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The National Growth Fund Reserves 125 million euros for the Transition to Animal-Free Innovation

Utrecht, 30 June 2023 - The Center for Animal-Free Biomedical Translation (CPBT) is planning to accelerate the transition to animal-free biomedical innovations. This should offer economic and social benefits: improved medicines and fewer animal tests.

The National Growth Fund reserves EUR 125 million for a new Center for Animal-Free Biomedical Translation to accelerate the transition to animal-free research over the next ten years. This could lead to safer, more effective and better treatments with less animal suffering.

Poor predictor and expensive development
Often, the results obtained from animal experiments can only be translated to humans to a limited extent, if at all. In nine out of ten biomedical development pathways, it was only during studies with patients that animal experiments failed to show a therapeutic effect in humans. This increases the cost of developing new medicines by billions and causes unnecessary animal suffering. Every year, 450,000 animal tests are conducted in the Netherlands alone. This number has not decreased over the last ten years.

New center for revolutionary change
Together with a large number of national and international parties, the CPBT is planning to create a center for the development and dissemination of animal-free innovations and expertise. In first instance, the CPBT will focus on transition trajectories dealing with ALS and Cystic Fibrosis. The CPBT is planning to implement the developed methods, tools, and expertise together with researchers and industry partners. The new center wants to offer education, training, advice, and support to enhance the acceptance and use of animal-free biomedical innovations. The CPBT will become an integrated program that accelerates the transition to animal-free and will strengthen the Netherlands' earning capacity.

Social and economic impact
Prof. Wouter Dhert, part of the strategic theme Life Sciences at Utrecht University and UMC Utrecht, and one of the initiators of the CPBT, says: “We are very proud that the Growth Fund reserves money for this wonderful initiative and we will adjust our plans in the coming period, so that we can really get started. If we show that economic added value is linked to a better translation of biomedical innovation for patients or consumers, resulting in fewer laboratory animals, the Netherlands will secure a unique leading position globally.”

Co-initiator Prof. Daniela Salvatori, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Utrecht University, explains: “There is a significant global need to reduce the number of laboratory animals. For instance, consider the FDA Modernization Act 2.0 recently signed by President Biden, which paves the way for new drugs to enter the market without animal testing. Much is happening! It is therefore crucial to prepare our professionals with sound education and training.”

MIMETAS (Leiden, The Netherlands), the renowned leader in human tissue and disease modeling using organ-on-a-chip technologies, proudly announces its partnership in the CPBT consortium, focusing on ALS, lower back pain, and protein transition & food allergy. This collaboration marks a significant step towards advancing pharmaceutical, chemical, and food component development while minimizing reliance on animal testing.

By leveraging its innovative human disease models, MIMETAS aims to revolutionize the development and testing of compounds, fostering an effective and safer approach. The company's commitment to animal-free testing is paramount in achieving a deeper understanding of human physiology, surpassing the limitations of translational models.

Jos Joore, CEO of MIMETAS, emphasizes the importance of embracing animal-free testing, stating, "We believe that by gaining more translational insights into human physiology, we can develop compounds that are not only safer but also more effacious. It is with great enthusiasm that we contribute our cutting-edge human disease models to this exceptional consortium, propelling the future of healthcare and food."

About the Center for Animal-Free Biomedical Translation
The Center for Animal-Free Biomedical Translation (CPBT) is an initiative of Utrecht University, UMC Utrecht, Hogeschool Utrecht, and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). The initiative has a large number of public and private partners. The growth fund proposal was submitted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality.

Read the original press release here

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