Myelin Repair Foundation Donor Profile: Dr. John B. Simpson


Three words that describe John best,
is straight forward… … down-home, creative, steady. He has a lot of integrity. He is a very driven individual. Everybody knows that Dr. Simpson is a visionary. And he’s crazy. All very positive attributes. I got to know Dr. Simpson in 1999, when I
joined Foxhollow Technologies. I think I met him in the cath lab is where
I met him. When he was at Stanford. That goes back a long ways. We have been his counsel, his law firm
throughout all of his endeavors I think. And developed a very fine relationship
between business and friends. I have been interested for a long time in
developing and improving technologies to treat vascular disease–both in the coronary
as well as the peripheral arteries. John has made a major impact
in the medical device industry. He is so passionate about his work. Very hands on, and he’s there for
kind of every aspect of the project. He’s a very good mentor. He’s got a valance view,
and it’s coupled with his personality. It’s kind of an aw-shucks Midwest type of thing, that’s deceptive. He’s very shrewd, and very competent. His leadership in the field of innovation
has proven to many people that innovation really is a valuable component of being a physician. He’s a most unforgettable character. I was diagnosed with MS probably 20 years ago. And it occurred after being able to exercise without limitations on a Friday, and then on Monday having profound exercise limitations– difficulties walking from my bedroom to the kitchen. It was a scary event a little bit because
you realize that your father or your parent has something that, you know… you’re not
quite sure what the next day is going to hold. And he was taking this medication
that wore him down completely. I was introduced to the Myelin Repair Foundation
and introduced to Scott and had the fantasy that “yeah, wow, I don’t like what I am currently
doing, and maybe the Myelin Repair Foundation can help.” The values of the Myelin Repair Foundation match his core values which is helping patients as quickly as possible. The initial vision for the Myelin Repair Foundation was to really revolutionize the approach to medical research. He had a concept that he was going to be able get academics who were not used to working together to work together. In the field of academia, sometime they lose their way. It’s slow, and it can be ego-driven and siloed. They get all-concerned with
writing papers, getting grants, and doing things that don’t have a direct effect on patients. Very isolated from the pharmaceutical industry
which is necessary to actually take the discoveries that are made and actually get them to patients. There’s lots of patients needing lots of help. There are over 7,000 diseases and only a few
hundred have effective treatments today. Well when you’re dealing with patients who
are sick, ill, want to get better and don’t want to die–then you develop a sense of urgency. Our objective is to develop and demonstrate
the Accelerated Research Collaboration Model on myelin repair for MS, and by doing that
then have it apply to other diseases. The collaboration of that type of organization
with the private sector, with the entrepreneurial side, where
science and philanthropy and education can meet, Organizing and managing that process is a
really different way of operating than most non-profits, and I think it’s important for,
I think that really sets us apart because it’s critical to actually getting things to
the finish line, which is getting treatments to patients. And it’s unique. This is not just your every
day foundation with a cause, this is a foundation with a unique approach to solving
the problem that is intuitively incredibly obvious that it is the right way to do it–just get some
really smart people and make them work together. They don’t have any choice
they have to work together.