The 3rd International Rare Diseases Research Consortium (IRDiRC) Conference took place in Paris, France, on February 8-9, 2017. Around 300 participants from around the globe, including academics, researchers, industry leaders, policy makers and patient advocates, attended the meeting to help shape the future of rare diseases research.
The conference provided a unique opportunity for stakeholders active in the field of rare diseases research to reflect on the progress made in the last decade, particularly since the launch of IRDiRC in 2011, and to look forward to the challenges ahead.
Three plenary sessions opened the conference, presenting the history and achievements of IRDiRC, providing a global view of rare disease scientific achievement, and introducing the state of foundational, diagnostics, and therapeutic rare diseases research. In the first series of parallel sessions, the state of foundational, diagnostics and therapeutics research was investigated further, and included various success stories in each space. This was followed by a parallel session on new approaches to rare diseases, which highlighted the innovative contributions of young investigators towards advancing rare disease research goals. The third parallel session was aimed at exploring trends in the fields of regulatory and access, patient advocacy, and companies.
The conference closed with a forward-looking plenary, following the theme of the conference, transforming rare diseases research. In this session, the concepts for the next set of goals for IRDiRC and the rare diseases research community were outlined. A panel discussion followed, in which the audience was invited to comment, discuss, and ask questions, to further shape the vision and objectives for the next decade. An active and dynamic discussion with the audience and panel followed, which ended the lively and interactive 3rd IRDiRC Conference.
The conference was made possible through the generosity and continuous support of the European Commission, Japan Agency of Medical Research and Development, E-Rare and Orphanet. IRDiRC would like to thank all participants for their active involvement, and their continuous support in helping build and transform rare diseases research.