I will Stop when Parkinson’s does

Doctor. Neuroscientist. Drug Developer. Dream Builder.

I was not born with the vocation for medicine. But when I was asked, ‘who would you like to be?’ then the answer has always been clear. I like to be happy, to have happy people around me, to make them happy.

I spent most of my childhood with my grandmother. She is the definition of happiness. She has been the pillar of our family for three generations, until the day she had a stroke. She went from looking after us to being looked after by us. This pushed me towards trying to understand how the brain works. At 98, she survived a COVID19 infection and, still a force to be reckoned with, she and others like her are my motivation.

To develop a drug, you need so many people; you need a village! For me, Roche is that village.

Here I have been starting to translate into druggable target the disease understanding that I developed as a doctor and neuroscientist into specific molecules. We are developing the tools that may one day turn these molecules into effective treatments.

I am here because Roche is the only Pharma company that can effectively combine diagnostic and therapeutic solutions to transform ideas into effective treatment for the right patients changing their lives.

I had the privilege to lead the clinical development of one of our monoclonal antibodies with a unique target supposed to drive Parkinson’s disease progression. There are no words to describe the excitement to be in the room where the relevant data was revealed for the first time. I have high expectations for this and other compounds with the same target.

I am very proud of how we continually strive to advance our understanding of the underlying biology of disease. The complexity of human biology is staggering, and drug development is extremely challenging, especially as we aim for breakthrough medicines delivering more than just incremental advancements.

In the next 10 years, I would like to discover biomarkers that allow early diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases and allow us to identify the patients who will benefit the most from our drugs, and potentially prevent the onset of these devastating disorders, for people who are experiencing the early signs.

What I have learned is to appreciate what happens as part of the journey, embrace serendipity, remain positive and to always have a strong drive to change the lives of people living with devastating brain disorders.

I say ‘I will stop when Parkinson’s does.’

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