LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 7 September 2012 - All eyes will be on Stockholm over the next few days as the much-anticipated 16th Congress of the European Federation of Neurological Societies (EFNS), held September 8–11, brings together more than 5,000 neurologists from all over the world. The congress will provide a platform for specialists in neurology to study current research, clinical practices and treatments by offering presentations from world experts, focused workshops, and teaching courses and symposia.
The sponsors of this year’s meeting include a veritable who’s who of pharmaceutical companies, with Lundbeck and Teva Pharmaceuticals heading the group as prominent sponsors and Abbott, Pfizer and Novartis featuring as major sponsors. Other key industry sponsors include GSK, Boehringer Ingelheim, GE Healthcare, UCB and Biogen Idec. An overview of the satellite symposia sponsored by these industry leaders quickly reveals where their interests lie, which is mainly in Alzheimer’s disease (6 out of 13 symposia) and Parkinson’s disease (4 out of 13 symposia).
Alzheimer’s disease has featured heavily in the news recently following the failure of two major drugs in Phase III of development, Pfizer’s bapineuzumab, and Eli Lilly’s similar drug solanezumab. Undoubtedly, this year’s EFNS congress will provide an opportunity for discussions on the way forward when it comes to the future of Alzheimer’s treatment. The amyloid theory has been put to the test by these disappointing trials, and data on bapineuzumab’s efficacy at targeting amyloid is highly anticipated as Pfizer/Janssen present details of the unsuccessful trials. In addition to their presentation Pfizer will also host a symposium titled, “Alzheimer’s disease progression: Advancing our understanding”. Lundbeck will similarly be offering a symposium entitled, “Challenges and opportunities in Alzheimer's disease”. GE Healthcare will offer a symposium addressing early diagnosis of AD, whereas Novartis will focus on improving current available treatments for AD with a symposium entitled, “Improving outcomes in Alzheimer’s disease with high dose cholinesterase inhibitor therapy”.
The other hot topic at this year’s EFNS congress will be another neurodegenerative disorder, Parkinson’s disease. Discussions will focus on current Parkinson’s treatments, with Abbott and Britannia co-sponsoring a symposium titled, “Is earlier initiation of continuous dopaminergic stimulation (CDS) therapy beneficial in advanced Parkinson's disease? A debate”, while Teva and Lundbeck will co-sponsor a symposium titled, “Optimizing symptomatic control in Parkinson's disease”. UCB will also offer an interesting discussion titled, “What do Parkinson's disease and diamonds have in common?”
Finally, although there are numerous anti-epileptic drugs on the market, there still remains a large unmet need in the field of epilepsy, since 20-30% of all epilepsy patients are unresponsive to current treatments. As such the EFNS congress will feature a joint session with the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) discussing treatment of epilepsies and there will be several teaching courses centered on diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy. The congress also highlights the latest treatments in the field of epilepsy, with GSK sponsoring a symposium showcasing retigabine (Trobalt), the latest anti-epileptic drug on the market that also features a first-in-class mechanism by targeting potassium channels.
Neurological disorders pose an enormous medical and economic burden, and according to the World Health Organization (WHO) they account for almost 11% of disease burden the world over; this is only projected to rise, to 14.7% by 2020. The high prevalence of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and epilepsy is further compounded by the fact that diseases of the central nervous system are very difficult to treat, owing to insufficient understanding of this complex and pivotal part of our physiology. Congresses such as this year’s EFNS present a necessary platform for discussions and debates that may advance our ability to reduce the burden of neurological disease, and pharmaceutical companies are an essential part of this discussion.
Focus on Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Epilepsy as the 16th Congress of the EFNS Commences
Related research: Alzheimer’s Disease Therapeutics - Global Drug Forecasts and Treatment Analysis to 2020
This expert insight was written by Sally Chege PhD, GlobalData's analyst for Neurology. For more information, or to request an interview, contact our press office on the details below.
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