GELEEN-EINDHOVEN-LEIDEN, The Netherlands, February 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The Netherlands' three Top Institutes for life-science research (the BioMedical Materials program, the Center for Translational Molecular Medicine and Top Institute Pharma) today announced a joint investment of MEUR 28 on innovative research targeted at bringing personalized medicine closer to reality. The projects funded by the group will focus on developing new ways of delivering drugs to specific disease sites within the human body, thereby reducing the required doses, minimizing unwanted side effects and increasing the drugs' effectiveness. Together with the development of tailored drug therapies, the imaging guided and targeted drug delivery techniques that these newly funded projects aim to develop, are widely regarded as one of the keys to highly personalized medicine.
The 7 projects for which funding was announced today are mainly aiming for therapies for cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Combined, they bring together 12 knowledge institutes and 14 industrial parties. The projects result from a joint call for project proposals that was initiated by the three Top Institutes in recognition of the fact that imaging guided and targeted drug delivery is a highly interdisciplinary area of research that leverages their individual strengths - TI Pharma in drug development, CTMM in molecular diagnostics and imaging, and BMM in biomaterials and regenerative medicine. The 7 new projects are the first to encompass competencies from all three institutes.
"With this joint initiative of the three public-private partnerships in the Dutch life-sciences sector, the Netherlands stimulates collaboration and cooperation between industry and academia on a size and scale that is unique in Europe," says Wim Deetman, chairman of the Executive Board of the BioMedical Materials (BMM) program.
"With the pattern of diseases such as cancer being different in virtually every different patient, personalized medicine is absolutely essential to improving patient outcomes," says Hans Hoogervorst, chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Center for Translational Molecular Medicine (CTMM). "The outstanding quality of the proposals selected from the joint call should really help us to put personalized medicine into practice."
Ton Rijnders PhD, chairman of the Executive Board of TI Pharma says, "This is a serious next step in bundling the strength of the three Top Institutes. Also in other fields like education & training and communication, BMM, CTMM, and TI Pharma will continue to cooperate and align their efforts."
The call for project proposals opened in June 2009 with a Joint Workshop on Imaging Guided and Targeted Drug Delivery, after which submission of proposals was invited. By the October 2009 deadline, 25 draft proposals had been submitted, which subsequently resulted in 19 full proposals. Selection of the 7 new projects that today received funding was based on peer review and evaluation by a joint International Scientific Advisory Board (j-ISAB) comprising of experts from around the world.
"I was impressed by the amount and quality of the submitted research applications and by the critical assessment work done by the j-ISAB. It was a delight to be involved in the selection of such an excellent portfolio of research," says Professor Bob Lowenberg MD, PhD, chairman of the joint International Scientific Advisory Board.
In total, BMM, CTMM and TI Pharma bring together over 180 national and international partners from the public and private sector, as well as 4 charitable foundations. Together, the three institutes have a total budget of almost 700 million Euro available for research projects over a 5-year period. Fifty percent of the total funding budget is provided by the Dutch government, with the remaining fifty percent being provided by the three institutes' academic and industrial partners.
The BioMedical Materials (BMM) program is a Netherlands based public-private partnership, dedicated to enable breakthroughs in the development and application of innovative biomedical materials. With a total amount of 90 MEUR available, BMM's research agenda focuses on new therapies and applications that prevent chronic organ and tissue failure, and contribute to the improvement in patients' quality of life. Currently, BMM's Young Investigator Call for proposals is ongoing.
Key figures BMM: 44 partners, MEUR 79 allocated budget, 13 projects/consortia
The Center for Translational Molecular Medicine (CTMM) is dedicated to the development of molecular diagnostics and imaging technologies that enable the design of new and "personalized" treatments for the main causes of mortality and diminished quality of life (cancer and cardiovascular diseases and, to a lesser extent, neurodegenerative and infectious-/autoimmune diseases) and the rapid translation of these treatments to the patient.
CTMM is a public-private partnership that comprises a multidisciplinary group of parties - universities, academic medical centers, medical technology enterprises and chemical and pharmaceutical companies.
Key figures CTMM: 105 partners, MEUR 275 allocated budget, 21 projects/consortia
About TI Pharma
Top Institute Pharma (TI Pharma) is a public-private partnership in which scientific and business worlds work together on groundbreaking, multidisciplinary research aimed at improving the development of socially valuable medicines. Their research portfolio is based on the disease areas as specified in Priority Medicines, a report by the World Health Organization (WHO). The knowledge gained in these projects provides an important contribution to better, faster and less-expensive development of valuable new medicines.
Key figures TI Pharma: 74 partners, MEUR 260 allocated budget, 50 projects/consortia
CONTACT: At BMM: D.M.J. Curfs PhD, phone +31(46)476-1333 /
+31(6)3086-1483, firstname.lastname@example.org; At CTMM: M.J. Kortas,
+31(40)800-23-03 / +31(6)2940-9770, email@example.com; At TI Pharma:
I. van der Heijden +31(71)332-2036 / +31(6)4612-2482,