The widening gap between Pharmaceutical R&D spending and the approval of innovative medicines is a matter of concern both in the US, and in the EU and forms the basis for FP6 topic LSH-2005-1.2.1-3. This project proposes a comprehensive approach to develop a new, safe and more effective medicine that reduces (anti-angiogenic) pathological blood vessel formation. Overgrowth of blood vessels causes a.o. solid tumour growth, ocular neovascularization (diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration) and rheumatoid arthritis. The proposed drug target is Placental Growth Factor (PlGF) and the candidate drug is a humanized neutralizing monoclonal antibody. This drug target selection is based on: 1) recent basic research at the Flanders Interuniv. Inst. for Biotechn. (VIB-3, Belgium) on the role of PlGF in pathological angiogenesis; 2) intellectual property owned by or licensed to ThromboGenics (TX/TG, Ireland); 3) relevant 'translational research' by most of the partners (BioInvent, BI, Sweden; TX/TG; VIB-3; Cardiff University, CU, UKi) that established proof of concept in experimental animal models that inhibition of PlGF reduced solid tumour growth and improved ocular neovascularization and arthritis; 4) initial 'critical path research' experience at the preclinical level (BI, TX/TG, VIB-3, Charité Berlin, Germany; University Hospital Leuven, Belgium; and CU); and 5) GMP manufacturing capabilities (BI). Although the development of anti-angiogenic compounds has thus far been dominated by US-based biopharmaceutical research, the proposed European Consortium possesses unique assets (both know-how and intellectual property) to play a dominant role in the development of new, safer and more effective anti-angiogenic medicines. This SME driven STREP could lead to significant advancement of the drug candidate program and will form the basis for a long-term industrial and commercial collaboration among the SMEs and their academic collaborators.
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Funding SchemeSTREP - Specific Targeted Research Project