Epilepsy Foundation Pipeline Conference Goes Virtual

Epilepsy News From: Friday, October 09, 2020

There is one thing (of many) that is true about the COVID pandemic, and that is that one must learn to adapt, in order to accomplish one’s predetermined goals. Although nothing will get done in the same way, during these strange “quarantimes,” it is indeed possible to get things done.

The quarantine hit almost exactly when the Epilepsy Foundation’s Pipeline Conference and Community Day was originally scheduled, on March 12-14, 2020. On March 3rd, we made the very difficult decision to cancel the meeting on short notice. At that moment, both the world, and our hopes for the pipeline meeting, looked pretty bleak.

Over the next several months we made the decision to go virtual. We faced a daunting task. Did we have time to produce a virtual meeting? What would it be like? Would we lose the community spirit and comradery that is an integral part of the meeting?

Would anyone attend?

Well, on August 27-29, 2020, we finally got a chance to find out.

Would anyone come?

Yes, in fact the virtual nature of the meeting meant that people from all over the world could attend from their living rooms, and we ended up with an audience twice as large as we originally expected at the in-person meeting.  

Over 591 individuals registered for the Pipeline Days and over 500 individuals registered for the Community Day that followed. 

Was there community spirit?

We think there was an active “chat” discussion between participants throughout the event.

Overall there were over 50 presentations on drugs or devices currently in the pipeline, which speaks extremely well for future epilepsy innovation.

  • There were panel discussions on wide-ranging topics from unmet needs in devices to what is needed to move beyond seizures to how to get reformulated therapies to the marketplace.
  • We even managed to have a virtual “Shark Tank,” our annual competition which highlights 5 different pitches from the community that seek to advance innovative ideas in epilepsy seizure treatment and care. Despite some technical difficulties, there was an active discussion in the audience chat and two winners were crowned.

In the end, we are thrilled that the “virtual” Pipeline Conference and Community Day were as successful as they were. There may be elements that we retain for future meetings, to allow people to attend for whom it otherwise might be a challenge. At the same time, we are hoping that in 2 years, when the next pipeline meeting takes place, we can once again discuss our ideas face to face. 

Authored by

Jacqueline French MD

Reviewed Date

Friday, October 09, 2020

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