On 21 November 2018, EBC held one of its largest events yet, as part of its Value of Innovation series: “Enhanced engagement through public-private partnerships: sustaining therapeutic innovation to address patient needs. The event was an excellent showcase of the latest initiatives of EBC members and partners to key stakeholders, highlighting collaboration, innovation and multi-stakeholder engagement.

The day featured two keynote speakers, six presentations on R&D Breakthroughs in Brain Health, three presentations on Engaging Patients in Their Care and fifteen poster presentations on disease awareness initiatives. All presentations were selected through an independent panel based on predetermined criteria for the different sessions.

The agenda began with EBC Vice-President Prof. Patrice Boyer opening the day and introducing EBC; co-chairing the first half of the day with Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) Executive Director, Pierre Meulien, who also presented the work of IMI.

Keynote speaker Sohini Chowdhury, Deputy CEO of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, USA, spoke on the role of the non-profit sector in advancing novel therapies for brain diseases, highlighting that over the past two decades, non-profits have begun to play an increasingly visible role in supporting and advancing therapeutic development.  The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research is the leading private funder of Parkinson’s disease (PD) research, having funded over $800 million to date.  While supporting research is its primary aim, the Foundation has developed and engaged in a number of partnerships and collaborations in aid of its mission to bring new therapies to PD patients.  Since the founding of the Foundation, the Parkinson’s drug pipeline has undergone a renaissance, with more therapies in development than in decades.  The keynote address shared the various strategies the Foundation has employed to incentivize and accelerated Parkinson’s R&D.

The first session of the agenda was on R&D Breakthroughs in Brain Health and featured presentations on “R&D Breakthroughs in Neurology” (Prof. Wolfgang Oertel, European Academy of Neurology (EAN) and EBC Vice-President), “The Potential of PET-MR in differential diagnosis and prediction of cognitive trajectory in mind cognitive impairment” (Dr. Christopher Buckley, GE Healthcare), “Brain+ RECOVER: digital therapeutics app platform for brain rehabilitation” (Ulrik Ditlev Eriksen, Brain+), “How can we ‘crack’ the code of Multiple Sclerosis?” (Danny Bar-Zohar, Novartis), “Understanding the entorhinal cortex memory-system for novel biomarker and treatment development in Alzheimer’s disease” (Menno P. Witter,  Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, NTNU) and the “IMI PRISM Project: a quantative approach to neuropsychiatry” (Hugh Marston, PRISM Project/Eli Lilly). All presentation abstracts and speaker biographies can be found in the full programme booklet, included below.

Lunchtime saw not only food but also a wide array of multi-stakeholder initiatives on display through the Poster Session.  The call for posters outlined that all submissions were meant to highlight public-private partnerships specifically on disease awareness for CNS conditions, and the room brought together a wide array of posters on educational platforms, disease-specific awareness raising initiatives, new technologies, access to treatment and many more projects. All poster abstracts can be found in the programme booklet and all posters can be viewed here.

The afternoon began with an interactive session to get the audience involved in the discussion. Using the mobile application Slido, session moderator Donna Walsh (Executive Director, European Federation of Neurological Associations – EFNA) and a panel made up of representatives of the stakeholders in the room: Joke Jaarsma (patient perspective – President of the European Federation of Neurological Associations & EBC Treasurer), Andy Powrie-Smith (industry perspective – Communications Director at the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations – EFPIA) and Prof. Eero Castren (researcher perspective – Secretary General of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies – FENS). The discussion began with the panelists and then was put to the audience, with questions such as “what are the benefits of effective multi-stakeholder involvement in R&D in the brain health space?”, “what are the hurdles to effective multi-stakeholder involvement in R&D in the brain health space?” and “what should Healthcare Companies/Patients/Researchers START doing to improve research and enhance innovation in the brain health space?” posed to the audience through the app. The session was an excellent way to gauge the different views and opinions in the room and give all stakeholders present insight into what still needs to be done to ensure better communication and collaboration between the various stakeholders.

The afternoon continued into the Engaging Patients in their Care session, kicking off with a second keynote lecture by Prof. Guendalina Graffigna, Associate Professor at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Milan.

The session continued into three presentations on “Patients and Psychiatrists working in partnership for developing trust and effective care – why patient empowerment matters” (Hilkka Karkkainen, GAMIAN-Europe & Prof. Silvana Galderisi, EPA), “Assertive outreach projects can improve treatment continuity and long-term outcomes for people with Schizophrenia” (Dr. Stefan Pype, Janssen) and “MS in the 21st Century: a model for better patient engagement” (Vanessa Pott, Merck; David Yeandle and Pieter van Galen, MS in the 21st century Steering Committee Members). All presentation abstracts and speaker biographies are included in the programme booklet.

The full-day event came to a close after a fruitful and fascinating day of presentations and interaction, with a thank you address and next steps from EBC President, Prof. Monica Di Luca and EBC Executive Director, Frédéric Destrebecq. Thank you to all our industry partners and members as well as to the event steering committee, who has been working on the preparation and planning of the day over the last 6+ months.


This event was supported by: Boehringer-Ingelheim, GE Healthcare, Grünenthal, Janssen, Lundbeck, Merck, MSD and Novartis


Programme Booklet - Final Page logo_brochure