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FIMM / University of Helsinki and EU pharma spearhead a 17 M€ research effort to improve cancer target validation
The Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) at the University of Helsinki is coordinating the IMI consortium PREDECT, which will develop innovative models and technologies for the preclinical evaluation of cancer therapy targets.
— PREDECT is very timely, says Dr. Emmy Verschuren, Coordinator and representative of the IMI funding Managing Entity.
— It is absolutely essential to comprehensively evaluate our cancer model systems now, but it is also a significant task that requires academia and industry to work together. We are bringing experts in key cancer biology areas together with young group leaders and industry partners as never before.
The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is the world’s largest public-private partnership, a two billion euro joint undertaking between the European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). IMI promotes the development of better medicines, with the larger goal of boosting the dynamism and technological development of the European biopharmaceutical sector.
The IMI consortium is a response to the alarmingly high rate of initially promising drugs now shown to lack efficacy when tested in patients – which may reflect the use of laboratory models of cancer that fail to represent the complexity and heterogeneity of human tumours.
Working in teams investigating breast, prostate and lung cancers, PREDECT will comprehensively investigate the generation of better laboratory model systems of cancer for cancer drug development, with the goal of eventually increasing the clinical success of new cancer therapies.
PREDECT is a large consortium joining 9 academic laboratories with 3 small biotech enterprises and 7 major pharmaceutical companies. The fact that the consortium is coordinated by the University of Helsinki, but also involves Orion Pharma, VTT Technical Research Institute of Finland and BMGen Ltd, attests to the strength of Finnish cancer research.
— We would like to have model systems which are faithfully representing many aspects of human cancer and we will make extensive comparisons across the model systems to compare their molecular and cellular properties with human patient specimens. If this is achieved, we should see the success rate of cancer drug development efforts improve in the future, states Professor Olli Kallioniemi, Director of FIMM.
The team at the Meilahti campus comprises 6 PI’s: Emmy Verschuren (Academic Project Coordinator), Olli Kallioniemi and Johan Lundin from FIMM, Juha Klefström from the Institute of Biomedicine, Panu Kovanen from the Haartman Institute and Outi Monni from Biomedicum Genomics.
Text: Päivi Lehtinen / PREDECT press release