8:00 am Chair’s Opening Remarks

Approaching Neuroinflammation as a Therapeutic Target for Neurodegenerative Diseases

8:30 am The Interface of Inflammation & Cell Death: Disease Progression in Multiple Sclerosis & Beyond


  • RIPK1 as a key node in regulating cell death and inflammation
  • An inflammatory CNS environment that leads to disease progression in MS
  • Targeting CNS inflammation in MS and other neurodegenerative diseases

9:00 am Microglia: Suppress or Promote?

  • David Hansen Associate Professor, Brigham Young University (previously Genentech)


  • When should neurotoxic neuroinflammation be suppressed and when should protective immune response be promoted?
  • Considering time of therapeutic intervention and disease state
  • Eliminating microglia from the brain: microglial repopulation

9:30 am Morning Refreshments & Virtual Speed Networking


Grab a quick cup of tea or coffee from the comfort of your own kitchen and jump straight into your opportunity to connect with new contacts from active companies in the field and exchange digital business cards. Network and form lasting connections through this exclusive virtual speed networking!

Identifying Translational Biomarkers to Effectively Translate into the Clinic

11:00 am From Animal to Man: Building Target Engagement to Proof of Concept Pathway

  • Johan Luthman Executive Vice President, Research & Development, Lundbeck


  • Neuroimmunology/neuroinflammation opportunities for translational tools, preclinical models and biomarkers in human models
  • Possibilities for target engagement evaluation for neuroimmune/ neuroinflammation targets in the brain
  • How do we de-risk the clinical program through proof of principle and proof of concept studies?

11:30 am The Challenge of Developing Translatable Biomarkers to Guide the Clinical Interrogation of LRRK2 Kinase Inhibitors for Parkinson’s Disease

  • Matthew Fell Principal Scientist, Neuroimmunology, Merck Research Laboratories


  • Developing potent, selective and brain penetrant inhibitors of LRRK2 kinase activity
  • Leveraging PBMC biomarkers to assess CNS target engagement in the clinic
  • Developing CSF biomarkers of central LRRK2 kinase activity

12:00 pm Live Discussion & Question Time

  • Rebecca Mathew Senior Scientist, GpGx-Genome Sciences, Merck Research Laboratories
  • Johan Luthman Executive Vice President, Research & Development, Lundbeck
  • Matthew Fell Principal Scientist, Neuroimmunology, Merck Research Laboratories

12:30 pm Lunch & Networking

Utilizing Technology Advances to Better Understand the Neuroimmune System

1:30 pm Moving Away from Microglial Targets & Appreciating Astrocyte Contribution


  • Astrocytes have been overlooked in drug discovery
  • Astrocytic processes are fundamental to CNS homeostasis, and their dysfunction is both a consequence and cause of neurodegeneration
  • Astrocytes are potentially an untapped source of new targets for neurodegenerative disease

2:00 pm Exploring Nuclear Imaging Approaches to Understand & Monitor Neuroinflammation


  • TSPO imaging and its limitations
  • Current efforts to image alternative aspects of neuroinflammation including P2X7R, CSF1R, COX2 and ROS.
  • Pre-targeting Imaging and utilization of large molecules to monitor neuroinflammation

2:30 pm Afternoon Refreshments & Networking

Connecting Neuroinflammation to Human Patients

3:00 pm The Role of Microglial BIN1 in Alzheimer’s Disease: From Genetics to Target Validation


  • GWAS hits in BIN1 locus affect BIN1 expression specifically in microglia and positively correlate with tau-PET in Alzheimer’s Disease-affected individuals
  • BIN1-associated tau-containing extracellular vesicles purified from Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) of Alzheimer’s Disease-affected individuals are seeding-competent
  • Genetic deletion of Bin1 from microglia resulted in reduction of tau secretion via extracellular vesicles in vitro, and in decrease of tau spreading in vivo

3:30 pm Panel Discussion: Are We Chasing the Wrong Phenomenon?

  • Malu Tansey Director, Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease & the Parkinson’s Foundation Research Center, The University of Florida College of Medicine
  • Richard Ransohoff Venture Partner, Third Rock Ventures


  • Do we have clinical proof of neuroinflammation as an effective target for neurodegeneration? Improving target identification logic: is neuroinflammation a cause or outcome?
  • Debating Biogen’s aducanumab implications on neuroinflammatory targets – standalone treatment or an add on?
  • Where are the challenges in neurodegeneration/neuroinflammation drug development compared to other disease areas like cardiovascular?
  • How do we intervene with the neuroimmune system beyond genetic targets?

4:00 pm End of Summit & Virtual Happy Hour Begins


The time of day we’ve all been waiting for! Grab a beverage of your choice from your home bar and use this final networking opportunity to follow up on connections made earlier in the day, ask that burning question to a speaker whose talk got you thinking and forge relations that could lead to your next collaboration.