EFPIA together with its member companies organised a week-long exhibition «Unlocking Tomorrow’s Cures» that took place in the European Parliament from 22 to 25 May. Throughout the week we welcomed around several hundred guests in the exhibition space and at our policy events. The exhibition was kindly sponsored by MEPs Lieve Wierinck (ALDE, Belgium), Adina Vălean (EPP, Romania) and Françoise Grossetête (EPP, France). We are grateful for their support for this initiative and for their continued work in the European Parliament to ensure that the European policy framework enables innovation and drives science forward.
The exhibition, which included interactive escape rooms and several workshops, gave participants the opportunity to learn directly from scientists about the medical innovation development cycle and about the long pathway that a molecule takes from the lab to reaching a patient. Importantly, during a plenary event on 24 May, we also discussed which policies are needed to ensure that Europe remains a global leader in life sciences.
Throughout the week, two escape rooms built in the exhibition space on the 3rd floor of the European Parliament provided the opportunity to learn in an interactive way about various steps that it takes to bring an innovative treatment to the market and the long development cycle averaging 12 years. Visitors could learn how medical breakthroughs have changed the lives of Hep C, HIV and diabetes patients over the past decades and about the treatments that our member companies are working on to deliver a healthier future for patients across Europe.
In a series of workshops, researchers and scientists from EFPIA member companies shared their incredible work: how industry is working to improve stroke treatment, how CAR-T is breaking frontiers in hematology, how industry is working to develop and improve the medicines that children can take. Workshop participants also had an opportunity to glance into the future of medical innovation: disease interception, vaccines of the future, tissue engineering and how stem cells can change delivery of care. Every hour, around 20 to 50 guests gathered to listen to and discuss with the speakers of the 12 workshops.
On 24 May, around 100 guests joined the plenary session «Driving innovation in health: How does Europe remain a global leader in life sciences?». In a series of fireside chats moderated by Jacki Davis, speakers together with the audience discussed what are the key enablers to innovation, and what policies need to be put in place to ensure that Europe remains a global leader in life sciences.
In their welcoming remarks, the sponsoring MEPs; Ms. Wierinck, Ms. Vălean and Ms. Grossetête, acknowledged the day-to-day commitment of scientists and their contribution to Europe’s ambition to lead in pharmaceutical innovation. Elizabeth Kuiper, Executive Director Public Affairs at EFPIA, stressed the pharmaceutical sector’s strategic role as a driver for jobs, growth, and innovation in Europe.
Through the first fireside chat, the role of collaborative research in accelerating patients’ access to innovative therapies was discussed. MEP Lieve Wierinck together with Mr. Salah-Dine Chibout (Global Head of Discovery & Investigative Safety / Global Head of Therapeutic Areas, Novartis Pharma AG, Chair EFPIA InnoMeds Priority Working Group) shared their views on how private-public partnerships and collaborative research projects have helped to drive forward innovation in the healthcare. Ms. Wierinck noted that, in a changing world, everyone has to work together to address medical challenges, and that the patient must be put at the centre of research. Mr. Chibout, on his side, noted that working separately does not help in terms of innovation and in this sense, IMI has been helpful in connecting researchers, the industry and academia.
In the following discussion, Mr. Simone Boselli (Public Affairs Director, EURORDIS) and MEP Adina Vălean reflected about the role of incentives in sustaining innovation in healthcare. MEP Vălean shared her views about the importance of putting in place the right ecosystem to foster innovation in Europe. Mr. Boselli focused on the challenges of developing paediatric medicines and noted the progress that has been achieved thanks to policy measures helping to translate science into treatments for patients with rare diseases.
In the third fireside chat, Mr. Matthew May (EUPATI Coordinator, European Patient Forum) and Mr. Tony Hoos (VP & Head of Medicinal for Europe, Amgen, Member of the Executive Team, Patient Focused Medicines Development) shared their views on how to empower patients to involve them in the development process of new medicines. Mr. May focused on his learnings on how to educate patients to advocate for their respective disease and to make them an integral part of the whole research process. Mr. Hoos noted that most stakeholders do not talk to each other. EMA engages patients in all parts, some HTAs do something, but there is no joint framework, what is the biggest challenge. He underlined the need for an integrated approach and noted that the NGO he represents, Patient Focused Medicines Development, was formed out of that need and seeks to address this gap.
In the final fireside chat, Ms. Olga Solomon (Head of Unit B5 Medicines: policy, authorisation and monitoring, DG SANTE, European Commission) together with Mr. Fredrik Moen (Director for External Affairs, The Swedish Institute for Health Economics, IHE) discussed their views on potential solutions to introduce future innovations into healthcare systems in a sustainable way. Ms. Solomon mentioned a need to break the mentality of working in silos and to support collaboration among all stakeholders to deliver treatments to patients. Mr. Moen called for unlocking the potential of data and outcome-based healthcare systems and for the long-terms models for incentivising research.
Through the exhibition and the events EFPIA demonstrated its commitment to remain a constructive partner to deliver innovative treatments to patients throughout Europe.
Download the presentations
- Immuno-Oncology- A new chapter in cancer treatment, Nathan Vastesaeger, Executive Director Medical Affairs Oncology - Europe, Middle East and Africa, MSD get_app
- Integrated Approaches in Diabetes Care – The 4 “D’s” - Jochen Maas (General Manager R&D, Sanofi Germany).pdf get_app
- Making medicines that children can take – the challenges of paediatric formulation, Alastair Coupe (Senior Director, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals).pdf get_app
- Migraine and CGRP - A new era for patients - Jan Versijpt.pdf get_app
- Prospects, advantages and challenges of innovative vaccines, Mel Kohn (Medical Director, Vaccines Europe, MSD) get_app
- Vaccines of the future (mRNA) - Kim Schmidt (Senior Research Scientist, CureVac) get_app
- Real World Data Platforms and Disease Interception - Martine Lewi (Scientific Director Clinical Innovation R&D, Janssen) get_app