The 2019 Brain Prize: Supporting Top Brain Researchers is More Important Today Than Ever

This week, the Lundbeck Foundation, Lundbeck’s majority owner, announced the winners of the 2019 Brain Prize. The €1 million research prize recognizes researchers who have made an outstanding contribution to neuroscience. It is the world’s largest brain research prize – the “Nobel Prize of the brain” – and this year it was awarded to four French neuroscientists for their pioneering work on a hereditary form of stroke.

The Brain Prize has been awarded annually since 2011 as part of the Lundbeck Foundation's work to support and promote biomedical sciences research. The winners of the Brain Prize are responsible for some of the most significant advances in brain research, and their work is paving the way for the discovery of important new therapies. The Lundbeck Foundation’s support of these neuroscientists – along with the $80 million annual contribution to brain research grants and Young Investigator awards to spark brain research by emerging scientists – helps to inspire the neuroscience community. At Lundbeck, we are proud of the Foundation’s support of brain research and excited to be a part of the effort to advance brain science breakthroughs.

Because people living with brain diseases need our commitment now more than ever.

The burden of brain diseases is vast and growing. It is estimated that more than 700 million people worldwide live with brain diseases.i These diseases are a leading cause of disability in the United States, and they have profound impact on individuals, families, communities and economies.ii Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year, and the combined direct and indirect cost of Parkinson’s is estimated to be nearly $25 billion per year.iii With the aging of the world’s population, the burden of age-related neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease is expected to rise dramatically over the next decade. Meanwhile, nearly 44 million U.S. adults experience mental illness in a given year and one in 25 live with a serious mental illness.iv The economic burden of depression alone tops $210 billion.v

These people need more treatment options and more effective therapies. The Lundbeck Foundation, through its support of brain research, is helping to push the boundaries of brain science and unlock the mysteries of these brain disorders. And we at Lundbeck remain committed to delivering the innovation people need. Our global purpose is both boldly ambitious and profoundly personal: We are tirelessly dedicated to restoring brain health, so every person can be their best.

A key component of our strategy is to focus our research efforts on the underlying pathology of brain diseases. In partnership with leading research institutions and technology companies, Lundbeck is involved in a variety of efforts to identify biomarkers within brain diseases. Unlocking the roots of brain diseases will help us to advance therapies that slow or stop disease progression, so people can be their best.

As we continue our efforts to develop innovative medicines to address brain diseases, we will build upon the pioneering work of scientists like the Brain Prize winners. So I’d like to personally say congratulations and thank you to the winners of the 2019 Brain Prize, and to all the scientists who join us in seeking solutions to restore brain health.

[i] IFMPA, “Mental and Neurological Disorders: Addressing a Global Health Priority.” Accessed 3/6/19.

[ii] National Institute of Mental Health, “U.S. Leading Categories of Diseases/Disorders.” Accessed 3/6/19.

[iii] Parkinson’s Foundation, “Statistics: Who has Parkinson’s?” Accessed 3/6/19.

[iv] National Alliance on Mental Illness, “Mental Health Facts in America.” Accessed 3/6/19.

[v] Greenberg, P, et al. The Economic Burden of Adults with Major Depressive Disorder in the United States (2005 and 2010). The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 2015; vol 76 (2): 155-162 


Some Alzheimer's News to Celebrate: 2018 Brain Prize Winners
By Doug Williamson, MD
The Lundbeck Foundation’s 2018 Brain Prize was awarded to four pioneers in the battle against Alzheimer’s. Dr. Doug Williamson, Chief Medical Officer & VP US Medical, shares how Lundbeck is building on the breakthroughs of the winners and attacking Alzheimer’s disease from a variety of angles.