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Summit Brings Major Non-Profits, Venture, Pharma and Academics Together

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Aug. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) announced today that its ninth annual Leadership Summit will take place on Thursday, October 3, 2013 at the Westin Copley Place Hotel in Boston, MA. Hosted by the world's first non-profit biotech, this public event explores the latest trends in drug discovery, partnering and financing drug development and clinical trials in neurodegeneration, specifically ALS.


The Leadership Summit will begin with a series of presentations from renowned industry leaders, including: Aaron Gitler, Ph.D., associate professor of genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine, who will present high-throughput screens to define novel mechanisms of ALS; Steve Finkbeiner, M.D., Ph.D., associate director and senior investigator, Gladstone Institutes, and professor, UCSF, who will discuss using Nobel Prize-winning human induced pluripotent stem cell technology as drug discovery tools for ALS; Willem van Weperen, CEO, to-BBB, who will address novel approaches to overcoming the blood brain barrier when delivering drugs in ALS; and Steve Perrin, Ph.D., CEO and CSO, ALS TDI, who will provide a behind the scenes glimpse of the drug development pipeline at the world's largest ALS research institute, ALS TDI.

Additionally, the event will include a panel of prominent researchers and philanthropic experts involved in improving the pace at which new discoveries made in the lab are translated into health-improving treatments for patients today, including : Robert Beall, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; Mike Gold, M.D., VP clinical therapeutic area CNS, UCB Pharma; Amelie Gubitz, Ph.D., program director, extramural research program, NINDS; and Philip Reilly, M.D., J.D., venture partner at Third Rock Ventures. The panel will be moderated by Julie Donnelly, healthcare and life sciences reporter for the Boston Business Journal.

"To get a treatment to patients today takes more than just good science. It requires real partnerships between patients, pharma, biotech, academia, non-profits, for-profits, funders, investors, governments and others. Anyone with a stake in moving potential treatments forward for ALS and related neurodegenerative disorders should attend this important meeting," says Steve Perrin, Ph.D., CEO and CSO of ALS TDI.

The Institute will also announce this year's Leadership Award recipients during the Summit. Each year, ALS TDI recognizes active members within the ALS community who have been nominated by their peers for driving awareness of ALS and fundraising for research into effective treatments for the disease. This year's recipients include Andy Rubenstein of Cranbury, NJ; Jenny Dwyer of Kenmore, WA; Roger Petrone Jr. of Stamford, CT and Rick Cochran of Greenwich, CT; and Kevin Swan of Lakewood Ranch, FL. More information about the awards can be found online at

The ninth annual Leadership Summit begins at 9:00 a.m. and is free and open to the public. Lunch is provided, and there will be a cocktail and networking reception at the close. To learn more about the ALS TDI Leadership Summit and to register, please visit  

About ALS
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that leads to paralysis, due to the death of motor neurons in the spinal cord and brain. There is no known cure for the disease. About 5,000 people in the US are diagnosed with ALS each year; the incidence is similar to multiple sclerosis. However, with no effective treatment, the average patient survives only two to five years following diagnosis. There are about 30,000 people in the US diagnosed with ALS today. The worldwide population of ALS patients is estimated at 450,000.

About ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI)
The mission of the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) is to develop effective therapeutics that slow or stop amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease) as soon as possible for patients today. Focused on meeting this urgent unmet medical need, ALS TDI executes a robust target discovery program, while simultaneously operating the world's largest efforts to preclinically determine the efficacy of potential therapeutics, including a pipeline of dozens of small molecules, protein biologics, gene therapies and cell-based constructs. The world's first nonprofit biotech institute, ALS TDI employs 30 professional scientists, evaluates dozens of potential therapeutics each year and is currently executing a Phase IIA clinical trial of TDI-132 (Novartis' Gilenya®) in ALS patients.  Built by and for patients, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based research institute collaborates with leaders in both academia and industry to accelerate ALS therapeutic development, including Biogen Idec, UCB, the Gladstone Institutes, MDA and RGK Foundation. For more information, please visit us online at

Media Contact:
Mari Sullivan, Public Relations Manager, ALS TDI, 617-441-7220,

SOURCE ALS Therapy Development Institute
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