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With Chris Henderson (VP Neuromuscular & Movement Disorders Research Unit @ Biogen).
Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at 12:00 PM   Absolutely Free
NYU Langone Medical Center, 550 FIrst Ave

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Developing a drug for any neurodegenerative disease is long & expensive, & presents a high risk of failure. Yet this is a societal challenge we are bound to take up, & there is excitement about recent successes that provide significant clinical benefit for patients & their careers. Each of these has benefited from significant input from both academic & biotech/pharma scientists, so we need to build on this model. Yet the required interactions are hindered by funding constraints, red tape & most of all, an insufficient appreciation on both sides of the skill sets & data required for a program to succeed. Using examples from his experience as a translational neuroscientist in academia, a pharma lead for research & clinical development, & the advisor of a foundation whose role is to foster collaboration between industry & academic consortia, Dr. Henderson will propose some potential avenues to increase the speed & probability of success of our collective neurodegeneration pipeline.

Chris Henderson
VP, Neuromuscular & Movement Disorders Research & Early Development, Biogen, Cambridge, MA
Chief Advisor, Target ALS Foundation, New York, NY

Following training at the University of Cambridge (UK) & spending much of his career in France, Chris Henderson moved in 2005 to Columbia University in New York, where he co-founded the Center for Motor Neuron Biology & Disease, an initiative in translational neuroscience that created a continuum from research on motor neurons through to clinical research on the motor neuron diseases ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) & SMA (spinal muscular atrophy). He was also director of the Columbia Stem Cell Initiative, a group of 120 laboratories across the university using stem cells to better understand or treat human disease. While still at Columbia, he became (and remains) chief advisor of Target ALS, a privately-funded foundation that has stimulated industry investment in ALS research by supporting cutting-edge translational research & nationwide core facilities. In 2014, Trophos - a French biotech of which he was an academic founder - announced positive clinical trial data in patients with SMA & was acquired by Roche. This provided major motivation to become more actively engaged in the biotech world & in October 2014, Henderson moved to Biogen (Cambridge, MA) to lead the neuroscience research program. Now, as Vice President of Research & Early Development in Neuromuscular & Movement Disorders, he works with a team of clinicians & scientists to take programs on Parkinson's disease, ataxias, ALS, SMA & other neuromuscular diseases from early research to clinical proof of concept.
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