Drug Repurposing for Rare Diseases conference

Our annual conference highlights the best examples of drug repurposing in the field of rare diseases, in celebration of Rare Disease Day

Developing drugs for rare diseases is challenging both due to limited knowledge, and the small numbers of patients who will benefit from treatment. This generally results very expensive treatments that healthcare systems may struggle to pay for. Our annual conference, Drug Repurposing for Rare Diseases, highlights the role that drug repurposing can play in lowering the cost and accelerating the development of rare disease treatments.

Held in celebration of Rare Disease Day, the event unites patient groups, researchers, and industry professionals to showcase excellent drug repurposing projects, and encourage collaboration between all members of the rare disease community. By uniting the expertise of these diverse groups to drive drug repurposing projects, we will accelerate the delivery of new rare disease treatments from bench to bedside.

Don’t just take our word for it. Meet our community.

“It really was an excellent programme and I know my International colleagues also found it really interesting and insightful – a great way to mark Rare Disease Day!”
“I would like to compliment you on an event that was well organised and publicised, an ideal venue with a well-compiled programme and high calibre presenters; and plenty of opportunities for networking during the course of the day which is always a very valuable component to meetings such as this.”
“You are doing a fantastic job and this conference is very well organised and enjoyable. Thank you for your hard work.”
“Many thanks to you and all the BM Manifesto team for organising such a great conference. I learnt a lot form the presentations and the panel discussions and enjoyed having the opportunity to give a 5 minute talk.”
“I felt the conference was really well-organised and I was able to learn a great deal about current advances in the rare diseases community. I was not only exposed to how collaboration between relevant organisations and institutions actually works, but also given the chance to understand what it means to have a rare diseases from real-life experiences of patients.”
“Congratulations on a thoroughly engaging day yesterday. It was great to see such a strong blend of backgrounds in the audience and builds an excellent foundation for the next event.”

What happens at the conference?

Invited talks: The conference features talks from expert speakers from all rare disease interest groups including industry, clinicians, academics, regulators, and patients.

Lightning talks: Every delegate has the opportunity to propose a five minute “lightning talk”, giving them a chance to share their work in rare diseases. For tips on proposing your own lightning talk, head over to our blog.

Panel discussion: A chance to quiz our panel of speakers before the day concludes.

The Student Voice awards ceremony: We celebrate the work of the winning contestants in BM Manifesto’s annual essay competition, “The Student Voice”, presenting their certificates in front of our large audience.

Networking and refreshment: Regular breaks and an evening drinks reception provide valuable networking opportunities with our diverse audience.

Tickets: Online registration, with a tiered pricing structure designed to minimise the cost to patients and students, promotes access for all while raising valuable funds for BM Manifesto’s charitable projects.

Speaker spotlight: meet Bev and Georgia

“I have Friedreich’s ataxia, but Friedreich’s ataxia does not have me!”

In 2016 Georgia and her mum Bev took the stage to share a moving account of their experience living with Friedreich’s ataxia - a neurodegenerative condition that causes problems with speech, coordination and movement, as well as cardiac issues. Georgia was diagnosed at the age of fifteen causing Bev to lose her confidence as a mother, and leaving Georgia struggling to grasp the magnitude of the condition.

A few years after her initial diagnosis, Georgia enrolled in a US clinical trial for a repurposed drug. The enthusiasm and openness of the clinical team helped to spark Georgia’s interest in research, and being involved in the trial made Georgia feel like a valued member of the rare disease community, giving her some control back over her condition.

Unfortunately the trial was discontinued, but Georgia still spoke with positivity about her involvement in research and the lasting impact it has had on her life.

“Georgia and I both feel proud to have taken part in such a worthwhile event. We made lots of contacts and who knows what opportunities or experiences may come along.”

How do I get involved?

Our Drug Repurposing for Rare Diseases conference takes place each year in February, in recognition of Rare Disease Day. We are always on the look out for new stories to share at our event, and those who are interested in supporting or exhibiting at the conference. If you’re keen to get involved, contact our Head of Operations, Mary Rose Roberts, on maryrose@breastfeedingmanifesto.org.uk.

Find out about our next drug repurposing conference below.

There are no upcoming events at this time.