost there to call out the fear.

[00:26:08] Meanwhile, you're trying to hit the gas. You're, you know, we're, we're still in IPO land or just out of that. How do you, how do you sort of help or guide, you know, legal or even crisis comms? To stay courageous and why that's important in the business that you're in now. I think they're there to protect you and to keep you safe.

[00:26:28] Right. Right. They're looking at the lawyers and crisis columns. I think crisis columns is also like reactionary reactionary. So again, I don't want to get anyone in trouble today on the show, including me. But how do you make sure that you're operationalizing courage throughout the entire organization?

[00:26:45] Dr. Howard Berman: Lawyers and everyone else around that surrounds you are there to give you. Protective advice in order to protect you and to make sure that you don't do anything that that could get you in trouble, right? Sometimes the advice is a little conservative or it's very conservative and it prevents you from maximizing and for doing things that you instinctively feel are going to progress your business.

[00:27:12] So as a leader, you are there to make a decision whether you can tow the line and, and really branch out and. Not necessarily follow what they are saying to exactly to a T, but, you know, have a very variation on what they're saying in order to, you know, maximize your messaging or or whatever you're trying to accomplish.

[00:27:37] And that takes courage because. You're going against, you're not going against, but you're, you're not following everything that they're saying a hundred percent. And there are risks with what you do. There's risks in everything you do. So you as a leader have to, and this is just everyone, one of your audience.

[00:27:55] everything in life is risk reward. When you take a drug for cholesterol, it's risk reward. Yes, I'm lowering my cholesterol, reducing my heart rate, my heart attack risk, but I'm increasing my risk of liver dysfunction and all sorts of muscle injury. And every drug you take is like that. And everything in life you do, you, one has to balance the risks, the rewards.

[00:28:21] What the long term impact is, but it takes a lot of experience in what I do in order to make that assessment, because it's sort of uncharted territory. You have certain things to look at as precedent, but it's really in real time. You're, you're charting this new, this new territory. So I am hopefully courageous enough to make the right decisions, but I'm willing to live with the outcomes and whatever ensues, whether it's.

[00:28:49] Good or bad.

[00:28:50] Ryan Berman: Okay. This, I know I don't want to knock crisis comms and the lawyers. So in the spirit of everybody else, right? How do you go about making sure that courage muscle is being lifted across the entire organization? What do you do to make sure they have permission to be courageous?

[00:29:10] Dr. Howard Berman: Yeah. No, you, I empower every single one of my, my colleagues and my staff and people that are in my company.

[00:29:17] You are the champion. You're the expert in your area. You have the ability, you're empowered to make a decision on, in this domain. And if you give everyone that power, right, they're judged by the decisions that they make. So that also instills confidence when you give someone the ability to make a decision like that.

[00:29:41] They feel that they feel that they have an obligation to make a good decision. So the best way to do it is not to micromanage colleagues and staff in the company. The best way to do it is to give everyone the freedom and flexibility to make the decisions that are going to make their job easier and more efficient

[00:29:59] Ryan Berman: Alright we're in the homestretch here, Howard. So let's say Howard today got to interview Howard at Michigan. So we're now the two of you are, let's say we're in a zoom and it's you today, Howard, with 21 year old, 22 year old Howard, what would the one question first that 21 year old Howard would ask you today, Howard? And then what was the one piece of advice that Howard today would give the 21 year old version of yourself?

[00:30:25] Dr. Howard Berman: Where did your hair go, Howard? It's gone.

[00:30:30] Ryan Berman: Look, you know, the science behind that now, I'm sure, but no, what advice would you give yourself?

[00:30:34] Dr. Howard Berman: Well, I. I would say that what would what would my 20 what advice my older advice give my younger advice. I would my advice would be Would be to not be afraid. Actually, it would be the same advice I'm giving to my kids.

[00:30:50] You're afraid you're, you're anxious. You're anxious about school. You're anxious about your tests. You're anxious about what this person's thinking about you. You're anxious about what are you going to do in your life, your career. Take a step back. Focus on the now. Focus on being good and being an expert in one thing and focusing on the present.

[00:31:14] And don't think about the future so much. Live in the moment. You're not going to be 21 years old forever. You're going to be 49 years old one day. Look at me. So... Live, enjoy your experiences, enjoy your friends, enjoy your family, because one day you're not going to have them. You're not going to have your dad forever.

[00:31:36] And it's sort of when you lose something, you start to appreciate what you've lost. So I would remind myself that nothing in this world is finite or infinite, and things are finite, including your hairline.

[00:31:52] Ryan Berman: I would say, this is as much for your kids as it is for mine or for anyone that's listening. I not only are, are they afraid, but I think the hard thing to realize is the context behind this.

[00:32:04] Here's the secret. Everyone is afraid. The person sitting next to you on a bus right now is afraid. The person on their walk is afraid. The person at school next to you is afraid like. Everyone is, is navigating their own central nervous system and is fighting themselves. And I think the sooner you realize that this is the most normal thing we all feel is being fearful of something or many things, then it's like, wait a minute, this is like, this is like breathing.

[00:32:36] It's just, it's our normal standard operating system. And, and two, look, you're the guy you're, it can be very lonely to be you Howard. And so it just is, is the leader. And I commend you for going on this deeply personal mission. And I guess my note to you is also the same. Like, don't forget to enjoy this ride that you're on.

[00:32:59] What an amazing journey you get to go on. And I'm very much the same camp as you is without the doctor ship. The universe is at play here. And like, like I said, sometimes. It's deciding things for us that we never thought we had in us and what a, an awesome opportunity it is for you to do something that could literally change the world for so many people again, again, I am so sorry about your dad.

[00:33:24] I'm thinking about my friend's dad right now, who's coping with dementia and just the quality of life, not just for the person, but for the families. It's just awesome. To, to see it. So as you're on your mission and on your fight, hopefully you can take a step back and enjoy this ride as well. And I know you're surrounding yourself with some, some new people, including Arun, who introduced us on the business side.

[00:33:46] I think you have a new president and chief medical officer just joined you as well. Dr. Grossman, hopefully I'm getting that name. Correct. Congrats on everything that you're doing. Maybe, maybe you could take us home one more, like last thought on, on the mission at hand for you, and then just something for the audience to take away.

[00:34:01] Dr. Howard Berman: Well, first of all, thank you for having me on the. On the show. It's been a pleasure and an honor. I would, you know, again, getting back to what we do, where Mish I'm, I'm running this company with a mission, which has been spurred by the disease, my father's disease, and ultimately his death. And that I would ask the audience to support what we do support just by doing goodness and good deeds.

[00:34:29] And when you see someone with dementia, just act a little bit more kindly to those. people or those families and just realize that people are going through a lot and anything we can do whether it is you know supporting the local dementia foundations or looking at the foundations in ALS or any of these neurodegenerative conditions anything that can be done is really beneficial for for us who are working to treatments and so that's my mission and I'm just doing it on the therapeutic side because we We really need treatments out there and I think we're going to get there.

[00:35:06] I think we, we literally have a pathway to, to bring something that can not just help patients with ALS, but dementias and I want to make my father proud. I want to make the many families out there who are suffering proud. So just continue to follow what we do in our company. And the final message is just to reiterate what you said.

[00:35:30] And to remind myself is, is don't be, don't be afraid. Don't be afraid, you're loved, you're supported, whether you don't know, you don't know that or not, you've got family, you've got friends, they support you, they love you, whether you succeed or whether you fail. Just continue going with strength and with courage and confidence.

[00:35:49] Ryan Berman: How are we going to keep an eye on you? Keep on the fight. Congratulations with everything. Stay courageous out there. Thanks, Brian.

[00:35:55] Dr. Howard Berman: Take care.

[00:35:57] Ryan Berman: Thanks for tuning in to this episode of the courageous podcast. If you enjoy the show, don't forget to rate and review us on Apple podcasts so more people can find us.

[00:36:06] See you again next week.

Stay in Contact

If you wish to connect with Ryan via one of the many social media platforms, please use one of the links below.

Click Here to Signup
for Weekly Dose of Courage