What is your current role in EPAD?
I am a biostatistician and therefore my key role is in the statistical work package (WP2). I have mostly been involved in writing the protocol for the proof-of-concept study, which has been evolving since I joined EPAD in February 2016. WP2 is also responsible for statistical modelling of the disease progression, which will contribute to our disease understanding.
What did you do prior to joining EPAD?
My education includes a PhD in statistics followed by a degree as Doctor of Science based on a thesis on frailty models (which is a kind of models used in survival data). I have worked in the pharmaceutical industry for almost my entire career (32 years!), first NovoNordisk and, now, Lundbeck, where I have a specialist position at the VP level. EPAD is only one of my duties. I also have a responsibility for scientific activities and help and advice my colleagues across all the company projects. I have recently finished being supervisor for an EU-funded PhD student working on adaptive dose-finding studies and this knowledge is helpful for the planning of the EPAD POC study. I also have an affiliation with the University of Southern Denmark as external professor.
Tell us a bit about the institution/company/organisation you work for.
Lundbeck is a pharmaceutical company focusing development on four diseases within psychiatry and neurology (depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson and Alzheimer’s). We market a range of products within the four indications as well as other CNS indications. Our vision is to strive for global leadership in psychiatry and neurology by improving the lives of patients. Lundbeck has around 5000 employees and is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark but is selling the products globally.
What are your expectations from the EPAD project?
With the aging population, our society has a big need both for preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease. However, experience has shown that drug development in Alzheimer’s disease is very difficult, for several reasons. Going into preventive treatments makes this even more difficult, so tackling drug development in this domain is a complex task. My expectation is that EPAD can make this drug development easier than it would be in a single company setup. While we are still working on getting the POC study up and running, my long-term expectation is that doing proof-of-concept in this way will be better and faster than alternative solutions.