By Blair Jackson, Chief Operating Officer
Neurological and psychiatric diseases strike at the core of who we are as people, often irreversibly impacting many facets of life for affected individuals and those around them. While remarkable progress has been made in our understanding of and ability to treat these disorders over the last several decades, neurological or central nervous system (CNS) disorders remain the leading cause of disability and the second leading cause of death worldwide.
Globally, the numbers of deaths and people with disabilities stemming from neurological diseases have risen substantially across the last 30 years, with no signs of slowing. To address this rising global public health challenge, we need to focus on therapeutic development while moving away from a symptoms-based approach, applying deeper biological and mechanistic understanding to both diagnosis and treatment.
Alkermes’ heritage in neuroscience R&D leadership
As a company with more than three decades working in neuroscience, the gravity of this call to action is not new for us. Across our history as an organization, we have pioneered important new therapies for neurological and psychiatric disorders, which collectively have been used to treat hundreds of thousands of people living with serious and complex diseases, such as schizophrenia, bipolar I disorder, alcohol dependence and opioid dependence.
Our scientific pursuits originated in seeking to understand the blood-brain barrier, the natural impediment to substances freely entering the brain. Understanding the needs impacting patients with neurological disorders and understanding the challenges of developing drugs for brain disorders emboldened us to apply complex formulation and molecular design capabilities with the goal of improving therapeutic outcomes for a diverse range of patients. Over the last three decades, these efforts have resulted in the approval of four Food and Drug Administration-approved proprietary medicines, and a number of third-party medicines which use our proprietary technologies and are commercialized in dozens of countries around the world.
We continue to work with urgency to meet rising unmet needs for increasingly complex disorders, using our expertise in molecular design and medicinal chemistry. Our patient-inspired science, integrated research strategy, sophisticated development capabilities and specialized commercial infrastructure are the foundation for our efforts to create and deliver innovative new medicines in therapeutic areas where patients have long been waiting on the industry to deliver new options.
A future in clear focus
Based in Greater Boston from our earliest days, our history in Massachusetts and longstanding ties to our local communities help make us who we are at Alkermes. Recognized as a Best Place for Working Parents in Massachusetts in 2022, we’re as committed to our people as we are to the patients and communities we serve – and I’m proud to have spent most of my career here. Our roots as an organization are firmly planted, and as we evolve our business and sharpen our neuroscience focus for the years ahead, we’re building from a solid and successful foundation laid over decades.
Our aim is clear -- to help solve the urgent, growing need for scientific advancement leading to the discovery and development of novel therapeutics for complex neurological disorders. Anchored by our values of great science, deep compassion and real impact, we’re focusing on a pipeline of clinical and preclinical compounds that builds on our neuroscience expertise to make a meaningful difference for people living with serious chronic diseases.
Last updated: November 2023
Original article appeared in the Boston Business Journal. Republished with permission.