Neuronet has been designed to boost synergy and collaboration across the projects of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) Neurodegenerative Disorders (ND) portfolio. With a total funding budget of EUR 386 million, and addressing the whole R&D spectrum from preclinical science to real-world data, the IMI ND portfolio brings together 18 consortium projects and over 230 partnering organisations. Since its launch in 2019, Neuronet’s support activities have focused on key areas identified by projects as challenging, including data sharing and accessibility, working with Regulators, and ensuring patient privacy. The Neuronet parallel sessions held as part of the 30th Alzheimer Europe conference (#30AEC) were designed to showcase the work of IMI ND projects in this key areas, stimulating discussion on major issues and how to address them.
The first session, chaired by Neuronet’s Coordinator Carlos Díaz, was entitled “Efficient data sharing: a must for science to respond to societal needs”. During this session, Nigel Hughes, Rodrigo Barnes and Colin Veal from the EHDEN and EPAD IMI projects discussed technical solutions that are being developed by IMI projects to overcome key obstacles to effective sharing of health data, including data harmonisation, federated networks, digital data discovery tools and research environments. The second Neuronet session, entitled “Ensuring ethics and patient privacy whilst boosting research”, was chaired by Jean Georges and included presentations from Nathan Lea, Pilar Cañabate and Sébastien Libert of the EMIF, MOPEAD and RADAR-AD projects, showcasing how they have addressed ethical and legal concerns around the use of remote monitoring technologies, autonomy and information governance for big data research.
The next topic to be addressed was Regulatory & HTA assessment, in a session chaired by Diana O’Rourke of NICE. Presentations from Gill Farrar, Jacoline Bouvy and Marco Viceconti illustrated how the AMYPAD, ROADMAP and Mobilise-D IMI projects are actively engaging with European regulators, to identify pathways for approval of neuroimaging and digital biomarkers. Neuronet project leader Lennert Steukers closed off the 2020 Neuronet Sessions, moderating a discussion on how COVID-19 has affected large public-private partnership projects. In this roundtable session, IMI project leaders who are experts on mobility disorders, digital biomarkers, stratified medicine and dementia prevention discussed the research challenges caused by the ongoing pandemic, and how to ensure that neurodegenerative disease research remains a priority in the post-COVID period.