Advancing the Brain Industry Together

Industry Leadership: NIO Neuroscience Hearing on Capitol Hill

Please join me this coming Wednesday on Capitol Hill when the Oversight and Government Reform Committee has scheduled a hearing on "The Future of Neuroscience Research and Development." The hearing will be held at 2:00 p.m. in room 2203 Rayburn House Office Building, and I urge you to attend.

NIO's conversations with Congressman Kennedy and others on the Hill were the impetus for this hearing.  We identified a need for a congressional examination of the government's existing coordination among neuroscience research arms and pressed for congressional exploration. During our meetings on Capitol Hill we have continually emphasized the importance of increased coordination in government neuroscience research, strong government support for innovative neurotech ventures, as well as increased resources for the FDA to enable efficient reviews of neurotech products.

I'd like to thank Congressman Kennedy for taking seriously our call of oversight and exploration of this important area as well as all of our members for their efforts and support.

Please let me know if you can join us by replying to  The congressional schedule is always subject to change, and your RSVP will allow me to keep you informed of any changes.

Zack Lynch
Executive Director
Neurotechnology Industry Organization

Congressman Kennedy wanted me to pass on this personal letter from him regarding the neuroscience hearing next Wednesday at 2PM.  We hope you can come.

Dear Friends,

Fifty years ago, a young President issued a challenge to the American people.  Calling on the nation's greatest minds, he set forth a task no less than asking them to redefine the realm of possibility.  Charged with breaching the vast frontier of space by the end of the decade, our country responded with a demonstration of American genius, determination, and a refusal to concede the once-impossible, rivaled only by the Manhattan Project.

Now, it is time for a new generation to heed the call of another young President, cast from the same mold as his aforementioned predecessor, to broach the next frontier.  That frontier, concentrating the complexity of the vast heavens in the minutiae of the human brain, is neuroscience. On Wednesday, September 29, 2010, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing entitled "From Molecules to Minds: The Future of Neuroscience Research and Development." The hearing will be held at 2:00 p.m. in room 2203 Rayburn House Office Building, and I urge you to attend.

The brain has often been called the last frontier of medicine.  Though the major advances occurring in this field are numerous, they still pale in comparison to the gaps that exist in our ability to prevent, diagnose, treat, and cure many of the common neurologic disorders that afflict Americans today.

Perhaps most valuable in our understanding of the brain has been the discovery of just how inter-connected the workings of the brain truly are.  The ability of medications or treatments to transcend their originally intended purpose (for example, the successful use of specific classes of medications such as anti-epileptics for off-label uses such as chronic pain management) highlights the interconnection and commonality within the complex structures of the nervous system.

Currently, there is a critical need to break down the silos that cordon off each individual community of brain science research.  Though one group's focus may be Parkinson's disease while another group may concentrate on depression, an advance in neuroscience research that leads to progress in one disease can translate into advances in other conditions.  Yet despite the billions of dollars spent annually on research throughout the nation, many of these connections remain unknown.  This is in part because we fail to maximize the value of that funding because of a failure to communicate.  Each advance in brain science research unlocks that door for all of us, and our research infrastructure needs to reflect this shared understanding.

Through my experience navigating the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act through the legislative process, I learned the value of building a coalition to advance a common goal.  It was not until diverse mental health and addiction groups presented a unified front that we were able to secure passage and the President's signature.  The success of the passage of mental health parity serves as an example of what is possible when a strong coalition forms.

I believe providing exceptional care for our nation's veterans provides the impetus around which the neuroscience field should now coalesce.  When our soldiers are trapped behind enemy lines, our country will spare no expense to bring them home safely.  For the countless veterans returning home with the signature injuries of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), they should be treated with no less than the same urgency.  Like so many of our family members and friends who suffer from neurologic disorders, these veterans are prisoners of their own minds.  It is our duty to set them free.  By advocating greater coordination between the Department of Defense, the Veteran's Administration, and the National Institutes of Health, as I have done in correspondence to Secretaries Shinseki and Sebelius, the greater neuroscience community stands to benefit from any increased funding we can secure for our increased neuroscience research on behalf of our veterans.

We must all be of one mind when it comes to brain research.  I urge you to attend the hearing on September 29, and to have your continued support for this important cause.


Patrick J. Kennedy
Member of Congress

Upcoming NIO Events

November 15, 2010, San Diego: NIO PartneringFest, 5-7pm, Monday. Held in conjunction with the 41th Society for Neuroscience conference in San Diego, the 5th annual NIO PartneringFest is becoming a "must attend" event for neuroscience business development executives, translational researchers and investors attending the conference. Invites will be sent in October.

February, 2010 - Washington DC: NIO Public Policy Tour. Meet with your Senators and Congressional Representative and let them know about how your work in commercial neuroscience impacts the lives of their constituents and all Americans. We set up the meetings, NIO members just show up to share your experiences and support the legislation allocating new funding for neurotech.

May 25-26, 2011 - San Francisco: 6th Annual Neurotech Investing and Partnering Conference.  St Regis Hotel. Organized by NIO in coordination with NeuroInsights this market defining conference features keynotes on the state of the neurotech industry, cutting edge company presentations, and panel discussions on a comprehensive selection of topics of critical interest to commercial neuroscience.

The Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) represents companies involved in neuroscience (pharmaceuticals, biologics, cell-based therapeutics, medical devices and diagnostics), brain research institutes and patient advocacy groups across the United States and throughout the world. Founded in August 2006, NIO now has over 100 member organizations who are focused on developing treatments and cures for neurological diseases, psychiatric illnesses and nervous systems injuries such as Alzheimer's disease, addiction, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, hearing loss, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, obesity, pain, Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, stroke, traumatic brain injury and hundreds of orphan brain-related illnesses. More info: