Social Responsibility

Biogen collaborates with Paralympian and Spinal Muscular Atrophy Australia to launch new campaign

Health Industry Hub | August 24, 2020 |
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Biogen, in collaboration with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Australia and Australian Paralympian Dylan Alcott OAM, announced the launch of the Trailblazer Challenge.

This first of its kind project aims to help bring much needed support and solutions to the everyday challenges faced by adults living with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) through a virtual hackathon to be hosted in September.

SMA is a rare, debilitating and often fatal, genetic neuromuscular condition, which results in progressive muscle wasting. In its most severe forms, SMA can cause paralysis and difficulty with the most basic functions of life such as eating, getting dressed and mobility. There is no known cure for SMA and many adults with SMA live with the fear of functional decline and further loss of independence.

Biogen, Spinal Muscular Atrophy Australia and Australian Paralympian Dylan Alcott are calling on adults living with SMA to share a video of an everyday challenge they face to be considered for a virtual hackathon in September.

Biogen, in collaboration with the adult SMA community, innovators, patient advocacy and experts will then choose the challenges to take to the Trailblazer Challenge Hackathon.

The aim is to help develop solutions and innovations to benefit as many adults living with SMA as possible, make everyday life easier and ensure people living with SMA can keep doing important everyday tasks to retain their independence.

Australian Paralympian and Partner of the Trailblazer Challenge, Dylan Alcott, said that the Trailblazer Challenge is an innovative and positive way to support people living with a lifelong medical condition.

“Living with a disability or a lifelong condition can be tough, but it also provides opportunities for real innovation and creativity.

“I am so excited to partner on the Trailblazer Challenge and give people living with SMA the chance to drive real change and support for those things that matter most to them in their everyday life.

“The most important thing for adults living with SMA to know is that the Trailblazer Challenge is for YOU and we need your input.

“I can’t wait to see how you embrace this, so we can help solve your challenges at our first of its kind hackathon,” concluded Dylan.

Julie Cini, CEO of Spinal Muscular Atrophy Australia said: “We are proud to collaborate on initiatives like the Trailblazer Challenge that so boldly seek solutions to help people living with SMA retain their independence and quality of life.

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“We are calling on adults with SMA and the entire community to share their challenges for this hackathon so that we can bring a tangible and lasting change to support all those living with the condition,” said Julie.

Kylie Bromley, Managing Director, Biogen ANZ said: “For more than 40 years, Biogen has pioneered the development of new treatments and led research to better serve people living with neurological disorders.

“Through the Trailblazer Challenge, Biogen is looking to bring hope and positive, practical and holistic solutions for this community and importantly, awareness to the needs of adults living with SMA.”

The Trailblazer Challenge main event will be conducted virtually in September.  

For more information on how to send your video submission for the challenge adults living with SMA go to 

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