Augie Nieto spent his life improving others’ lives.
Before I ever had the privilege of meeting Augie, he’d already changed the world. He had pioneered the fitness industry. Through popularizing the LifeCycle and LifeFitness, he arguably created the fitness industry as we know it today. Through his innovations, millions of people now live better and fitter lives.
Through those accomplishments, he created friendships and bonds that would serve as a platform upon which to launch an even more impactful second act in life.
When Augie was diagnosed with ALS eighteen years ago, he experienced a period of deep emotional turmoil which he chronicled in his autobiography. He would emerge from that personal nadir hellbent on changing the world again. He would not tolerate a world where ALS had no effective treatments.
He marshaled all of his energy, talents, and incredible network of friends and supporters to his cause. He launched Augie’s Quest to Cure ALS to fund research for effective treatments for ALS.  He identified the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) as the drug discovery engine that he would fuel. He became the Chairman of our Board of Directors.
Since 2007, Augie Nieto served as the critical leader and supporter of ALS TDI. I use the word critical in both meanings. He was critical in that he was essential. I am certain that, without Augie, there would be no tegoprubart in clinical development for ALS. Without Augie, there might be no guidelines for preclinical drug testing in animal models of ALS. Without Augie, there would be no ALS Precision Medicine Program. Without Augie, there would be no robust preclinical drug pipeline at ALS TDI.
Augie was also critical in that he held us at ALS TDI to account. As Board Chair, Augie always kept his eye on the prize. With all of the many incremental steps that we all know are necessary to advance in a disease as challenging and puzzling as ALS, Augie consistently asked the key question – how does this strategy or program bring us to cures for ALS?
I am profoundly grateful to Augie for his trust, support, leadership, friendship, and inspiration. I am heartbroken from losing him. I am also emboldened by the example of the life he lived. I am uplifted by the resilience that he modeled. I’m excited to carry all of the lessons I learned from him forward, continuing to work with and grow the community that he built, to ultimately End ALS.
Fernando Vieira
CEO and Chief Scientific Officer at ALS TDI