Mutabilis has announced that it has received EUR four million of European funding for the HIVINNOV project, which is aimed at developing new antiretrovirals against HIV.
The Mutabilis project, known as “Generation of a new class of antiretrovirals targeting HIV-cellular cofactors interactions”, or HIVINNOV, entails the development of new anti-HIV antiretrovirals up to the Phase IIa clinical trial stage.
The particular feature of these new antiretrovirals is that they do not target the virus directly, as the majority of existing antiretrovirals do, but the interactions between the virus and its host, which are essential for the replication of the virus.
The project, which will get under way in October when a launch meeting is to be held at the Biocitech science and technology park, is due to last three years and to receive total funding of EUR six million.
Mutabilis, which is the coordinator of the project as well as a partner in it, formed a consortium in July 2011 comprising five prestigious European academic research establishments that are regarded as world leaders in the field of virus-host cell interactions in the area of HIV.
They are the following: University College London (UCL) and the Cancer Research Institute UK (CRUK) in the United Kingdom; the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam (AMC) in the Netherlands; the AIDS Units Clinical Institute of the University of Barcelona (FCRB) in Spain and a group of two French research establishments - the Institut Cochin, which is run jointly by the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), the National Scientific Research Center (CNRS) and the University of Paris Descartes) and the University Hematology Institute (IUH) of the Saint Louis Hospital in Paris (run by INSERM, the CNRS and the University of Paris Diderot).
Of the 1,135 projects submitted under the FP7 2012 health research program, which spawned the request for proposals to which Mutabilis responded, 319 were short-listed in the first instance (on the basis of program summaries), after which 121 were finally selected, representing a success rate of around ten per cent.
The European Union’s seventh framework program (FP7), which has been allotted a total budget of EUR 50.5 billion for the 2007-2013 period, brings together all the EU’s research initiatives under one roof and plays an important role in achieving its growth, competitiveness and employment targets.
A budget of EUR 6.05 billion has been assigned to cooperation in human health. HIVINNOV was selected from among research programs aimed at discovering innovative drugs and developing vaccines against the infectious and parasitic diseases responsible for the world’s worst human health problems, which affect poorer countries in particular, although not exclusively, namely malaria, tuberculosis and HIV infection, which is responsible for AIDS.
“The commission was apparently very impressed with the major advances we have made with the compounds we are developing, as well as the quality of the consortium and the research projects proposed,” said the scientific director of Mutabilis, Dr. Richard Benarous.
Dr. Benarous continued, “This success should encourage all the companies on the Biocitech campus to pay more attention and respond to European tenders that often give precedence to collaborations between innovative SMEs and European academic partners.”
“The funding secured for the research program coordinated by Mutabilis is very good news in a difficult economic climate,” added the president of Biocitech, Jean-François Boussard.
Boussard continued, “It shows that the companies installed at Biocitech implement ambitious development programs, collaborate with the best European research teams and thereby contribute to spreading the word about Biocitech and the Paris basin ecosystem.”