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Pharma takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

GSK, Evotec and Biogen Idec participate in the social media sensation

Ice Bucket Challenge Evotec

Evotec CEO Dr Werner Lanthaler (left) and CSO Cord Dohrmann

Executives at GlaxoSmithKline, Evotec and Biogen Idec have helped raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis by taking part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

The challenge, which involves tipping a bucket of icy water over one's head and donating to the ALS Association, has become a viral internet sensation in the last couple of weeks.

Evotec's motor neuron researchers performed the ice bucket challenge outside their headquarters in Hamburg after challenging CEO Dr Werner Lanthaler and CSO Cord Dohrmann, who later accepted.

Dr Lanthaler said: “We at Evotec think that working to find a cure for ALS is one of the most important things to support and to, not only have as a big mission for the whole community, but also a big mission for the company.”

Ice Bucket Challenge Evotec researchers
Evotec researchers

A team of Biogen Idec's ALS researchers and executive vice president Doug Williams also took part in the challenge live on American news channel CNBC and GlaxoSmithKline's president of North America Pharmaceuticals Deirdre Connelly joined some of her colleagues in Philadelphia to meet the challenge.

The ALS Association (ALSA) has collected $88.5m of donations in a matter of weeks compared to its $2.6m gain during the same period last year.

Despite its popularity, there has been some commentary concerning donations made to the ALSA, with some reports citing the association's expenses, which include $1.7m paid in annual salaries and $1.2m spent by the association for travel.

ALS, which is the most common type of motor neurone disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. Motor neurons which reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles die out in the progressive stages, meaning the patient has little to no control over muscle movement.

There is only one approved treatment for ALS - Sanofi's Rilutek (riluzole) - which was launched in the 1990s and provides only a modest benefit on survival in the disease, and research into further treatments has so far been unsuccessful - with Biogen's dexpramipexole one of the most recent disappointments.

 

Article by
Kirstie Pickering

28th August 2014

From: Marketing, Healthcare

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