World Alzheimer’s Day Highlights the Need for Innovation
Brussels 21 September
In Europe and worldwide, thanks to advances in the understanding of the dynamics of the disease that are being made at the genetic and molecular levels, healthcare biotech companies, both large and small, are working relentlessly on early detection and prevention to address the life-altering symptoms posed by Alzheimer’s disease- the most common cause of dementia globally.
Today, on World Alzheimer’s day, the global patient advocacy organisation ‘Alzheimer’s Disease International’ (ADI) reminds us of the stark statistics on the disease- that global incidence of Alzheimer’s disease is expected to quadruple within the next four decades, bringing the total number of people suffering to more than 100 million by the year 2050. Unfortunately as many as three-fourths of the 36 million people who currently have Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia have not been diagnosed (more info). With numbers projected to rise so rapidly, it is clear that an urgent solution must be found not only to increase early diagnoses, thus increasing the quality of life for patients, but also to prevent the on-set of the disease in the first place.
This week the United Nations, during a Summit on Non Communicable diseases (NCD), will recognise through a political declaration that Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases are a frequent and important cause of morbidity globally, thereby calling on worldwide action to take place to increase awareness of the disease as well as early diagnoses and prevention.
However, Alzheimer’s is a particularly complicated disease, developing new medicines for this illness is complex and getting them to the market for patients in Europe takes time. Innovation is urgently required and the biotech industry is determined to overcome the obstacles to better addressing patients’ needs.. Every year, EuropaBio receives a number of applications to their Most Innovative Biotech SME Award from small and medium-sized companies working on ground-breaking solutions to this common and degenerative disease.
Nathalie Moll, Secretary General of EuropaBio, of which many member companies are working on medicines for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia says: “The biotech and mainstream healthcare industry worldwide can work together and use World Alzheimer’s Day to highlight the plight of those suffering from the disease and of their families’. It is important that we get the message out there that prevention and early diagnoses are key and that appropriate funding and regulatory environments must support the development of solutions for patients and their families. ”
EuropaBio's mission is to promote an innovative and dynamic biotechnology based industry in Europe. EuropaBio, (the European Association for Bioindustries), has 62 corporate and 7 associate members operating worldwide, 2 Bioregions and 19 national biotechnology associations representing some 1800 small and medium sized enterprises.
About Healthcare Biotech:
Healthcare biotechnology refers to a medicinal or diagnostic product or a vaccine that consists of, or has been produced by the use of, living organisms. Often recombinant DNA (a form of DNA that does not exist naturally and which combines DNA sequences that would not normally occur together in order to establish new functions) forms the basis for such biotechnologically manufactured products. EuropaBio’s healthcare biotech companies are working in areas as diverse as: Orphan Medicinal Products (OMPs), Health Technology Assessment (HTAs), personalised medicine and rare diseases.