Neurotech organization to advance brain, nervous system therapies

Companies form a new trade association called the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO).

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SAN FRANCISCO—More than 20 leading pharmaceutical, medi­cal device and diagnostic compa­nies, along with major academic brain research centers and patient advocacy groups, have joined together to form a new trade asso­ciation called the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO). Based in San Francisco, NIO is a non-profit group that will aim to accelerate the development of treatments and cures for brain and nervous system diseases.
"Despite the clear need and significant market opportunity, neurotechnology companies face a host of issues that stifle innova­tion, growth and rapid delivery of effective therapies. NIO will provide a collective voice for com­mercial neuroscience organiza­tions to address these issues," says Zack Lynch, founder and execu­tive director of the NIO. "We will kick off our first year with a global awareness campaign highlight­ing the industry's progress and a public policy tour for members to interact with government offi­cials."
The $110 billion neurotechnol­ogy industry includes pharma­ceuticals, biologics, cell-based therapeutics and medical devices, as well as diagnostic and surgi­cal equipment for critical unmet needs, including: Alzheimer's, addiction, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, hearing loss, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, obesity, pain, Parkinson's, schizophrenia, stroke and other brain-related illnesses.
More than 1.5 billion people worldwide and nearly 100 million Americans suffer from a brain or nervous system illness. In addi­tion to the human suffering aspect, the annual economic burden has reportedly reached over $1 tril­lion worldwide with $300 billion a year in the United States alone. This burden is accelerating as the population ages and increases in size—and this in turn is creating unprecedented demand for treat­ments that delay, prevent and cure chronic neurological and psychiat­ric diseases.
The 500 companies involved in commercial neuroscience face fun­damentally different investment requirements, research and devel­opment challenges, and regulatory milestones than other life science and healthcare companies, accord­ing to the NIO, and the organiza­tion was thus created to help gov­ernments, patients and the public understand the unique needs of the neurotech industry.
"We are delighted to be a found­ing member of NIO," says Dr. J. Donald deBethizy, president and CEO of Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Targacept, Inc. "We are pleased that this advocacy group has been formed to address the important issues of our industry."
Founding member organizations span a broad spectrum of drug, device and diagnostic companies from across the world, along with a number of neuroscience research centers, patient advocacy groups, research foundations and venture capital firms.

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