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Centre for Law, Medicine and Life Sciences

Faculty of Law

Rare diseases affect approximately 25-30 million people in Europe, including millions of children. However, since each disease affects less than one person in every 2,000, the pharmaceutical industry has traditionally been reluctant to invest in research and development connected to such illnesses given the small market. In response, legal developments (such as the US Orphan Drug Act 1983 and the EU Orphan Drug Regulation 2000) were enacted in an effort to incentivise innovation. After several decades of operation, are these legal frameworks working well?

This symposium seeks to identify and explore what the most pressing priorities are in orphan drug innovation, and whether and how social science research, particularly legal research, can help meet these needs. Hosted by the University of Cambridge, an international hub for legal and scientific expertise, we hope the event will stimulate discussion between legal, economic, business, medical, and scientific experts at a range of career stages. Confirmed participants include:

Timo Minssen (CeBIL, University of Copenhagen)

Kathy Liddell (Centre for Law, Medicine and Life Sciences, University of Cambridge)

Terkel Andersen (EURORDIS)

Thyra de Jongh (Technopolis)

Jakob Wested (Danish Medicines Agency & CeBIL, University of Copenhagen)

Geraldine O'Dea (Health Products Regulatory Agency, Ireland)

Sarah Rickwood (IQVIA)

Sven Bostyn (CeBIL, University of Copenhagen)

The 2021 CeBIL Symposium is organised by the Cambridge Centre for Law, Medicine and Life Sciences (LML) in combination with the Centre for Advanced Studies in Biomedical Innovation Law (CeBIL) at the University of Copenhagen. The Symposium is generously supported by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

To view the full programme and register to attend, click here.

If you have any queries about the Symposium, please contact us via email at

Friday, 17 September, 2021 - 14:00 to 16:30
Event location: