Austria to coordinate BBMRI, the world’s largest biobank resource
Graz – Austria is likely to lead the EU’s efforts to integrate existing national biobanks and associated data throughout Europe into a European biobanking infrastructure. The resource is aimed at reaching critical mass for the discovery of disease-associated biomarkers, which play a major role in the development of more targeted therapeutics that show fewer side effects. “The ministers of the member states, which will financially contribute to the BBMRI (Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Initiative) through their national research budgets, are going to decide next year from where the biobanking hub will be coordinated”, said Prof Kurt Zatloukal from Graz Medical University, coordinator of BBMRI’s preparatory phase. Both the Netherlands and Austria had offerd to host the initiative, but according to Zatloukal, there is no direct competition. Within its short lifetime of one and a half years, the BBMRI has already mobilised more than 30 million euros. Zatloukal also stated that it is difficult to predict how many blood and tissue samples will be available through the BBMRI after its 5-year preparatory phase, as nobody knows at this time exactly how many governments will cooperate with funding from national budgets. To date, 51 partners and 210 associated partners from 31 nations have contributed to the preparatory phase. In mid-October, the Dutch gavernment allocated EUR 22.5M to BBMRI-NL, the Dutch arm of the BBMRI (see more). Following the announcemant , online news portals wrongly reported that the Netherlands will lead the BBMRI initiative.