Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 190

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support TB vaccine development and to address the challenges posed
by this disease.
“€26m has been allocated to two promising consortia which will test
new ideas, bring many promising candidates forward in the pipeline, and
establish global portfolio management principles in order to align the TB
vaccine research community toward the common goal of producing
effective TB vaccines for everybody.”
Development focus
TBVAC2020 will run from 2015-2019 and, according to TBVI, seeks to
‘innovate and diversify the current TB vaccine and biomarker pipeline’.
The project also aims to speed up the development of the ‘most
promising TB vaccine candidates’ through a system of ‘applying portfolio
management using gating and priority-setting criteria’.
Furthermore, TBVAC2020 will include ‘head to head testing of vaccine
candidates … in standardised preclinical animal models’ and the
‘identification of a number of novel and diverse vaccine candidates ready
for subsequent preclinical development and/ or early clinical development’.
The Commission is supporting crucial TB vaccine research via Horizon
2020. Through TBVAC2020 and its predecessors, the EU has made a
major contribution to key R&D in tackling this chronic disease, as well
as encouraging international collaboration. This is leading to benefits for
both Europeans and the world as a whole.
H
orizon 2020 is funding investigations to address chronic
diseases. In January, the Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (TBVI)
announced it had been awarded funding worth €18.2m from
the European Commission to undertake R&D to further develop vaccines
tackling the devastating disease.
The TBVAC2020 project is co-ordinated by the TBVI and ‘focuses on the
discovery and preclinical testing of new tuberculosis vaccine candidates’.
The project builds upon previous ventures funded by the Commission
through the predecessors to Horizon 2020, notably the €17m ‘TBVAC’
project, which was funded under the Sixth Framework Programme, and
the €12m ‘NEWTBVAC’ project, which was financed by the seventh.
Global collaboration
TBVAC2020 is truly international in its nature, bringing together 40
universities, research institutes and public bodies from across the world,
including Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, the Netherlands,
the UK and the USA.
In addition to funding drawn from Horizon 2020, the project is receiving
financial support from the Swiss, South Korean and Australian
governments, bringing the total budget to €24.6m.
Speaking about the project, Dr Nick Drager, executive director of the TBVI,
described the funding as another important milestone in a history of co-
operation with European partners: “These funds will enable us to continue
our longstanding and effective collaboration with top European
laboratories and to add new partners in research and development efforts
to innovate and diversify the TB vaccine and biomarker pipeline, and to
support and accelerate the development of the most promising vaccine
candidates through early development stages.”
EU support
The Commission has also been recognised for the important role it plays
in supporting TB vaccine research. Speaking about TBVAC2020,
Professor Dr Stefan Kaufmann, chair of the project’s steering committee
and managing director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology
in Berlin, said that support from the Commission is key in making
progress in TB vaccine research, adding that he is keen to realise new
results under this latest project. However, more research is still needed.
Kaufmann said: “There is an urgent need for innovative vaccine
candidates that perform better. This can best be achieved by
interdisciplinary research and development. TBVAC2020 has gathered
the best European TB researchers and hence is excellently positioned to
accomplish this important goal.”
Adding his thoughts, Dr Line Matthiessen, of DG Research and Innovation
in the European Commission and head of the Fighting Infectious Diseases
and Global Epidemics Unit in the Health Directorate, said: “In the first
year of Horizon 2020, the Commission has committed to continue to
Targeting TB
According to the World Health Organization, 1.5 million people died from
tuberculosis in 2013. The European Commission is helping the fight through its
latest research and innovation framework programme
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H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
H E A L T H : D I S E A S E R E S E A R C H
The TBVAC2020 project is discovering and developing new
tuberculosis vaccines
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