125 million euros from National Growth Fund for animal-free biomedical innovation

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The National Growth Fund has granted an investment of 125 million euros to the new Center for Animal-Free Biomedical Translation (Centrum voor Proefdiervrije Biomedische Translatie) at the Utrecht Science Park. HU University of Applied Science Utrecht (HU) has an important role in this new center.

With the National Growth Fund's (NGF) contribution, the Center for Animal-Free Biomedical Translations (CPBT) will accelerate the transition to animal-free biomedical innovations. This will bring economic and societal benefits: better medicines, safe products and less animal testing.

After an earlier application by CPBT in the third round of the National Growth Fund led to a reservation of €125 million. This reservation has now been converted into an grant.

Accelerating animal-free methods

The new center will initially focus on transition pathways for diseases such as ALS, cystic fibrosis, osteoarthritis/rheumatism and asthma/COPD. Working with national and international partners, CPBT will not only develop animal-free techniques, but also provide education, training, advice and support to promote innovations.

Long animal-free history

"The Netherlands not only has a long history when it comes to the development of new animal-free methods, but also their implementation in collaboration with various stakeholders," says co-initiator Cyrille Krul, Professor Innovative Testing in Life Sciences & Chemistry at HU. "We bring the different perspectives together in CPBT's international network, but also in the education and training of our students and professionals."

The HU will take a leading role in CPBT's proposition and expertise development. This includes setting up the expertise center, facilitating companies and organisations to make the transition to animal-free methods, and helping model developers qualify, automate and validate their methods.

More scope within legislation

Co-initiator Professor Daniela Salvatori of Utrecht University's Faculty of Veterinary Medicine: "There is a lot of interest worldwide in reducing the use of laboratory animals and accelerating innovation. As a country with a strong Life Sciences & Health sector, we can take a leading role. We see that legislation in Europe and the United States is going to offer more scope for admitting new medicines to the market without animal testing. There is a lot going on! We are going to drive that change."

Linking education and research projects

Together with Utrecht University, HU will also develop education, such as the Professional Master's Degree in Animal Free Innovation and interdisciplinary challenges with students from various programmes of both knowledge institutions. Moreover, HU will continue to keep its knowledge in the field of Data Science and AI up to date and connect with ongoing projects such as VHP4Safety and contribute to implementation of vital human tissue use.

CPBT, an initiative of Utrecht University, UMC Utrecht, HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht and the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM), will use this financial impulse to accelerate the development and implementation of animal-free methods. This not only benefits animal welfare, but also the quality of medicine the economy.


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