CBBM Lecture: "Recent advances in diagnosis and therapy of neurodegenerative disorders"

by Dr. Andreas Weiss,

VP Neurobiology,

Evotec AG


Neuroscience (CNS) drug development attempts have suffered major setbacks in recent years with the consequences of closures or substantial cuts in the neuroscience research department across all Big Pharma. The reasons for these drug development failures particular for CNS disorders are multiple, ranging from the focus on symptomatic treatment approaches without understanding the real underlying pathogenic mechanisms of action to outdated diagnostic tools and lengthy and large scale costly trials in heterogeneous patient populations. To increase future chances of success, neuroscience research and drug development approaches are increasingly focusing on genetically defined CNS disorders - or genetically defined sub-cohorts of broader CNS patient populations such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease -  in combination with improved diagnostic tools to inform about disease progression, patient stratification and therapeutic effect. The talk attempts to summarize the current status in the field of CNS research and introduces the concept of quantitative biomarker readouts as a key critical component of every CNS drug development approach.


Dr. Andreas Weiss is currently Vice President of Neurobiology at Evotec, a drug discovery alliance and development partnership company in Germany. Andreas has spent his entire career in Neuroscience Research with most of his scientific life being spent at Novartis in Switzerland researching different aspects of Huntington’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders with a focus on detection of misfolded proteins and biomarker/translational assays. After Novartis, he co-founded Promidis, a start-up biotech where he worked as the Scientific Director for Drug Discovery and Technology on translational assays for proteinopathies, including Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Weiss developed the first conformer-specific huntingtin and alpha-synuclein bioassays for high-throughput screening, translational research, biomarker application and clinical studies. He served as project leader for collaborations with the CHDI, HDSA and MJFF foundations and has collaborated with key-opinion leaders in the field of preclinical and clinical Huntington’s disease, Spinocerebellar Ataxias and Parkinson’s disease research resulting in >35 peer-reviewed publications.

Dr. Weiss studied biochemistry, immunology and neuroendocrinology at the University of Bielefeld, Germany, the University of Notre Dame, USA and the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Endocrinology, Germany. He received his PhD in neurobiology from the University of Basel for his work on “Novel methods and therapeutic approaches of diagnosis and treatment of Huntington's disease”.

The lecture will take place on April 21, 2015 from 17:15 to 18:15 hours in Seminar Room 3b, Ground Floor, Zentralklinikum.

Host: Prof. Dr. Jens Mittag
Department of Internal Medicine I
University of Lübeck