Message from the Past-President of CINP concerning a new strategy to secure the future of CNS drug discovery

Anthony_PhillipsThe membership of CINP will be aware of the rapidly changing business model that has guided and supported the successful development of pharmacotherapies for the treatment of many brain-related disorders including most psychiatric conditions. Put simply, the disappointing  return on investment as highlighted by the estimate that only 8% of potential CNS drugs actually advance to clinical use, compared to 15% of candidate drugs in other areas of medicine, has led to the re-deployment of drug-development teams to other areas of medical research in many leading pharmaceutical companies throughout the world.  In an effort to move the discussion away from the nature and extent of this crisis toward an action plan for addressing the many contributing  factors, over and above the fiscal issues, a little over a year ago, CINP convened a summit in Munich entitled,  ‘Innovative partnerships to accelerate CNS drug development for improved patient care.’

One of the commitments made by CINP at that time was to ensure publication of the main recommendations stemming from these deliberations in major international journals, including a consensus white paper in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. It is with great pleasure that I can inform all members of CINP that a Commentary entitled ’Securing the future of drug discovery for central nervous system disorders’ was published in the December 2014 volume of Nature Reviews Drug Discovery (http://www.nature.com/nrd/journal/v13/n12/full/nrd4489.html). Furthermore, a more detailed consensus white paper is now in-press in IJNP and will appear in the New Year.

A follow-up meeting was held prior to the 29th CINP World Congress in June 2014 in Vancouver, Canada and the attendees  were charged with establishing 3 Priority Themes from the 10 Action Items developed during the 2013 Summit. Theme 1 will focus on development of novel trial designs in a manner that recognizes at the outset input from patients, regulators and those responsible for provision and payment of health care. The 2nd Theme will be the development of strategies to improve diagnosis, prevention and early treatment based on functional indices including the RDoC approach favored by Tom Insel, Director of the US National Institute of Mental Health. The 3rd and final Theme will address stakeholder interfaces and public engagement in the neuroscience of mental health. This should include the encouragement of meaningful commitments to prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of major mental health conditions across the life span. It was also felt that major efforts must be directed toward education of public opinion leaders and the general public alike about the obvious links between brain function and mental health/ill-health. Indeed a broader campaign to raise public awareness is already underway in conjunction with major economic fora such as G7 meetings and World Economic Forum Annual meetings in Davos, Switzerland.

In keeping with this long-term commitment, it is gratifiying to share the decision of Professor Shigeto Yamawaki Presdident of CINP to convene a new CINP Innovation Summit in April 2015 in Tokyo Japan. In addition to the further development of the Action Items and Themes described above, this meeting will introduce the emerging concept of Public Private Partnerships to a broader audience of opinion learders from Japan and other Asian countries. By encouraging closer collaboration between the pharmaceutical industry and academia, along with financial and governance input from national funding agencies, CINP hopes to facilitate novel effective partnerships that will ensure the development of new diagnostics and therapeutics for the cost effective treatment of central nervous system disorders. This is a particularly timely initiative, as brain disorders are now recognized by the WHO as being responsible for the greatest burden of disease throughout the World.

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