Dataflow from lab to factory – networking pathogen research


Menaggio – Out of the ivory tower straight into applicational research – that was the guideline for the second funding round initiated by the European ERA-NET Patho-

GenoMics network, which has been operating since 2004 as a part of the EU’s FP6 programme. After a recent kick-off meeting in Italy, 13 new transnational research consortia from Germany, Austria, Finland, France, Hungary, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain have now started work. The partners are focusing on specific groups of pathogenic microorganisms, including the bacterial genera Neisseria, Pseudomonas, Clostridium, Helicobacter, Escherichia, Streptococcus and Chlamydia, as well as the fungal genera Aspergillus. They now complement twelve other research consortia that were granted a14m in a first funding round started in 2007 (see
“In the field of pathogenomics, basic researchers too often work isolated within their networks, although contact with clinicians and companies is extremely important,“ says Julio Barbas from the Spanish Ministry for Science and Innovation. “We are very lucky that a range of consortia have positioned themselves in that direction,“ points out Marion Karrasch from the German funding agency PTJ, which is coordinating ERA-NET PathoGenoMics. A total of a17m will be allocated by the participating countries over the next three years. “All of the projects in the second round are taking interesting approaches. We expect some exciting results,“ says Guido Grandi from Novartis Vaccines, one of the experts in the scientific advisory board of ERA-NET Patho­GenoMics.
One of the newly-funded projects, for example, is a consortium led by German scientists from the University of Würzburg, who are working together with British pharma company GlaxoSmithKline to lay the groundwork for new vaccines against infections caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis. A different consortium coordinated by German researchers from the University of Jena is cooperating with the pharma industry to examine reasons for therapeutic resistance in the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus.
Austrian researchers from the University of Salzburg are using genome-wide transcriptomics approaches to produce commercially-exploitable products for monitoring, treating and ultimately preventing chronic chlamydial infections. And yet another network coordinated by Austrian scientists is cooperating with biotech company Intercell in a search for new immunomodulatory therapeutic approaches against Streptococcus pneumonia and Streptococcus pyogenes.



Rome/Milan – Together with two Italian research institutes, British drug giant Glaxo­SmithKline has begun to develop a therapy for the heriditary immune defect ADA-SCID, which affects only 350 children worldwide. Fondazione...



Rome – When it comes to GMOs, the gap between Italy’s federal government and its regions that has marked the country for years is rapidly widening into a gulf. The latest rupture was on display at the October session of the...



Valletta – A new Life Sciences Park is to be created on the outskirts of Malta’s capital Valletta. The EUR20m project will provide space for companies operating in biotechnology and medical sciences. The park will be located in...



Verona – Scientists at Glaxo­SmithKline in Verona have discovered that specific neurons in the amygdala control how mice react to fear stimuli. When they switched off the so-called Type I cells in the animals’ amyg­dala, the mice...



San Michele all’Adige – The genetic code of the Golden Delicious apple has been deciphered. Led by Riccardo Velasco at the Edmund Mach Foundation in San Michele all’Adige in Italy’s Trentino province, a team of scientists from 20...



: It’s hard to be a pro-GMO campaigner in Italy. Since 2001, the regions there have not implemented the plans for coexistence that were suggested by a ministerial decree. Instead, there was a de facto Italian moratorium on GM...



Milan – One of Italy’s biggest biotech players wants to raise EUR58m to boost its pipeline of cancer therapies. The round will be closed on July 16th. With operating costs of EUR22.5m and a total loss of about EUR17m in 2009,...



Milan – Italian researchers have restored sight to blind patients using stem cells from the patients’ own bodies. In a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine (10.1056/NEJMoa0905955), scientists from Modena and...

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