Lisbon, February 14, 2020
An alliance of 19 partners representing academia, industry and patient organisations from 16 countries gathered in Lisbon, Portugal on February 13 to kick-start the Horizon 2020-funded project, EATRIS-Plus. The meeting was hosted by INFARMED, Portuguese medicines agency and representative of the EATRIS node in the country.
With a budget of nearly €5 million and representatives from all 13 supporting Member and Observer countries, EATRIS-Plus will take the development of the infrastructure one step further, notably by enhancing its international outreach capacities, long-term sustainability strategy, strengthening industry collaborations and by building academic capacity for personalised medicine research.
Supporting the progress of personalised medicine
The personalised medicine approach collects molecular information of an individual to make treatment decisions that are specific to the unique biological characteristics of that patient. This requires an accurate understanding of the relevant biological molecules, known as biomarkers. Identifying and developing individual biomarkers into clinically useful sources of information is a complex and time-consuming scientific endeavor, requiring the integration of a variety of disciplines and cutting-edge technologies known as omics technologies. EATRIS-Plus will deliver resources to enable high quality cross-omic analyses and data integration in clinical samples, particularly serving academic researchers and biotech companies involved in biomarker studies. By providing these resources to the research community, EATRIS-Plus will keep supporting excellent research and help accelerate the progress of personalised medicine facilitating better treatments for patients.
Expanding EATRIS’ strategic partnerships and country membership
In addition to the current 13 member countries of EATRIS, the project consortium also includes academic institutions from Ireland (Trinity College Dublin) and Germany (Technical University of Munich) to prepare for future potential membership. Two umbrella organisations also joined the EATRIS-Plus project to expand EATRIS strategic partnerships with key stakeholder groups: Biocat will foster cooperation with biotech companies while the European Patients’ Forum will connect the infrastructure with patient groups across Europe, ensuring the impact of the project, and the infrastructure at large, reaches the patient community.
Toni Andreu, EATRIS Scientific Director, said: “EATRIS-Plus will provide us additional means to translate scientific knowledge into patient benefit in the field of personalised medicine and deliver concrete solutions for the wider research community. The project will also offer our national members fantastic opportunities for staff exchanges, training, international outreach and industry partnerships so we can continue to build a culture of translation in Europe and beyond.”