EATRIS: bridging the gap between medical research and clinical applications

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EATRIS: bridging the gap between medical research and clinical applications

Brussels, 11 November 2013

A key infrastructure helping to turn biomedical research into useful therapies will be given a prestigious EU legal status tomorrow. The European Advanced Translational Research Infrastructure in Medicine, or EATRIS-ERIC, based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, will accelerate the development process for drugs and diagnostics with an unmet medical need, helping raise the quality of life for Europeans.

Throughout Europe, there is an increasing incidence of cancer, cardiovascular and other diseases like Alzheimer's due to higher life expectancy and changes in lifestyles and the environment. At the same time, the cost of drug development has risen significantly, leading pharmaceutical companies to pull out of research in some areas. Therefore, it is essential to cooperate to develop new innovative, cost-effective technologies, products and treatment options for patients. In order to generate such new solutions, basic research results have to be “translated” into clinical applications.

European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: “Biomedical research discoveries too often stay in labs and journals instead of resulting in ground-breaking new therapies and diagnostics. EATRIS aims to accelerate and optimise this translational process, to help patients across Europe. I would like to thank the Dutch government for the support it has shown in rolling out our research infrastructure roadmap.”

EATRIS is the first research infrastructure in the Biological and Medical Sciences to receive the so-called ERIC status ('European Research Infrastructure Consortium'). It will be officially presented by Robert-Jan Smits, the European Commission Director-General for Research and Innovation, on Tuesday 12 November during the Netherlands launch event for Horizon 2020 at a ceremony attended by representatives of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, EATRIS ERIC and VU University Medical Centre, the host institute. ERIC is a legal status created specifically for the setting up of joint research facilities at a European level. EATRIS is the third ERIC decision adopted by the European Commission after SHARE and CLARIN. About five other research infrastructures are expected to soon be awarded the ERIC status.

EATRIS is building links with users from academia, the public sector and industry, creating a strong consortium of translational centres across Europe. Some sixty prominent academic institutions, which include leading biomedical translational research institutes, are part of the EATRIS initiative. The aim is to ensure biomedical research is translated into products like: biologics and advanced therapies, such as gene and cell therapies and regenerative medicine; biomarkers; small molecules; molecular imaging and tracers; and vaccines. EATRIS work will be particularly beneficial to sufferers of rare diseases. This means more products and treatments will become available to more people, and at a lower cost.

Members of EATRIS-ERIC are the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Italy, the Netherlands and Finland. France and Spain also participate as observers.


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Michael Jennings, Tel. +32 229 633 88 Twitter: @ECSpokesScience

Inmaculada Martinez Garcia Tel. +32 229 873 03


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