November 2016

ECNP: turning the College’s weaknesses and threats into strengths
ECNP e-news
Message from the President
Friday 25 November 2016


ECNP: turning the College's weaknesses and threats into strengths

ArangoFor nearly 30 years our predecessors in the ECNP have been working to build a strong, influential, respected, lively and modern College that we can all be proud of. This legacy is incredible and, in that relatively short period, the ECNP has experienced growth the likes of which has rarely been seen in other societies. For most of those years we have had the wind at our backs. Discovery of new drugs ‒ although in most instances based on serendipitous discovery of mechanisms of action and not mechanistically driven ‒ gave us the optimistic impression that everything was smooth sailing. In recent years however we have begun to face headwinds created by a dearth of new drugs on the market paired with a lack of interest in investing in new therapies for brain disorders. This is not good news for the hundreds of millions people suffering from these disorders. And if it is not good for them, it is not good for us as members of society and more specifically as members of the clinical and scientific community whose vision it is to cure or at least alleviate such disorders.

Going forward we need to be well aware of our own weaknesses and limitations. It is not chance or bad luck that is making companies pull back from CNS drug discovery research despite the very high prevalence and burden of brain disorders. It is precisely the knowledge of such limitations (e.g. biological heterogeneity between clinical diagnoses, lack of biomarkers and valid animal models, multiple confounding variables affecting complex disorders, just to name a few) that makes academics, scientists and colleges like ours more essential than ever. But we need the right arena to bring the matter into the open for discussion. And we are in a privileged position to attract talented young people to the challenging conundrum of brain disorders. Complex problems require complex solutions, and those can be found only when especially gifted individuals from different backgrounds collaborate on a common objective. It is this College’s core purpose to promote training and collaborative approaches to innovation on the part of stakeholders such as regulators, industry and academia.

When things are going well on their own, Colleges like ours are not as sorely needed as they are today. I am very proud to take the helm of this College and at the same time I feel it is a huge responsibility in these challenging times, which can be turned into enormous opportunities for our College, if we understand which way the wind blows.


Celso Arango
ECNP President

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