In the media
ActivMed at leading edge of Alzheimer’s research
There’s a level of satisfaction to operate a business that grows itself and its bottom line.
Terry Stubbs enjoys that satisfaction as founder and president of ActivMed Practices & Research Inc. with the expansion of the business from Newington to larger offices at Pease International Tradeport, the hiring of more staff and the opening of two additional offices in the region.
But she enjoys an extra level of satisfaction knowing that her business – conducting clinical research trials – is also at the leading edge of medical science and could have a significant role in finding a way to stop or prevent the scourge of Alzheimer’s.
ActivMed is currently doing clinical trials for Biogen on a drug that might potentially find a way to prevent memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s, a progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age, due to generalized degeneration of the brain.
ActivMed will also start separate trials soon on a medical device that uses light therapy to address Alzheimer’s memory loss.
“I think there’s going to be new devices to treat symptoms and medications to reverse or stop the process from continuing,” said Stubbs, ActivMed president and CEO. “I think you’re looking at five to seven years.”
The issue of Alzheimer’s is so important to Stubbs that her ActivMed is offering free screenings for memory cognition. All anyone has to do is call to make an appointment that includes a primary evaluation, then, if necessary a follow-up tests.
Individuals are given copies of their reports, and, if memory loss is indicated, are encouraged to follow up with their primary care physicians. Sometimes, according to Stubbs, memory loss can be attributed to emotional issues such as stress. But, she noted, it’s better to know than not to know.
“If it’s something, it’s not going to get better on its own,” she said.
Stubbs has a degree as a medical assistant and is a certified clinical research coordinator. She started her own business 23 years ago, after serving a five-year mentorship with a doctor in Peabody, Massachusetts. Her business began in Newburyport, Massachusetts, then moved to Salisbury, Haverhill and finally to Methuen, Massachusetts, to accommodate the needs of her growing staff and the testing requirements of a diverse ethnic and demographic population.
Her interest in the Seacoast started with an inquiry from a physician in the area who felt the population needed access to medical research, leading her to occupy two floors of the renovated Beane Farm on Woodbury Avenue in Newington until her move in June 2016 to her new offices at 110 Corporate Drive at Pease.
She’s been in the market for new space for some time, feeling squeezed in the 2,800 square feet at Beane Farm and wanting to get everybody – clients and staff – on a single floor.
“We need everything on one level,” said Stubbs on a walk through the 5,500 square feet at the tradeport with its space for conference/training area, private room for pharmaceutical audits, staff lounge area, exam rooms, and reception area.
Her growth has been significant enough to – in addition to the offices in Methuen and Portsmouth – add new facilities in Beverly and Lawrence, Massachusetts. And she has added staff, up from 20 to 41 people across all the offices, with four full-timers and a part-timer hired recently in Portsmouth.
With the current Biogen study, ActivMed is one of several sites around the world where the trial medication is being tested. Biogen, which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said about 1,350 people with symptoms of early Alzheimer’s will take part in the study.
The study consists of both a placebo phase and a phase in which participants take the actual drug for an extended period. According to Biogen, participants have a two-in-three chance of receiving the investigational medication, while the remaining participants receive the placebo, which contains no medication.
According to Stubbs, researchers always have an idea of what they might find during the trials – called the predictive results. But, sometimes, tests reveal a different outcome. Stubbs points out that Viagra, used to treat erectile dysfunction in men, was originally tested as a medication to reduce blood pressure.
The other study coming to ActivMed that Stubbs is excited about involves a device that uses a light treatment to see if that can improve the cognitive function of those with Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Early tests, she said, have shown some positive results, adding, “I’m excited about that one.”
“The brain is the final frontier in medicine,” Stubbs said. “It has so many things that we’re studying and finding out about and treating.”
ActivMed is on the short list for the 2017 Corporate LiveWire Healthcare & Life Sciences Awards that highlight the most innovative firms and individuals who have made a different in their industry.
As she grows, Stubbs said she’ll continue to do her research into the burgeoning medications and medical devices that she’ll offer ActivMed for testing. “If it’s something that I’d want for my parents, I’ll take it,” she said.
More than half of her business comes from companies seeking her out. She’s had success over the years helping develop such advances as medications for diabetes and a bone-density measuring device.
“Mostly they come to me knowing that we have a great history,” she said.
First Published on www.seacoastonline.com