On Monday, over 350 leaders from the global neuroscience community, representing 145+ institutions from academia, government, industry, non-profit, and investment sectors, gathered in London for the inaugural World Neuroscience Innovation Forum.
The Forum, the first of this size to be held at The Francis Crick Institute, highlighted the future of R&D and patient care for those suffering from dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases.
MedCity launched its Neuroscience Network report for people to find out about the cutting-edge research that is happening in the region. In 2015, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias overtook ischaemic heart disease as the leading cause of death in England and Wales. This statistic is a stark reminder that dementias, and neurodegeneration diseases as a whole, are a growing concern globally and we are calling on our colleagues across the globe to collaborate with industry and academia within the region to help drive forward future neuroscience innovations.
The Forum was joint-hosted by Partners Healthcare and The Francis Crick Institute,and supported by MedCity, and featured seven plenary panel sessions spanning topics from the investment outlook in neuroscience to system readiness for new disease modify treatments. Attendees heard the latest insights and perspectives from over 30 executives and visionaries in neuroscience. With over five hours of debate and dialogue throughout the day, the Forum highlighted the hope and the near-term reality of discovering new treatments for neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases.
There was continued encouragement for those researching, investing, and advancing dementia therapeutics amidst the latest phase III setbacks – culminating in the announcement of the new Springboard Challenge, a planning grant program to seed new neuroscience initiatives.
The Forum also included two fireside chats – the morning session featured the chairman of Eli Lilly, John Lechleiter, PhD, who spoke about Eli Lilly’s commitment to dementia research and his personal views on the need to develop new targets and diagnostic tools to help expand our knowledge on known AD pathologies. Dr. Lechleiter encouraged the audience to maintain a positive long-term view on neuroscience as biomedicine R&D rarely has easy wins.
In the afternoon, Al Sandrock, MD, PhD, EVP, Chief Medical Officer and Head, Development and Worldwide Medical at Biogen was interviewed by Rudy Tanzi, PhD, speaking candidly about Biogen’s vision for aducanumab as one of the next possible treatments for dementia and the realities of therapeutic R&D.
Highlights from the Forum will be on the Partners HealthCare YouTube channel next week for those who would like to see a replay of the engaging discussions.