GHP November 2016

26 | ghp November 2016 Research & Development A Research Consortium Will Receive a Grant of € 1.5 Million This proposal, entitled NeuRoWeg, was developed together with the University Hospitals in Cologne and Bonn, and a small specialist company, Life & Brain in Bonn, and will be supported with a grant of € 1.5 million over the next three years. The aim is to improve the treatment of patients suffering from neuropathic pain, as this is only inadequately managed with currently available therapeutic agents. The € 1.5 million funding by the EU and the State of NRW will be used to support research into the molecular basis of neuropathic pain, and to develop novel test systems which will allow the efficacy of new analgesics for patients to be assessed more accurately and rapidly. This is reflected in the title of the NeuRoWeg project, “Innovative test systems for identifying curative analgesics with reliable efficacy in patients”. Neuropathic pain arises as a result of nerve injury caused by diseases such as diabetes, or by chemotherapy, or by accidents or surgery. It is suffered by approximately 7% - 10% of the general population [1], a very large number of people, and its incidence increases with age, especially in women. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Langner, chief scientific officer of Grünenthal said, “I am looking forward to the results of this research project. I am also delighted that with the University Hospitals of Cologne and of Bonn, and with Life & Brain, we will have excellent partners within NRW at our side to jointly improve the prospects for developing better drug therapies for patients suffering from neuropathic pain.” A research consortium will receive a Grant of € 1.5 million from the European Fund for Regional Development and the Fed- eral State of North Rhein-Westphalia. The LifeSciences NRW called for consortia of small and medium-sized companies and academic groups within North Rhein-Westphalia to compete in making proposals for developing solutions to solve current challenges within the field of biomedical sciences. Of the 51 submissions, the project of the consortium under the direction of Dr. Gregor Bahrenberg, the NeuRoWeg project coordinator and Laboratory Head at Grünenthal, added, “we continually strive to identify novel test systems with which we can more reliably and more rapidly characterise whether new drugs will be effective in humans. In order to achieve this, we want to collaborate with our partners to establish innovative assays employing stem cells derived from human skin or blood cells to advance the means for identifying novel pain medications which can cure patients. To this end, we will combine the expertise of renowned specialists with cutting- edge technologies. The ultimate aim is to predict the efficacy of new drugs in order to select the most suitable of the many research compounds for clinical development.” Dr. Petra Bloms-Funke is head of the department of medical intelligence and innovation partnerships and responsible for the acquisition of non-dilutive research funding for Grünenthal Innovation, the research and development unit. She added,” our cooperative project NeuRoWeg will enhance our understanding of pain as a disease and how to cure it. A key problem in the development of new medicines is the poor ability of currently available test systems to predict efficacy in patients. This can lead to high failure rates during clinical development. We anticipate a considerable improvement with the highly innovative test systems we have planned. The consortium was founded because the success of this highly complex project will require coordinated contributions from highly specialised experts from different areas. Together