Exploring the Future Frontiers of Human Health, with Francois Nader

The President & CEO of NPS Pharmaceuticals predicts tremendous growth for the pharmaceutical industry in the coming years as new cures and treatments are developed. He also speaks about the broad scope of pharmaceutical research. The coming decades will see advances in treating minor issues such as the common cold, as well as broad steps forward in the fight against the frightening destruction of Alzheimer's disease. The biggest challenge moving forward, says Nader, is for regulators to keep up with the radical growth and achievements sure to come. Policy and science need to remain on the same page in order to maximize the positive effects of research.
  • Transcript


Francois Nader: I think we have tremendous, tremendous growth, tremendous potential in exploring the frontier of human beings. We are just at the very, very beginning of a very exciting adventure. And think of diseases as common cold, right. There is nothing terribly unusual about common cold, right. Yet we don’t have a cure for common cold yet, okay. Which is kind of ironic, right. Which means that innovation could be very small for small things like common cold or big things like Alzheimer’s and diabetes. We have multiple products for the diabetes today. We don’t have a cure for diabetes yet. Actually if you add Alzheimer’s and diabetes it could bankrupt our healthcare system. Yet we don’t have a cure for diabetes and we don’t know how to deal with Alzheimer’s yet. So if I look at the future a couple of things will happen.

One, we have phenomenal tools that will enable us to diagnose and to be more specific in better understanding the mechanism of virtually any disease. And the second aspect would be based on that we can start now, charter the road to better understanding the brain which will be a huge advancement.

We don’t know much about the brain. We know a few things here and there. But the brain is a huge unknown scientifically still. We don’t have a lot of tools yet to better understand how we think, the memory and everything related to our behavior. So the brain will be probably the next frontier.

But we should not forget that we have still about 6,000 rare diseases that do not have a treatment so we have a lot of work to do. And we cannot do it alone. I mean money and investment is one thing but we need to continue working on the framework of the regulatory agencies and how we can partner with the regulators to have a clearer path forward to having the new drugs approved.

The biggest challenge we face is science is moving so fast that the regulators have to catch up. They have to catch up to understand and catch up even more to regulate us which is a very daunting challenge and I really believe that the regulators are doing the right things in most of the cases. But at the same time I can only see the challenges that they have to better understand how the science is progressing. And you hear every day about the genomes and our understanding of the genomes. I mean this is absolutely flabbergasting the progress we’ve made over the last 15 years in better understanding the inner mechanics of how we work. And from there will come new medications, will come new cures, new treatments.