Bad news for neuroscience research as big pharma scale down their research and development activities in this area.
“Novartis has joined other pharmaceutical companies in abandoning traditional drug-discovery programmes that pursue treatments for brain disorders….. It follows similar moves by GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca, both based in the United Kingdom, which last year announced the closure of all their neuroscience research divisions globally. US-based companies Pfizer and Merck, as well as the French company Sanofi, have also pulled back on research into brain disorders. Rather than abandon neuroscience, however, Novartis says it will launch new programmes to study the genetics of psychiatric and cognitive disorders, in the hope of identifying new treatment strategies.”
More Cuts At AstraZeneca
“AstraZeneca will shed 7,300 jobs, over 10% of its workforce, including some 2,200 R&D positions; neuroscience research activities will see the most change. The company is shuttering its R&D site in Montreal and ending R&D activity in Södertälje, Sweden. Instead, a virtual neuroscience unit comprising 40 to 50 AstraZeneca scientists will work outside of the company’s labs, partnering with academic and industry scientists to conduct drug discovery and development.”
“These cut-backs will have an impact on MS. One of the great unmet needs in MS is better symptomatic treatments to treat spasticity, cognitive impairment, fatigue, pain, depression, bladder & bowel problems, sexual dysfunction, walking difficulties, incoordination, tremor, jumpy vision, seizures, flexor spasms, etc.”
“Big Pharma pulling out of neuroscience or downsizing will affect all these areas. We need to lobby industry to reverse this trend. I always maintain that the market for symptomatic MS therapies is as large if not bigger than the DMT market. The reason for this is that symptomatic therapies that work in MS are likely to work in other neurological disorders.”