Patrick Boisseau, chairman of the European Technology Platform on Nanomedicine (ETPN), said today that nanomedicine in Europe is rapidly progressing from a primarily academic-research-oriented and fragmented field to a multi-national program sharply focused on bringing the benefits of nanomedicine to all Europeans.
Boisseau, who is head of CEA-Leti’s nanomedicine program, was re-elected ETPN’s chairman during the group’s annual meeting in Dublin, Oct. 12-14. He said the organization will create, implement and promote programs that help EU companies bring innovative nanomedicines to market.
As part of its focus on getting these new medicines to market, ETPN also will create programs to help companies receive clinical validation for their products, and get access to target markets, and that provide education and training to those companies’ employees.
Renamed the ETPN Association to reflect its new mission and its new ambition, the organization in the past three years has coordinated its goals with Horizon 2020, the biggest-ever European Commission (EC) research-and-innovation support program. It also has focused its own efforts on establishing the Nanomedicine Translation Hub, which efficiently helps companies develop new nanomedicines and get them approved by regulators. This stronger focus on industrialization began with the association’s influential 2013 “White Paper on Nanomedicine”, which identified the primary bottlenecks in nanomed development and offered recommendations to eliminate them.
“The past three years were a turning point from a time when EC investment was mostly on academic research towards a new era in which funding supports the translation of nanomedicine from lab proofs-of-concept to products in clinical trials and getting innovative medicines to market,” Boisseau said. “On top of that change, we also created ETPN international cooperation projects, especially with the U.S. These new programs are a major change in ETPN’s mission and activities.”
Most of the recommendations in the White Paper have been or are being implemented within Horizon 2020. These include:
- Establishing the European Nanomedicine Characterisation Laboratory (EU-NCL), a EC-U.S. joint project and Europe’s dedicated nanomedicine lab, which is coordinated by Boisseau
- Three pilot lines for scaling up manufacturing of clinical batches of nanomedicines
- The Translation Advisory Board, which helps entrepreneurs in nanomedicine on the clinical transfer and industrialization of their products
- A funding program for innovative nanomed SMEs
As an emerging field combining medical technologies and biotechnologies, nanomedicine is continuously evolving and accelerating the introduction of new medicines. Building on that potential, Boisseau has started a major new phase of development to position nanomedicine as a key enabling technology (KET), an EC designation for technologies that have significant potential to fuel economic growth and provide jobs. The six designated KETs are nanoelectronics, nanotechnology, industrial biotechnology, advanced materials, photonics and advanced manufacturing technologies.
With existing KETs, nanomedicine could help launch a new generation of smart systems in medical technologies for diagnostics, therapy and patient monitoring.
“Overall, our efforts will focus on improving EU’s leadership in developing emerging and strategic technologies for health care,” Boisseau said. “This means dedicated actions to support education and training, clinical validation, market access, reimbursement and new regulations, as well as industrial development.”