Phil Gattone
President and CEO, Epilepsy Foundation

Warren Lammert
Chair of the Board of Directors, Epilepsy Foundation

Advancing new and effective therapies from discovery in scientists’ laboratories through clinical development, and ultimately to the benefit of patients with epilepsy, represents hope for an end to seizures, side-effects, and lives lost to epilepsy.

The Epilepsy Pipeline Conference showcases and brings together what the Epilepsy Foundation calls the “pipeline” (the new drugs, devices and diagnostics in various stages of development) and the “agents of change” (the community of researchers, industry professionals, companies, regulators, and financial partners, as well as advocates and family members, who are focused on bringing these new and innovative therapies to persons affected by epilepsy).

When operating in harmony, this community can bring innovative and effective new therapies to patients in an efficient and effective manner. But too often these natural partners operate in independent “silos,” which delays, sometimes indefinitely, the timely development and implementation of urgently needed therapies. Improving this state of affairs by helping bring about a common vision and sense of the urgency felt by patients and families and by facilitating partnerships that can bring together the expertise and funding support necessary to advance therapies though the complex and risky process of clinical development is what the Epilepsy Foundation has dedicated itself to in sponsoring this unique conference.

The Epilepsy Pipeline Conference is organized by the Epilepsy Therapy Project of the Epilepsy Foundation in close collaboration and partnership with the Epilepsy Study Consortium led by Dr. Jacqueline French. It is a biennial event that in alternating years partners with the long-standing Antiepileptic Drug and Device Trials Conference.

This year’s conference, the third, includes two days dedicated to scientific and industry updates on emerging device, drug, and alternative therapies. It also provides updates on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and epilepsy trials, the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), non-profit resources and support for new therapy development, new crowd-source funding models, and industry business development and venture capital perspectives on financing new therapies. The conference will also include the third annual “Shark Tank” Competition where finalists will compete for awards totaling $200,000 to accelerate new products, technologies, or concepts to help people with epilepsy. The final day of the conference is a day dedicated to people with epilepsy, families and advocates that will explore the broad landscape of current therapies for epilepsy, discuss the challenges facing people with epilepsy, and look at the pipeline and advances on the horizon.

The Epilepsy Foundation and the Epilepsy Therapy Project have worked together for the past decade to foster innovation in epilepsy, such as providing grants and support to 60 of the 120 drugs, devices, and diagnostics in the epilepsy pipeline. The recent merger of these two organizations has strengthened their collaborative partnership and investment in new therapy development. In 2015, the Epilepsy Foundation will provide more financial resources than ever before for new therapy development and research and will work to bring the local U.S. Epilepsy Foundations into partnership in the support of research and new therapies. The Foundation’s vision focuses on innovation, leveraging resources, and incentivizing partnership to bring more resources and more energy pulling together to support new therapies and increased awareness, education, empowerment, and community for families and people with epilepsy.

As fathers inspired by children living with the serious daily consequences of seizures and side-effects and risks of epilepsy, we share a passionate sense of urgency to make a difference for our kids and for every individual and family living with recurring seizures and their too often devastating impacts. One in three of those diagnosed with epilepsy have ongoing seizures despite all available therapies and at least 50 percent of people with epilepsy on treatment live with unacceptable side-effects from medications. Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) and other causes of mortality from epilepsy continue to take too many lives.

The Epilepsy Pipeline Conference is a source of inspiration and hope as well as an opportunity for the broad epilepsy community to celebrate and support the work of researchers and innovators working to make available new therapies and bring an end to seizures, side-effects, and lives lost to epilepsy.

In Epilepsy & Behavior; July 2014; 36: 130.

Reprinted with permission from Epilepsy & Behavior, Elsevier for Editorials.