What is your current role in EPAD?
I have recently joined the executive committee of EPAD. The executive committee is suggested to follow up on the project to see if everything is performed as planned and help coordinate between different ongoing activities. As well, it is a group that can react to new developments e.g. if new partners want to join. The group is composed by representatives from different academic and industry partners in EPAD.
As a contributor from a pharmaceutical company, I am bringing my experience in early drug development into the group, with a specific focus on studying very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, which has specific challenge in identification of study participants and clinical as well as biomarker measures.
What did you do prior to joining EPAD?
I have very recently been co-leading EMIF-AD as a subproject of IMI EMIF (European Medical Information Framework). This project targeted the understanding of very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Important questions where (I) how can we identify subjects that will later develop dementia very early (e.g. before they have clinical symptoms of the disease, (II) are there markers that predict faster (or slower) progression of symptoms, (III) how can we best coordinate between different centers and identify subjects in existing databases. This last activity was actually a very important activity supporting EPAD as well.
Tell us a bit about the institution/company/organisation you work for.
UCB biopharma is a mid-size Belgium pharmaceutical company, with a specific interest in therapies directed towards immunologic or neurologic disease. We are aiming at creating value for patients through novel therapeutic approaches. My training was as a medical doctor and I am specialized as Neurologist and Psychiatrist. The group I am heading is responsible for the first clinical studies in human volunteers and patients with the selected diseases. The methodologies are the precise same methodologies that are used in projects like EPAD or EMIF-AD.
What are your expectations from the EPAD project
I am very passionate about EPAD, as I will that the novel approach to Alzheimer disease studies. These studies need a broad collaboration and engagement of different stakeholders (e.g. patient organization, academic investigators, clinical research organizations and pharmaceutical industry).
EPAD is very well fitting in this frame and bringing all the right people to the table. The engagement and spirit in the group is wonderful, so I feel we have all ingredients for a successful projects and make a significant contribution towards a successful treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.