Almost exactly one year ago, a team of us from Canale Communications hopped on a plane from San Diego to San Francisco for what would turn out to be a highly productive and enlightening day with the whole team from Prothena Corp., including the company’s founder and CEO Dale Schenk, Ph.D.
The main goal of our meeting that day was to gain a complete understanding of the scientific roots and mission of of Prothena so that, in the months that followed, we could help amplify a truly exciting story about therapies in development. We learned as much as we could that day about diseases caused by misfolded proteins, as well as inflammation and cell adhesion.
But the highlight of that day was no doubt spending uninterrupted time at the table with Dale, hearing of his fascination with the human brain and his devotion to pursuing science that can actually change the course of disease, rather than just treat symptoms. Even though Dale was the scientific founder of Prothena, it quickly became clear that he also set the cultural tone. He was brilliant but modest. He was highly collaborative and he made space in the conversation for everyone to contribute. His colleagues say the same was true in the lab. Dale enjoyed being challenged and encouraged smart risk-taking. He was generous with his smile and his attention. In his presence, you can almost forget he was a superstar scientist and businessman who had made a profound impact on the field of Alzheimer’s research.
We are beyond saddened that Dale passed away on Sept. 30, following pancreatic cancer. Our sympathy goes out to all of our friends at Prothena and to all who had the honor of knowing Dale. He is a man with a legacy of going against the grain to achieve great things, and he is an inspiration to all of us.