8:00 am Chair’s Opening Remarks

Approaching Neuroinflammation as a Therapeutic Target for Neurodegenerative Diseases

8:15 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

8:45 am Microglia: Suppress or Promote?


  • 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

9:15 am Assessment of Antibody Profiling in Neurodegenerative Disease


  • Bringing together cutting-edge technologies including antibody repertoire profiling and deep learning for neuroimmunology drug development
  • Further talk details to follow

9:45 am Speed Networking


This session is the ideal opportunity to meet face-to-face with the key thought leaders working in the neuroimmunology field. Specifically designed to connect you with new contacts from the most active companies in the field, the renowned Speed Networking session will be one of the most valuable hours you will spend at the Neuroimmunology Drug Development Summit.

10:30 am Morning Refreshments

Identifying Translational Biomarkers to Effectively Translate into the Clinic

11:30 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?

12:00 pm Stabbing in the Dark: Biomarkers of Microglial Pathway Activation


  • Exploring biomarker data from neuroimmunology mouse studies
  • Bridging the gap: From mouse to NHP

12:30 pm 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

1:00 pm Lunch & Networking

Utilizing Technology Advances to Better Understand the Neuroimmune System

2:00 pm Single Cell Sequencing & Spatial Transcriptomic Approaches to Characterize Human Cells & Tissues

  • Rebecca Mathew Senior Scientist, GpGx-Genome Sciences, Merck Research Laboratories


  • Transcriptomics studies have revealed that freshly isolated human microglia cells rapidly lose their identity when sub-cultured in vitro
  • Spatial transcriptomics (ST) is a new technology that provides a region-specific map of gene expression from in-tact tissue sections
  • ST can define transcriptional states of human microglia without destruction of the tissue microenvironment

2:30 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

3:00 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

3:30 pm Afternoon Refreshments & Networking

Connecting Neuroinflammation to Human Patients

4:00 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

4:30 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?

5:00 pm Chair’s Closing Remarks

5:15 pm Scientific Poster Session


The learning and networking continues at the Poster Session, an informal part of the conference agenda, allowing you to connect with your peers in a relaxed atmosphere and continue to forge new, beneficial relationships. You will have the opportunity to present and review presentations displaying new data and the latest advances in neuroimmunology drug development research.