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The Dr. Margarete Fischer-Bosch-Institute of Clinical Pharmacology (IKP) in the PREDECT initiative


IKP is participating in PREDECT, a European consortium and joint initiative between academic laboratories, biotechs and the pharmaceutical industry. The five-year PREDECT project is funded by IMI, a unique public-private partnership between the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, EFPIA and the European Union, represented by the European Commission.
IMI aims to put Europe at the forefront of biopharmaceutical innovation and to support more efficient discovery and development of better medicines for patients.
IMI’s innovative funding scheme has a budget of Euro 1 billion provided by the European Commission. That amount will be matched by in-kind contributions of at least another 1 billion euro from EFPIA members.

About PREDECT

PREDECT is a European consortium of 26 principal investigators, managed by Servier, AstraZeneca and the University of Helsinki, which brings together academic laboratories, biotechs and the pharmaceutical industry. This research network aims to develop innovative models and technologies for the preclinical evaluation of cancer therapy targets. The program of work should eventually improve the clinical success of therapies designed for the treatment of cancer.
There has been an explosion, in the last decade, of the knowledge regarding the genetic changes that are associated with cancer. This knowledge provides great opportunities for improved, selective treatments through the design of new drugs and antibodies that are targeted specifically to those changes in tumour cells responsible for the survival, proliferation and spread of the cancer. A challenge for drug discovery is to establish which of the many molecular changes associated with a particular cancer type, in a particular patient subgroup, are responsible for the pathology and which are associated “bystanders” playing a minimal or no role. Accumulating information suggests that an alarmingly high proportion of new drugs, targeted to recently-identified molecular changes in cancer, lack efficacy when tried in patients. One reason for this lack of efficacy may reflect the use of over-simplified laboratory models of cancer that do not represent the complexity and heterogeneity of tumours. In these “reductionist” models promising drug targets may not work as they would in a cancer patient and consequently drug inhibition has only a modest or no effect clinically.

PREDECT sets out to provide new laboratory models of human cancer that better reflect the complexity and heterogeneity of cancers. Working in teams investigating breast, prostate and lung cancers, PREDECT will use advanced mouse models of cancer, some of which will be genetically engineered and matched to particular groups of patients with these cancers, to progressively “deconstruct” the complex tumours into simpler forms for use on the laboratory bench. Examples are thin slices of tumour tissue and tumour cells growing in three-dimensions together with supporting cells, rather than the simple, conventional two-dimensional models. At each stage of the reduction of complexity, the tumour cells will be profiled to establish how closely they represent the tumour of origin, growing in vivo, and thus how closely they represent a human tumour. Novel complex models with the appropriate profiles can eventually be used to validate that a new, potential target for cancer treatment is worth pursuing. The PREDECT project will provide robust technologies permitting the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry to take early decisions on whether or not to invest in and pursue an intensive drug discovery programme on a new target, reducing wasted effort. If the technologies suggest the target is valid, these PREDECT platforms will also permit early validation of biomarkers indicating which cohorts of patients would be suggested to benefit from the drug, increasing the likelihood of success for the patient in clinical trial, and decreasing trial duration and expense. Additionally, laboratory models that better represent cancer pathologies will permit academic researchers to perform investigations of tumour biology with greater fidelity.

Pharmaceutical companies involved in PREDECT are Hoffmann-La Roche, Bayer Schering Pharma, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim International, Orion Pharma, Sigma-Tau and Servier whose total in-kind contributions to the project are matched by funding from the IMI Joint Undertaking, resulting in a total of 17.2 Million Euros.

The academic and biotechnology company expertise essential to the programme is provided by The University of Helsinki, Biomedicum Genomics Ltd and VTT Turku (Finland), University of Tartu (Estonia) Radboud University Nijmegen and Erasmus University Rotterdam (Netherlands), Institute of Cancer Research (UK), Oncotest GMbH (Germany), the Margarete Fischer-Bosch Institute (Germany), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale Lausanne (Switzerland), Weizmann Institute (Israel) and Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnológica (Portugal).