Alastair D. Reith
Senior Director, External Innovation
Alastair has over 25 years’ experience in the field of signalling research & drug discovery – gained in academic, charitable and pharmaceutical industry sectors in UK and North America. He is currently Senior Director, External Innovation, R&D in GSK – integrating external capabilities to expedite internal drug discovery & development projects and identifying new external asset opportunities for GSK’s R&D pipeline. In leading GSK’s LRRK2 Inhibitors Projects for Parkinson’s Disease for over a decade, Alastair incorporated preclinical and clinical studies through a blend of internal and external capabilities to ensure GSK is at the leading-edge of Pharma Industry efforts to develop a disease-modifying treatment for Parkinson’s disease. This was founded on a broader earlier track record in platform-based kinase inhibitor drug discovery, forging successful external drug discovery Alliances with academic & commercial partners, external technology platform evaluations leading to company acquisition, innovative routes to utilise assets from de-prioritised drug discovery programs and open access provision of tool compounds to the research community. Outside of GSK, Alastair has served on various expert advisory groups for Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, BBSRC and Institute for Cardiovascular & Metabolic Research and was a Visiting Professor, School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading, UK. Prior to joining the Pharmaceutical Industry, Alastair led an academic research group at Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University College London following work as a NATO postdoctoral fellow at Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Toronto. He held an MRC PhD Studentship at National Institute for Medical Research and received a PhD in Biochemistry from Imperial College University of London.
Executive Director & Head, Hatfield Research Laboratories,
Neurology Business Group, Eisai
Andy Takle is a medicinal chemist by background with over 25 years of experience in the biomedical research arena. He is currently Head of the Hatfield Research Laboratory: Neurology Innovation Centre, one of four research sites within Eisai's Neurology Business Group. At Eisai, his group is focused on the discovery of novel treatments for neurodegenerative conditions whilst utilising a variety of Open Innovation approaches to collaborate with academic and biotech partners. Prior to joining Eisai, Andy was Director of Translational Research at Cancer Research UK, where he was responsible for the review, funding and oversight of the charity’s portfolio of drug discovery, biomarker discovery and cancer imaging research activities. Prior to this, he was Director of Medicinal Chemistry in the Neurology and GI CEDD at GSK, supporting a portfolio of projects in pain, migraine, neurodegeneration and GI motility disorders.
Head of Neuroscience Research
Angel Cedazo-Minguez is the Head of Neurodegeneration cluster in the Neuroscience Therapeutic Area at Sanofi, based in Chilly-Mazarin, Paris, France. Prior to joining Sanofi in 2017, Angel was Professor in Molecular Neurogeriatrics at Karolinska Institutet (KI) (Sweden). He was also Vice-head of the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society and co-director of the Center for Alzheimer’s Research at KI, a translational center formed by more than 80 scientists investigating pathology, diagnostic markers and targets for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Angel received his Ph.D. in Medicine from KI in 2002 and was named Associate Professor in 2010. From 2013 to 2017, he was appointed co-director of the Swedish Brain Power (SBP), a national network of centers of excellence to combat neurodegenerative disorders. SBP brings together the most prominent Swedish researchers in this field, joining forces in an attempt to propel the early diagnostics, treatment and care for patients with AD, Parkinson´s Disease or ALS. Angel currently holds his association to KI as professor in leave of absence. Angel’s work has been focused on investigating the pathological mechanisms by which known risk factors contribute to AD and PD, with projects towards understanding fundamental alterations in antioxidant systems, mitochondrial deficits and the metabolism of cholesterol and glucose in the brain. He has authored more than 90 scientific publications, has been the recipient of several awards and honors, and is regularly invited to give scientific talks around the world. He served as external advisor of several national and international research programs, including JPND (EU), H2020 (EU) FP7 IDEA (EU), ERA-NET (EU), Alzheimer’s Association (USA), ATIP-AVENIR (France) and CIBERNED (Spain).
Director of Research
Alzheimer's Research UK
A dynamic R&D professional and drug development expert with over 30 years of experience within UK and US based major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies with a focus on drug acquisition and profiling of NCEs and biologics. A combination of preclinical and clinical experience gives the advantage of being able to apply a strong scientific rationale and innovative experimental approaches to clinical development, of particular relevance for early profiling of preclinical and clinical candidates and for obtaining early proof of mechanism/concept. Results driven and with a coaching management style, engages easily with collaborators and colleagues at all levels, from junior discovery technicians to board level decision makers. Prior role in GSK Biopharmaceuticals included leading drug discovery and development activities across a number of therapeutic areas particularly in the areas of immuno-inflammatory diseases and neuroscience and with an emphasis on translational medicine. Also has experience managing a semi-philanthropic dementia fund with a key focus on identifying and developing novel disease-modifying mechanisms for the treatment of all types of dementia, sourcing opportunities from academic research groups and small companies. The fund invests in therapeutic and enabling opportunities from target validation to early clinical development. Finally, current expertise includes leading the research strategy across Alzheimer’s Research UK for response-mode funding, strategic funding and global projects.
Senior Research Scientist
Jo Jackson is a Senior Research Scientist based at Lilly UK and has experience in both academia and industry. She leads a team of preclinical neuroscientists and is responsible for the in vivo neurodegeneration research platform to inform drug discovery studies. This role includes project support, model development and validation, and development of novel technologies. As well as being a lead biologist on early phase drug discovery projects, she has also managed the scientific activities of multi-site discovery teams and cross-company collaborations. Her background is in in vivo imaging with a focus on neuroplasticity changes in neurodegeneration.
Senior Research Fellow & Head of Translational Neuroscience
Hugh Marston is Senior Research Fellow and Head of Translational Neuroscience at Lilly’s Erl Wood Manor research site in Surrey supporting all of Lilly’s active neuroscience programmes. Erl Wood’s research focus covers novel approaches designed to modify neurodegeneration, chronic pain and effective neurosymptomatic intervention. Hugh originally trained as a psychopharmacologist at Cambridge and now has over 25 years’ experience in various forms of drug discovery research. Most recently he was Head of Pharmacology at IOMet Pharma (pka TPP GD) a virtual pharma company acquired by Merck in 2016. Prior to that he has lead neuropharmacology teams at Merck, Schering-Plough and Organon working on projects principally in the psychiatry area from discovery through to launch. As such, he has had a long-standing interest in transforming our ability to translate science to and from the clinic across the neuroscience disciplines. As part of his role at Lilly he is a member of the EFPIA InnomedS core group and co-chairs the SGG-ND while also acting as Project Leader of the IMI2 PRISM project. PRISM is an industry/academe EU funded consortium that is seeking to find translatable, quantitative biological phenotypes in CNS disorders. He maintains an active interest in academic research through collaboration and strong links with several UK Universities and to date 70+ peer reviewed publications and five granted patents.
Jan Egebjerg Jensen
Senior Director, Neurodegeneration Discovery Biology
Jan Egebjerg: Senior director and responsible for drug discovery for neurodegenerative disorders at Janssen. Prior to joining Janssen (2018) 18 years with Lundbeck in different roles from HoD Molecular Neurobiology to VP for neurodegeneration and biologics. Held before a faculty position at University of Aarhus and has been HoD for Molecular Genetics at Novo Nordisk
Jan Torleif Pedersen
Director, Therapeutic Biology Lead, Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia,
Jan Torleif Pedersen is a PhD in biophysics and has for the past 22 years worked in neuroscience drug-dicovery, focusing on neurodegeneration and particularly Alzheimers disease. Jan is currently a director and the therapeutic biology lead at H. Lundbeck A/S in Copenhagen Denmark. In this role he has contributed to the development of a comprehensive pipeline of both disease modifying and potentially novel symptomatic treatments for Alzheimers disease. More recently, Jan has developed a tau antibody that specifically targets hyper-phosphorylated neuropathological tau which is currently being evaluated in the clinic.
Luc Ver Donck
Scientific Director, Head of Alzheimer Disease Animal Models,
Neuroscience Discovery, Janssen
Obtained a Master’s degree in Biology and a PhD in Medical Sciences at University of Leuven and joined Janssen R&D to work in Drug Discovery since. Contributed to the discovery of several new drugs that went into clinical testing for cardiovascular diseases, gastrointestinal disorders and most recently in neurodegeneration, with a focus on Alzheimer’s disease. The research is focused on animal models of disease, but also has background in in vitro technologies. Holds several patents and authored 70+ peer reviewed papers and book chapters.
Dr. Schmidt is a Senior Director in Experimental Medicine for Janssen Pharmaceutica in Beerse, Belgium. He received his medical degree from the University of Chicago in 1983 and entered postgraduate training in psychiatry in the US Navy. Dr. Schmidt was a research fellow in the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) where he focused on the use of functional imaging as a pharmacodynamic marker. Following fellowship, he worked at Lilly, Novartis, and now Janssen. He is responsible for clinical testing of NMEs for psychiatric indications through proof of concept, and has led a preclinical imaging group for development of site specific PET tracers and then qualifying them in human. He has authored over 75 peer-reviewed manuscripts, reviews, and book chapters, many on the use of imaging for CNS drug development.
Acting Chief Scientific Officer
Nathalie Cartier obtained her Medical degree from the University Paris Descartes in Paris where she specialized in Pediatrics. She became Research Director at INSERM and Professor at University Paris Descartes. Her research interest focuses on the development of gene therapy approaches for severe neurodegenerative diseases. She developed the pioneer work on hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy for X-linked Adrenoleukodystrophy, first clinical trial using an HIV-derived lentiviral vector and is Co-PI in gene therapy clinical trials for Adrenoleukodystrophy and metachromatic leukodystrophy. Her research lab at INSERM (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale) at Hôpital Pitié Salpêtrière in Paris is located at Insitute for Brain and Spine (ICM). Her lab focuses on AAV gene therapy for Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington‘s disease and Spinocerebellar ataxias, amyotrophic lateral Sclerosis. Her lab is particularly interested in brain metabolism and in modulation of brain cholesterol. Nathalie Cartier was member of the Scientific Committee of INSERM and former President of the European Society for Gene and Cell Therapy (ESGCT). She is currently President of the scientific committee of the French Foundation for Rare Diseases. She received from the French Government the Medal of the Legion d’Honneur. Nathalie Cartier is co-founder of BrainVectis Therapeutics, as well as its acting scientific CSO.
Director, Head of Neurodegeneration
Patrick Downey obtained his PhD from the medical school at Bristol University, and held post doc positions at Bristol University and L’ Universita degli studi di Padova in Northern Italy before joining Schering Plough in Milan where he spent seven years leading a small team working on Neuropathic pain. He joined UCB Pharma in 2009 and is currently a research director and head of the Neurodegeneration team.
Chief Scientific Officer
Dr Ralph Laufer is the Chief Scientific Officer at Lysogene, a Paris-based clinical stage biotech company developing gene therapies for rare neurological diseases. Before joining the company, Dr Laufer was Senior Vice President at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries in Israel, where he managed small molecule discovery, nonclinical development and CMC, leading a team of over 400 scientists in 5 global sites. Prior to that, he was the Scientific Director of IRBM Science Park, a drug discovery CRO in Rome, Italy. Previously, Dr Laufer was Head of Pharmacology at IRBM-Merck Research Laboratories Rome. He is the recipient of the American Chemical Society 2013 Heroes of Chemistry Award for his role in the discovery of Isentress (raltegravir), the first integrase inhibitor approved for use in HIV infected patients. Dr Ralph Laufer holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and trained as an EMBO postdoctoral fellow at the Molecular Neurobiology lab of the Institut Pasteur in Paris. His scientific achievements include the discovery of the tachykinin NK-3 receptor and the anti-obesity activity of ciliary neurotrophic factor. He is the author of 90 scientific articles and inventor on 20 patents.
Global Director of Research and Development
The Cure Parkinson's Trust
Richard Wyse is Global Director of Research and Development at the The Cure Parkinson's Trust; Duration : 2007 – present, where he supports a very large and diverse global clinical trials programme in patients with Parkinson’s disease, as well as running many focused pre-clinical studies that feed directly into this clinical initiative. He previously worked at :- Brompton Hospital, London 1969-1970. Great Ormond Street Hospital, London 1970-1991. Pharmaceutical industry in USA and UK, 1992-1997. Hammersmith Hospital, 1997-2005. Trustee, Council Member and President of Medical Genetics at the Royal Society of Medicine, London, 2005-2007.
Head of Research, Neuropsychiatry Centre for Therapeutic Innovation
After completing a PhD in neuroscience at University College London, I started my career at a start-up Biotechnology & Contract Research Organization called Neurosolutions based at the University of Warwick in the UK, where my initial focus was to establish an electrophysiological platform to study synaptic impairments induced by beta-amyloid oligomers. Over the following 10 years at Neurosolutions, I worked across a number of therapeutic domains including pain, depression, epilepsy, schizophrenia, and both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, delivering to internal drug discovery projects and working externally with many partners across the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. With a significant passion to find effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, I then moved closer to drug development by joining Lundbeck, a Danish pharmaceutical company focused solely on the neurosciences. As Director of Neurodegeneration In Vivo, for the following three years I led a research department working on a range of projects from exploratory research to late stage clinical development in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and including both small molecule and immunotherapy-based approaches. With the experience gained in targeting the pathological proteins that contribute to neurodegenerative disease, at Servier I now lead a team of highly committed and talented neuroscientists focused on bringing forward new treatments for proteinopathies and other diseases of the central nervous system.
Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Butt obtained a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry from the University of Dundee, Scotland, UK and a Ph.D. degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. He was a Staff Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, before joining SmithKline Beckman (now GSK) Pharmaceuticals. He worked in several therapeutic areas during his 14 years in the SmithKline organization, where he was Assistant Director in Research and Development. Dr. Butt serves as an Adjunct Professor in Biomedical Engineering at Drexel University, Philadelphia and is active in various national and regional professional organizations, including several dedicated to biotechnology. He has a track record of establishing successful biotech companies that are profitable and has raised several million dollars in revenue and brought numerous technologies and products to the market. Dr. Butt is a co-founder of Progenra, Inc.
University of Gothenburg
Ulf Andreasson is an associate professor at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg and he has been working in the Neurochemistry laboratory in Mölndal (Sweden), run by Professor Kaj Blennow since, 2004. Dr Andreasson is a biochemist by training and his main research focus is on biomarkers in neurodegenerative disorders, with a focus on Alzheimer’s disease, both regarding identifying novel candidates and method development. He has co-authored more than 120 scientific papers and has a current h-index of 41.