Building an Industry

As we prepare for the 20th anniversary Neurotech Leaders Forum next month, it’s fascinating to look back on how the neurotechnology industry has changed since the first Leaders Forum in 2001. That event, coming just a few weeks after the 9/11 attacks, was attended by about a dozen early neurotech professionals. Chief among the topics discussed at the inaugural meeting were what to call this new industry and what products would and wouldn’t be included. Wende Hutton, then a partner at Mayfield Fund, argued against including neurotech under the umbrella of biotech since firms in the space weren’t developing compounds. With respect to terminology, she recommended following the lead of the “big kahuna”—Medtronic was the only large player in the space at the time. Of course, Medtronic has changed its terminology and corporate taxonomy several times over the last 20 years.

When we launched the first Bioelectronic Medicine Forum in 2018 in New York City, similar issues of nomenclature and product categories emerged. And while there is still some disagreement over what fits within the definition of bioelectronic medicine, there is one area of universal agreement: the need to engage the pharmaceutical industry in the development of new therapies for diseases and conditions previously treated only with drugs.

To address this, Neurotech Reports will launch a new publication called BioElectRx Business Report. The new monthly newsletter will seek to reach out to the biopharmaceutical industry to inform them of new opportunities and activity in bioelectronic medicine. To help us achieve this goal, we have retained the services of consulting editor Susan Schaeffer, the former editor of BioCentury, the leading industry newsletter for the pharmaceutical industry. In that role, she advanced new thinking in clinical trial development, regulation, pricing, and market access—factors that will be critical in bioelectronic medicine. She is also a member of the National Academies Forum on Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation and founder of a patient education nonprofit.

“Bioelectronic medicine is rapidly bringing a new modality forward for targeted and personalized medicine—a space that has been dominated by biopharmaceutical companies,” said Schaeffer. “BioElectRx Business Report will have a particular focus on the potential for collaboration between these historically separate sectors, and will shed light on the potential of this new technology to treat serious diseases, either without, or in conjunction with drugs.”

To help launch the new publication, Schaeffer will moderate a session at the Neurotech Leaders Forum called “Engaging Big Pharma in Neurotech” on November 8. We hope to see many of our existing and future readers there.

James Cavuoto
Editor and Publisher


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