This week, UCB will present at AES2020, the American Epilepsy Society’s (AES) virtual meeting – one of the largest meetings of researchers, scientists, and advocacy groups in the field – where we are proud to showcase the work we have been doing with and on behalf of the epilepsy community. UCB will showcase 15 scientific posters highlighting the latest research on our epilepsy portfolio and pipeline.
While AES provides an opportunity to share our latest research and the ways that it may improve the lives of patients, it also gives us a moment to reflect. This year has been challenging for everyone, including people living with epilepsy who have had to manage the challenges of a serious, chronic condition in the midst of a global pandemic. It is because of these challenges that I am closing out 2020 humbled and with immense appreciation for our team, who have proven, more than ever, their unrelenting and steadfast commitment to improving the lives of people who live with this condition every day.
The promise of our medicines and solutions
Across UCB, I have been struck by the many ways our team has been motivated to work even harder – and faster – to provide the medicines and support patients need. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made great strides in continuing to advance science to better meet the needs of people with epilepsy – whether partial-onset seizures, seizure clusters, or primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures (PGTCS).
Last month, for example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved one of our current medicines for people living with PGTCS,1 a type of seizure that happens all over the brain – affecting both sides from the start.2 The recent FDA approval gives people living with PGTCS a chance for more control of their seizures. UCB will host a symposium with investigators on Friday, December 4, during AES2020 to further discuss what this decision means for patients.
Breaking the barriers to better care
At UCB, we realize that to truly make an impact on patients’ lives, we must go beyond developing and delivering medicines. It takes new thinking and bold action to bridge the disconnect between what our healthcare system offers to people living with epilepsy, and the innovative treatment options patients need to better manage their condition.
This year, we took our digital business transformation to new heights, investing more deeply in data and technology to enhance the way care is delivered, ultimately improving our solutions for patients. We believe, through this transformation, a more patient-centric healthcare ecosystem is possible. As part of this work, we recently announced a new collaboration with Medisafe, an integrated medication management platform. This collaboration supports epilepsy patients in starting – and staying – on track with treatment regimens, including certain UCB medicines, and gain access to personalized patient support resources throughout their treatment journey.
Additionally, in the battle against a global pandemic and as members of the COVID R&D Alliance, we, along with two other members of the alliance, recently announced the first patient enrolled in the COMMUNITY Trial (COVID-19 Multiple Agents and Modulators Unified Industry Members). COMMUNITY is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, adaptive platform trial that enables an array of therapeutic candidates to be studied in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
We were also the first pharmaceutical company to join the COVID Moonshot project, a collaboration of the brightest minds in biopharma, academia, and technology, to crowdsource drug designs to test against the virus. When we realized using our internal servers for data collection was not going to be tenable in the time frame in which we wanted results, we obtained a grant from Microsoft to use their platform to data-crunch, shortening the amount of time it would typically take from six months, to just three days. Since joining the project, in partnership with researchers and scientists around the world, we have used AI and data collection to identify more than 1,000 compounds.
A look ahead to 2021
We are excited about these recent developments, as they show how UCB is committed to continually transforming the way care is delivered for people living with epilepsy today and in the future. We are looking forward to the ongoing development of a new software as a medical device that utilizes advanced analytics to support decision-making with a view to improving care pathways for people living with drug-resistant epilepsy. Next year, we hope to see the launch of a new digital platform that will help improve communications between healthcare providers, patients, and caregivers, with the goal of helping them make data-driven, personalized decisions together.
As we close out this year with a strong showing at AES2020, and prepare for the year ahead, we are proud of the tremendous progress we have made in creating better experiences for people living with epilepsy. While this year has been anything but normal, the challenges we have faced reaffirm our passion and dedication to not only delivering better treatments, but ensuring we are doing everything we can to create a better day-to-day experience for people living with epilepsy.
About the Author
Mike Davis is Head of U.S. Neurology. Leading the neurology business in the U.S., Mike is committed to transforming our business to deliver maximum value to people living with epilepsy and Parkinson's disease. Read more.
U.S. FDA. “Supplemental Approval,” 16 November 2020.
Epilepsy Foundation, “Types of Seizures,” https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/types-seizures. Accessed 2 December 2020
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