Horizon Europe, the new Research and innovation funding programme until 2027, is an evolution, rather than a reinvention, of the EU’s previous research programmes. Like its predecessor Horizon 2020, which ran from 2014 to 2020, it is a mixed bag of funding schemes. It includes grants for individual scientists in all fields, and for large multinational collaborations covering grand societal challenges such as health, climate change and the digital revolution.
At ASPHALION, we are Regulatory Partners in 14 European granted projects. 2 of these projects have already finished, 4 are just starting and 8 are still active. We are the partners providing Regulatory Affairs support throughout the whole project. We are proud of all of them, but would love to highlight 3 that we specially treasure: VASCOVID, a project that aims to develop a portable, non-invasive and real-time health monitoring platform for the evaluation of microvascular health in COVID-19 patients that are in intensive care units; MYOCURE, a project with the objective to develop an innovative gene therapy platform to cure rare hereditary muscle disorders; and HIVACAR, which focuses on the development of a combination of therapeutic vaccine, broadly neutralizing antibodies and viral reservoir activators to modify latent reservoirs in chronic HIV-1 infected.
It is also important to highlight that there is a dedicated Horizon cluster health that aims at improving and protecting the health and well-being of citizens by generating new knowledge, developing innovative solutions and integrating, where relevant, a gender perspective to prevent, diagnose, monitor, treat and cure diseases. Furthermore, it aims include developing health technologies, mitigating health risks, protecting populations and promoting good health and well-being in general and at work.
Finally, this cluster also has the goal to make public health systems more cost-effective, equitable and sustainable, prevent and tackle poverty-related diseases and support and enable patients’ participation and self-management.
The expected impacts of this cluster are contained in the Horizon Europe strategic plan.
These are the areas of intervention in which the European Community would like to focus for the next 7 years:
- Health throughout the life course
- Environmental and social health determinants
- Non-communicable and rare diseases
- Infectious diseases including poverty-related and neglected diseases
- Tools, technologies and digital solutions for health and care including personalised medicine
- Healthcare systems
Oriol, can you tell us a little bit about the challenges that HORIZON EUROPE poses for the company or for the technical teams?
The participation of ASPHALION in this kind of projects is really enriching because we are working in the early steps of top innovate therapies and health solutions contributing to the successful development of the granted project, leading the regulatory activities of the projects. This also positions ASPHALION as an ideal regulatory partner for the development of disruptive health solutions, allowing us to liaise with the main regulatory authorities.
What team is usually in charge of these projects?
Actually, most of these projects are carried out by our Medical Writing team, which counts with dedicated scientific and regulatory experts in innovative and early drug development products. In addition to this, our medical device team is also involved in 2 projects related to the development of 2 novel medical applications (VASCOVID for COVID patients monitoring and SBR for 3D bone implants)
Which are the most rewarding parts of these projects?
ASPHALION´s participation in these projects is very rewarding, since it gives us the opportunity to work in state-of-the-art projects that can improve the health of many individuals. Apart from the technical point of view, where we excel, we are socially positioned and we love dedicating time to these projects that can have an impact in improving the existent health solutions to help society tackle certain diseases.
What categories do they fall into?
All these projects belong to emerging and innovative therapies, including ATMPs, vaccine development, nanotechnology, digital health, among others, and/or unmet clinical needs.
Are you planning to become regulatory partner of Horizon Europe projects as well?
Indeed, we are open to collaborating in future consortiums as regulatory partner in the new Horizon Europe programme. We are delighted with our collaboration so far with H2020 and other EU programmes and would therefore love to have the opportunity to become Regulatory Partners in many Horizon Europe projects.
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