A five-partner European consortium coordinated by Portuguese researchers from the Instituto de Medicina Molecular (IMM) in Lisbon will perform the industrial development of a novel pharmaceutical drug. This novel drug has analgesic properties and has potential therapeutic application in the fight against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diseases.
The compound (BLV200704) was conceived by Miguel Castanho’s research team, who is an IMM researcher, and was then licensed to the biotech company BIOALVO, which collaborated in subsequent stages of development of the drug.
The first steps of the research that lead to the development of BLV200704 resulted from collaboration between Miguel Castanho’s and Isaura Tavares’ research teams (IMM and Faculdade de Medicina/IBMC, Oporto University, Portugal, respectively) and counted on BIOALVO partnership in a latter stage of development.
The industrial development of the drug by a consortium of the Portuguese teams – IMM and BIOALVO - and two other from Spain and Germany is now approved by Marie-Curie IAPP Action (Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways – IAPP **), will involve approximately 600.000,00 Euros and is coordinated by Miguel Castanho at IMM, Lisbon.
The project, called PEP2BRAIN, will consolidate the pharmacological development of BLV200704 and its potential derivatives.
This is the first Portuguese partnership successfully approved by the demanding and highly competitive IAPP Marie-Curie Action from the European Seventh Framework Programme (FP-7). Marie-Curie Actions from the FP-7 “People” Programme, and in particular IAPP, seek the support of innovative partnerships between public research centers and private institutions, namely small and medium enterprises, which have the ultimate goal of developing novel products and solutions.
“The EU approval of this project shows the emergence of an economy of innovation in Portugal and reflects the growth of scientific knowledge and a novel attitude of Portuguese researchers”, says Miguel Castanho, researcher at IMM and coordinator of the present consortium. “In our specific case, the partnership with industry, namely with BIOALVO, has been highly productive and reveals the potential to develop novel products capable of contributing to the enhancement of the life standards, especially of those who suffer from disease. This potential has been recognized by the panel of experts that recommended the approval of our application to EU’s IAPP Action.”
Patrícia Calado, BIOALVO’s Drug Discovery and Development Director, said: “It is very rewarding for BIOALVO to be the first Portuguese company to successfully accomplish the evaluation step of an FP7 IAPP proposal. The achievement of this milestone reinforces the value of establishing high quality partnerships between industry and academia. The work developed in collaboration with the group of Prof. Miguel Castanho is a combined effort acknowledged by the European Commission as a high-quality translational research program which is now successfully moving into advanced phases of drug development”.
* Members of the consortium: Instituto de Medicina Molecular (Portugal), BIOALVO SA (Portugal), University of Girona (Spain), Synovo GmbH (Germany) and University Eberhard Karls, Tübingen (Germany).
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