Bristol-Myers Squibb’s neuroscience program is dedicated to developing new medicines and improved therapeutic regimens for conditions affecting the brain and nervous system. Our research in neuroscience focuses on neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, psychiatric disorders including depression and schizophrenia, and the science surrounding pain and the management of pain.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative diseases that destroys memory, interferes with thinking and ultimately destroys the ability of an individual to carry out simple tasks. More than 30 million people worldwide have this disease, which usually begins after age 60. Since risk increases with age, the incidence of Alzheimer’s is expected to increase dramatically as life expectancy increases, according to the National Institutes of Health. The cause of Alzheimer’s is unknown and there are no treatments that can halt its progression, although some drugs can, for a limited time, lessen or prevent some symptoms from worsening. Because Alzheimer’s represents a serious unmet medical need, we are pursuing several investigational medicines for this increasingly common disease.
Depression and Schizophrenia
Depression is a common mental illness that is diagnosed by health care professionals based on a range of symptoms that may include feelings of sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, despair, discouragement, and disturbed sleep or appetite. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that depression affects approximately 121 million people worldwide, making it one of the leading causes of disability worldwide.
Schizophrenia is a type of psychosis characterized by a disordered thinking process and psychotic experiences, such as delusions and hallucinations. An estimated 24 million people worldwide are affected by it, according to the WHO.
As with other psychiatric disorders, the impact of depression and schizophrenia can be devastating not only to patients, but family members as well. We are actively researching and developing investigative medications and new therapeutic regimens to help address the significant unmet medical needs in these areas.
Neuropathic pain is caused by a maladaptive response of the nervous system that produces debilitating, spontaneous and exaggerated pain. It is a common feature of conditions such as diabetic peripheral neuropathy and post-herpetic neuralgia. It can also be a feature of some medical treatments including chemotherapy. Neuropathic pain is estimated to affect more than 15 million people in the United States and Europe, and while there are a number of medications available to treat it, these medications rarely alleviate all pain symptoms and frequently cause undesired side effects. For this reason, we are conducting basic research and clinical studies investigating the utility of new therapies that could provide more effective pain relief with improved safety and tolerability profiles.