"The most significant advance in cancer therapeutics in recent years has been the introduction of monoclonal antibodies into widespread clinical usage. A consequence of this rapid emergence of antibodies as therapeutics is a lack of trained scientists within the EU with the requisite skills to enable antibody development at a globally competitive pace. The University of Birmingham (UoB) together with the SME SomantiX (SOM) aims to address this need by training the next generation of scientists with the appropriate skills. Together with seven associated partners, we have created an intersectorial EID proposal titled “Vascular-Antibody Mediated Pharmaceutically Induced tumour REsection” or VAMPIRE. The primary aim of the proposal is to train 5 early stage researchers while conducting an internationally competitive oncology research project. VAMPIRE will provide training across a wide range of disciplines involved in the production of antibodies and in their evaluation as therapeutics in animal models of cancer. Training will be provided through an integrated partnership involving all of the partners in the consortium ensuring interdisciplinary and intersectoral experience for the ESRs. The antibodies that we aim to develop will target markers of the tumour vasculature that we have identified previously, including CLEC14A. The commercial partner SOM is a Dutch SME specialized in the development of tumour vascular targeting agents. The findings of this project will be of interest to cancer research and the wider public community. Intellectual property generated by the project is envisioned to be licensed to SOM. Pre-clinical development of the antibodies is envisioned to be carried out via strategic alliances with academic partners and other small biotechnology companies. We view pharmaceutical companies as future business and product development partners in clinical phases of antibody testing."
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