EurSci4Health (mission statement)
European Science for Health (EurSci4Health) is a platform to promote innovative research and technologies, enabling affordable and transformational changes in healthcare, by mobilizing scientists and citizens.
Its objective are to advise scientific policies for health, within European institutions, in order to facilitate the integrated development, regulation and use of diagnostics, therapeutics and other health technologies.
Drug discovery and development is undergoing a paradigm shift where an increased emphasis on understanding pathology, from molecular to systems biology, will lead to more targeted therapies with disease-modifying properties.
It is imperative to effectively integrate the new tools available for drug discovery and development, including machine learning and digitalization, across the whole sector. This requires both education and innovation, the long-term development of which is best met by building upon the fundamental and translational research conducted in European universities and associated SMEs, while aligning with major pharma companies. Actions that foster academic discovery research and improve synergy between both academic and private partners will ensure both the continued development of a highly skilled workforce and, ultimately, improved clinical outcomes in the future.
Similarly, improved integration of the development and regulation of diagnostics, drugs and devices is a clear need in making innovation more patient-centric and personalised. An increasing role for cell and gene therapy, and tissue engineering is also apparent.
In the clinical assessment of new treatments, there will be more focus on studies using data from ‘real world’ patients, involving greater collaboration with independent patient organisations.
Accordingly an important goal, in assessing future needs, is to promote further expansion of the traditional components of pharmaceutical sciences, to include improved integration with other medical sciences, medicinal chemistry, bioengineering, imaging, computational sciences, robotics, data analytics, pharmacoepidemiology, pharmaco-economics and the social sciences at large. All of these developments will have important implications for the education and training of researchers, as well as that of health care professionals. They will also have a profound impact on decision-making in medicines discovery and development, reimbursement and pricing.
Examples of specific areas of concern in medicines research include:
- A pipeline that is skewed towards oncology, hampering developments in other therapeutic areas. An urgent need is for the development of new antibiotics and antivirals, an area that is not seen to be cost-effective by most of major Pharma.
- The impact of SMEs as innovators has not been well reflected in marketing authorisations, reflecting their difficulties in moving through all phases of development.
- The affordability of innovation for health care systems, with impact on regulation and pricing, health technology assessment (HTA) and forward planning by governments and specialised agencies (g. EUnetHTA, Valetta, Benelux, Visegrad).
Therefore the objectives of EurSci4Health include:
- To appraise the current status of innovative research and technology, enabling affordable and transformational changes in healthcare.
- To establish, by 2020, a permanent, expanded pan-European platform/forum of relevant stakeholders (academic, industry, regulatory, societal representatives), to foster innovative research and initiatives that will bring major health benefits to all European citizens.
- To promote closer integration of the phases of drug discovery and development, by suggesting ways in which silos can be broken down in order to speed up the process.
- To emphasise the importance of developing approaches for the treatment of patients with co-morbidities, and for dealing with the increasing problem of antibiotic resistance and emerging viruses.
- To facilitate the integrated development, regulation and use of diagnostics, drugs and devices.
- To encourage new business models with clearer definition of intellectual property rights and of pathways for evaluation by regulatory authorities and for health technology and societal impact assessment.
- To consider how best to use ‘big data’ intelligently, to improve medicines usage and health outcomes.
- To enhance the role of the patient and the social sciences, in developing science policy in the health care sector.
- To promote further efforts to involve academia and learned societies as stakeholders in European health research.
- To support continuing efforts to modernise the education of medicinal chemists, pharmaceutical scientists and health care professionals.
- To review the scientific and evidence-base for the widespread use of ‘alternative remedies’ for the treatment of illness and the promotion of wellness.
To provide a platform for communicating scientific results both directly to the public and via appropriate media/governmental outlets.