Around 80 researchers and representatives from the pharmaceutical and biotech industries came together to seek innovation opportunities at the University of Edinburgh’s Horizons in Neuroscience conference, hosted by EI.
The event aimed to ignite ideas in the fields of developmental, regenerative and degenerative neuroscience and to explore opportunities for translating research into commercial development.
The conference was opened by Professor Siddharthan Chandran, Director of Edinburgh Neuroscience, and Dr Andrea Taylor, EI’s Head of Business Development for the University’s College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine (CMVM).
‘It’s been amazing’
Thematic sessions were then presented by Edinburgh academics and colleagues from Amsterdam and Glasgow, plus industry leaders. Talks were on the themes of development, regeneration, degeneration and challenges in translational neuroscience.
“It’s been amazing. I’ve been taking plenty of notes because I’ve learned a lot.
“Roche as a company feels science has no borders, innovation happens everywhere, and a lot of it happens in academia. It’s really only by collaborating and finding opportunities to share knowledge that we can help one another make progress.”
– Paulo Fontoura, Head and Senior Vice-President, Neuroscience and Rare Diseases Clinical Development, Roche.
Industry partners at the event ranged from pharmaceutical giant Roche to SMEs and recent startups, as well as venture capital investors active in the neuroscience sector.
“We’ve got a very diverse audience. There have been a lot of questions from industry participants, asking about facilities, and lots of great discussions about the science.
“We’ve got that translational industry-to-academic bridging going on. Everyone’s very enthusiastic.”
– Neil Carragher, Professor of Drug Discovery and Director of Translation.
‘Great example of joint event’
The conference follows the recent establishment of the CMVM Translational and Commercialisation Board and associated Vision, to boost industrial relationships and the impact research is making to patients and society.
“It’s a very positive time. We’re trying to optimise the relationship between the business development function of EI with the strategy of the College’s institutes.
“This is a great example of a joint EI and CMVM event. Through events like this we are coming much closer together, so the College can help business development colleagues support us, by understanding what we’re doing, what our priorities are, what our challenges are.”
– Professor Neil Carragher.
Neuroscience has been identified as a focus for this new whole-College approach to translation and commercialisation, with Edinburgh a recognised centre of excellence in the neuroscience field.
“Edinburgh’s fantastically well positioned to capitalise on opportunities that new technologies bring to discovery innovation and translation for disorders of the brain across the life course.
“I hope today will spark ideas especially among early career researchers and give them confidence to be bold and imaginative.
“There are also influencers here who can take the reinforced message that Edinburgh is very serious in this area.”
– Professor Siddharthan Chandran.